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Top Tory MP Nigel Evans in court on gay assault charges

By Kim Pilling

Conservative MP Nigel Evans has made his first appearance in court accused of committing sex offences against seven men.

Evans (55) is accused of two counts of indecent assault, five of sexual assault and one of rape.

Sitting at Preston Magistrates Court, District Judge Jane Goodwin adjourned the case until October when the former deputy speaker will appear for a preliminary hearing .

In a hearing of less than 10 minutes, Evans confirmed his name , address and date of birth. The charges, dating from 2002 to this year, were read out by the clerk. and he confirmed he understood the charges.

He was later granted bail on condition he does not approach named witnesses.

Wearing a black suit and patterned tie, the MP posed for photographers as he left the building.

When asked if he wished to comment on the case, he replied: "I'm going back to Westminster to work now, thank you."

The indecent assaults are alleged to have been between January 1, 2002 and January 1, 2004; the sexual assaults – said to be touching without consent – between January 1, 2009 and April 1 this year; and the rape between March 29 and April 1 this year.

The MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire resigned as deputy speaker of the Commons after he was charged on September 10 and has protested his innocence.

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