Senior British politician charged with sexual offences

LONDON,  (Reuters) – A deputy speaker of Britain’s parliament has been charged with several counts of sexual assault as well as rape, authorities said yesterday.

Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said enough evidence had been gathered to prosecute Nigel Evans, a member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party, for eight offences.

Fifty-five year old Evans, who has been the MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire in northern England since 1992 and was arrested twice earlier this year, has denied any wrongdoing.

“Lancashire Constabulary has … been authorised to charge two counts of indecent assault, five counts of sexual assault and one count of rape relating to a total of seven alleged victims,” the prosecution service said in a statement.

The assaults, dating from 2002 until 2013, were all on men.

Without citing sources, the BBC said Evans had resigned as deputy speaker but this could not immediately be verified.

Evans was detained in May on suspicion of rape and sexual assault but said the allegations were “completely false”.

Police said he was arrested for a second time in June.

One of parliament’s three deputy speakers since 2010, Evans’ role includes keeping order during often fractious debates, calling on members to speak and enforcing the rules of the lower House of Parliament.

Evans, who told a newspaper in 2010 that he was gay, was vice chairman of the Conservative party from 1999 to 2001 and shadow Welsh Secretary for two years after that while the Conservatives were in opposition.

He is due to appear before Preston Magistrates Court on Sept. 18.

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