UK Politics

Police search Commons office of MP Nigel Evans

Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans
Image caption The MP will not resume his duties as deputy speaker pending the outcome of police inquiries

Police have searched the Commons office of MP Nigel Evans in relation to a "serious arrestable offence".

The search, which took place on Sunday, was conducted after a warrant was approved by Preston Crown Court.

Commons Speaker John Bercow said he had considered the warrant personally and taken advice from the attorney general before allowing the search.

Mr Evans was arrested this month in relation to allegations of sexual assault. He denies the allegations.

The Ribble Valley MP, who was questioned by police earlier this month, has said the allegations are "completely false".

'Appropriate procedures'

Mr Evans, who is also a deputy speaker of the House of Commons, has agreed that he will not resume his duties in the chamber while police continue to investigate allegations against him but will continue his constituency work.

In a statement, Lancashire Police said they had searched offices in London in connection with an investigation, adding that they had "gone through all the appropriate and necessary procedures before taking this step".

Mr Bercow said he had consulted the attorney general and the solicitor general before granting the police's request and had also sought the advice of the Clerk of the House, who advises the Speaker on procedure and parliamentary privilege.

In a statement at the start of parliamentary business, Mr Bercow said he had been advised "there were no lawful grounds on which it would be proper to refuse its execution".

He told MPs that the "precincts of Parliament are not a haven from the law".

"The Serjeant at Arms and Speaker's Counsel were present when the search was conducted," he added.

"Undertakings have been given by the police officers as to the handling of any parliamentary material until such time as any issue of privilege is resolved."

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