Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has made his first court appearance after being charged last week with eight sex offences.
He appeared this morning at Preston Magistrates’ Court where his case was committed for trial to Preston Crown Court. He is due to make his first appearance there on October 4th.
During today’s brief preliminary hearing, Mr Evans (55), of Pendleton, spoke only to confirm his personal details before his case was sent to the Crown Court. He was granted bail in the meantime.
As previously reported, Mr Evans is facing two charges of indecent assault, five of sexual assault and one of rape. There are seven alleged victims, all male.
The indecent assaults are alleged to have been committed between January 2002 and January 2004, the sexual assaults between January 2009 and April 2013, and the rape was allegedly committed between March 29th and April 1st this year.
After the charges were laid last week, Mr Evans – who has vigorously denied all the charges – resigned as Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, saying he would be unable to fulfil those duties while the case was ongoing. However, he remains MP for the Ribble Valley, but currently as an Independent. This is because he has not taken back the Tory whip which he relinquished on taking the politically neutral Deputy Speaker role.
He has pledged to continue fully representing the people of Ribble Valley as their MP, a position he has held since 1992.