The jury in the sex abuse trial of former Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans has retired to consider its verdict.

Mr Evans, 56, denies rape, two indecent assaults and six sexual assaults.

The Ribble Valley MP is alleged to have committed the offences against seven men between 2002 and last year.

Mr Justice King yesterday told the jury at Preston Crown Court that the “good character of the MP is something you should take into account”.

He said they should consider consistencies and inconsistencies in the evidence.

Justice King also instructed jurors to return only if they reached unanimous verdicts on each of the nine counts.

“You may have heard of majority verdicts; please put that out of your mind. I can only accept from you a verdict which is a unanimous verdict of all 12 of you on any particular charge,” he said.

All of the alleged assaults are said to have taken place when Mr Evans had been drinking.

One man alleges the MP put his hand down his trousers in a bar in Soho.

Alleged assaults are said to have taken place on other men at the Tory conference in 2003, in the Strangers Bar at the House of Commons and in the kitchenette on the deputy speaker’s corridor.

Mr Evans denies rape, two indecent assaults, five sexual assaults and an attempted sexual assault against seven young men from 2003 to 2013.

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