Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 10 October 2015

Nigel Evans 'should not step down'

Published 06/05/2013

Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans gives a press statement in Pendleton, Lancashire
Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans gives a press statement in Pendleton, Lancashire
Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans said the allegations are 'completely false'
The house in Clitheroe in Lancashire of Deputy House of Commons Speaker and Conservative MP Nigel Evans

Nigel Evans should not step down as Commons Deputy Speaker over allegations of rape and sexual assault, former chief whip Andrew Mitchell said.

Mr Mitchell, who quit the cabinet last year amid a storm about disputed claims that he called police officers "plebs" - said it would set a "terrible" precedent.

Tory MP Mr Evans was arrested at his home and questioned by police on Saturday but insists the claims by two young men are "completely false".

He made clear through his solicitor that he intended to carry on as Deputy Speaker while police continue their investigation. But Speaker John Bercow has agreed that he be excused his duties chairing the week-long debate on the Queen's Speech, which begins on Wednesday.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond questioned whether Mr Evans could continue as Deputy Speaker while he was under investigation.

"I stick rigidly to the view that we should treat people as innocent until they are proven guilty but it is quite difficult to carry out a sensitive and high profile role while being under this kind of scrutiny," he told the BBC.

But Mr Mitchell told BBC Radio 4's Today: "If he were to resign now we would be in a terrible position where every public office holder would be open to blackmail and false stories in the media, triggering their resignation."

He went on: "Anyone who is caught up in the sort of intensive media storm which Nigel has faced, and which I and my family faced, obviously is in a very difficult position to carry out their job, But in this particular circumstance I am in no doubt that Nigel Evans should not resign and that he will be able to fulfil his duties as required by the Speaker.

"We have three deputy speakers in the House of Commons so if necessary there can be a degree of burden sharing.

"He has not been charged, he has not been found guilty, and we do still live in a country where you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty."

From the web

Sponsored Videos

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph