Nigel Evans MP in court over sex charges

Nigel Evans MP was surrounded by photographers as he arrived at Preston Magistrates' Court

Ex-Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans MP has made his first court appearance after being charged with sex offences.

Mr Evans has been charged with two counts of indecent assault, five of sexual assault, and one of rape against seven male alleged victims.

During the brief hearing at Preston Magistrates' Court, the 55-year-old spoke to answer personal details before his case was sent to crown court.

He was bailed and is due to appear at Preston Crown Court on 4 October.

The indecent assaults are alleged to have been committed between 1 January 2002 and 1 January 2004, the sexual assaults allegedly between 1 January 2009 and 1 April 2013, and the alleged rape between 29 March and 1 April 2013.

The MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire resigned as deputy speaker of the House of Commons last week after being charged.

Mr Evans was a Conservative MP before becoming deputy speaker, a politically neutral role, but he has not sought to return to the Conservative fold in the Commons and will continue to represent his constituents as an independent.

He has been MP for the Ribble Valley constituency since 1992.

Born in Swansea, he worked in the family newsagents in the city and cut his political teeth as a councillor there.

He was vice-chairman of the Conservative Party from 1999 to 2001, and promoted to shadow Welsh secretary in 2001 for two years.

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