Evans: CPS 'regret' over Jimmy Savile influenced decision to arrest

Nigel Evans was cleared of a string of sex offences last Thursday. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

Former Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans said he has no doubt that the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile revelations influenced the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to charge him with a string of sex offences, the MP told Daybreak.

The Conservative MP for Ribble Valley was adamant that the fierce criticism the CPS faced after the Savile scandal had exacerbated the allegations against him.

The balance probably went too far in one way and now it seems to have gone too far the other way - that there is almost this we-better-charge-just-in-case - and it does seem to be unfair.

Mr Evans said he had been through "11 months of hell" after he was charged with one count of rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted sexual assault and two indecent assaults in September 2013.

The 56-year-old, who is openly gay, said the accusations were "traumatic beyond belief" and credited the friends he had who "came running towards me" when the worst happened, that he survived the ordeal.

It was only because of the friends that I had who came running towards me rather than the other way, people who came up and made sure I was alright, made sure I was taken out for dinners, who would give me support and had hope in me. It was their faith in me that got me through it.

Mr Evans has publicly said he does not intend to return to the £30,000 Deputy Speaker role and will instead continue his work as a constituency MP.

However, his defence cost him his life savings and he has asked the CPS to pay his £130,000 legal fees.

He has also approached the chair of the Home Affairs select committee, Labour's Keith Vaz, to see whether there should be "some form of anonymity" for those accused of sex offences.

The people who bring allegations have anonymity for the rest of their lives and yet those who are accused...they are not. Their names are out there immediately. It may well be the committee could have a look at whether there should be some form of equanimity, whether it should be anonymity up to charge, up to trial, whatever it happens to be.