Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, MP for Ribble Valley Nigel Evans, has given a personal statement saying he will return to the backbenches after resigning his post as Deputy Speaker, and that he will continue to defend himself against several allegations of sexual assault.
Today, speaking from the Conservative side of the House, he said since the allegations were first made, that he had been unable to fulfil his duties as Deputy Speaker, and that he had been in “limbo”. Mr Evans thanked the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, as well as the other two deputies, Dawn Primarolo and Lindsay Hoyle.
He said Primarolo gave him a big hug when he said he was stepping down, and also went on to thank the Speaker’s chaplain for her spiritual support. Continuing, he said friends had given him “hope”.
Continuing, he said: “It was one of the happiest days of my life when I was elected deputy speaker in 2010, it was an endorsement of my abilities to do the job by my colleagues and for that I am grateful. Since these allegations, I have not been able to fully fulfil my duties in the chair, which left me in a land of limbo. None of us were elected to the fine office of Member of Parliament to be put in that invidious position, unable to fully fulfil the reason why we were sent here.”
Quoting Winston Churchill, he said: “‘When you’re going through hell, keep going’. I will see this through to the end.”
Mr Evans today confirmed that he would not resign as the MP for Ribble Valley but will not sit as a Conservative Party MP in the House of Commons. Speaking in the Commons, he said he was proud to
Prior to his appearance at PMQs, Mr Evans posted to Facebook: “Thankyou for your messages…there are a lot of them so please excuse if I take a while to respond- thank you and God Bless.”
He has strenuously denied all of the accusations made.
Mr Bercow said Mr Evans had offered an “exemplary”, service to the House, and said he would announce details of the election to find his successor in October when the Commons reconvenes.
Mr Bercow said: “[Evans] has demonstrated to the satisfaction of colleagues throughout the House that he is competent, fair and good-humoured. He has proven to a loyal and hugely valued member of the chair’s team. I am enormously grateful to him and I know the deputy speakers feel the same way.”
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