I have read with total amazement the reports of the fantastic reaction and support Nigel Evans has received from Ribble Valley residents after his acquittal.
During the trial I found the revelations about his private life deeply worrying and not what I would expect from a senior Parliamentarian.
The references to his behaviour under the influence of drink, his sexual advances and activity with young men over 30 years his junior are all very unsavoury revelations.
The fact he had been warned by his bosses about his sexual conduct around junior staff, yet continued to behave in such an unacceptable manner, shows astonishing arrogance.
Actions for which in most well-run workplaces in Britain he would already have been dismissed.
Since the acquittal, Mr Evans has continued to claim the CPS should pay back his £130,000 legal expenses, yet in 1997, as a Tory frontbencher, Mr Evans told the Commons his constituents were “rightly concerned” over the rising cost of the legal aid budget and demanded “more value for the pounds that are spent”.
He also conceded he probably would have supported the last tranche of cuts to legal aid. In fact the legislation allows that “Anyone who has applied for legal aid and is subsequently acquitted of a crime is entitled to be repaid at least part of their legal costs – irrespective of whether their application was accepted”.
So had Mr Evans been better informed about legislation he supported he would have been repaid part of his legal costs!
His very public call for anonymity for rape suspects seems a little inappropriate and misguided at a time when the extent of the Cyril Smith and Stuart Hall cases was only discovered when their victims came forward after their initial arrest.
Mr Evans has enjoyed the privileged life of an MP for over 20 years, more recently with the additional £30,000 as Deputy Speaker – a role which takes him out of the political arena, rendering him unable to speak, debate or vote in the House of Commons.
He is also reported to be the most well-travelled MP in the House. Since his acquittal he has already enjoyed two such foreign trips! It is therefore no surprise Mr Evans wants to be endorsed as the candidate in next year’s election.
As a life-long Tory voter I am afraid that even though Mr Evans has been acquitted of the sexual charges laid against him, his arrogance and severe lack of judgement in his personal and professional life have show his fitness for public office to be seriously questionable.
It is for this reason he should stand down before the next election or, like many others, I will not be visiting the polling station or, worse still, disillusioned Tories will be giving UKIP a real chance!