5 May 2013

British MP arrested on suspicion of rape

12:56 pm on 5 May 2013

A senior member of Britain's governing Conservative party has been released on bail after being arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault.

Deputy House of Commons Speaker Nigel Evans, 55, was questioned about alleged attacks on two men in their 20s, the BBC reports.

Lancashire Police have not named the person but said a 55-year-old man from Pendleton was arrested and interviewed by officers on Saturday.

The alleged offences took place between July 2009 and March 2013 in Pendleton, Lancashire, police added.

Prime Minister David Cameron is understood to have been made aware of the arrest. Mr Evans has been bailed until 19 June.

A BBC political correspondent described Mr Evans, who came out as gay to a Sunday newspaper in 2010, as gregarious, energetic and well-liked across the political spectrum.

Mr Evans has been Conservative MP for Ribble Valley since 1992 and was elected one of three Commons deputy speakers three years ago.

From 1999 to 2001, he was vice-chairman of the Conservative Party. When Iain Duncan Smith became party leader in 2001, he was promoted to shadow Welsh secretary - a post he held for two years.

Conservative MP Brian Binley described his friend as a kindly, caring and gentle person and said he did not believe Mr Evans was capable of inflicting his will in this way on anybody.