British parliament deputy speaker faces further assault claims

19th June 2013, Comments 0 comments

A deputy speaker of Britain's lower house of parliament, who is already facing accusations of rape and sexual assault, was re-arrested on Wednesday on three counts of indecent assault.

Nigel Evans, 55, a lawmaker in Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party, was first arrested in May and released on bail.

Returning to a police station on Wednesday as part of his bail conditions, he was told he faced additional allegations. All the claims involve men in their 20s.

"A 55-year-old man from Pendleton in Lancashire (northwest England) has today answered his bail following his arrest in May on suspicion of rape and sexual assault," police said.

"He has subsequently been further arrested on suspicion of three further offences of indecent assault."

Evans' original arrest last month stunned parliament, where the openly gay MP is a popular figure and well-liked by lawmakers across the political spectrum.

He had previously dismissed the first set of allegations as "completely false", and said they had been made by two people he had "regarded as friends".

"Clearly we want closure of this as soon as possible and I carry on assisting this inquiry fully and openly," Evans said outside Preston police station in Lancashire on Wednesday.

"I continue to refute all allegations," he said, adding that he was "extremely grateful" for all the support he had received from family, friends and constituents.

He was released on bail until September 10 pending further inquiries.

The original incidents were alleged to have happened between July 2009 and March 2013 in Pendleton, where Evans lives in his constituency.

The new allegations are said to have occurred in Blackpool on the Lancashire coast, and London, between 2003 and 2011. Police did not give any further details.

Evans revealed he was gay in 2010, eight years after entering parliament, saying he was "tired of living a lie".

He has stepped aside from his duties as one of the three Commons deputy speakers since his arrest in May but has continued to work as a backbench lawmaker.

© 2013 AFP

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