A spokesman for the Ribble Valley Conservative Association has spoken of its officers’ and members’ shock at the arrest of Deputy Speaker of The House of Commons and Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans.
Mr Evans was arrested yesterday by police amid allegations of male rape and sexual assault.
He was released on bail last night until June 19th and gave a short statement to the press from outside his home in Pendleton this morning.
The 55-year-old has denied the allegations which are believed to have been made by two men in their 20s. The offences are alleged to have happened between July 2009 and March 2013.
Mr Evans, a prominent gay right’s campaigner, said he had no idea why the claims had been made by two people he “regarded as friends”.
Longridge councillor Ken Hind, who is a member of the association’s management team, told the Clitheroe Advertiser on behalf of the Association: “Nigel Evans MP has represented the Ribble Valley constituency with distinction for 21 years. He is widely liked and respected by his constituents for whom he has worked tirelessly.
“The officers and members of the Ribble Valley Conservative Association have got to know and respect him and are shocked about his arrest.
“We are believers in the Rule of Law and are aware that these are merely allegations.
“The police and Crown Prosection Service have yet to decide if they are going to press charges.
“Nigel has now made a statement that the allegations are ‘completely false and he cannot understand why they have been brought’. In our democracy everyone accused is innocent until proven guilty and, therefore, unless Nigel chooses himself to cease to be our MP or the electorate vote him out or justice system intervenes, we expect him to continue as normal to fulfil his duties in representing the people of the Ribble Valley.
“At the time of writing this statement the officers have not met or discussed the situation with Nigel and therefore cannot make any further comment at this time.”
Earlier, Mr Evans posted a message on his Facebook page thanking members of the public for their support.
He wrote: “thanks for the amazing overwhelming support at this difficult time....”
Deputy House speaker Nigel Evans is pictured giving a press statement at his home in Pendleton, where he said today that allegations he raped one man and sexually assaulted another are “completely false”. Photo courtesy of Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.