MP Nigel Evans has made a brief statement following his acquittal on all rape and sexual assault charges.

The former deputy speaker, who remains an independent MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire, was found not guilty after a trial at Preston Crown Court on Thursday.

Speaking outside the court, the gay MP said: “I have got work to do.

“It’s the work that I have done for the last 22 years.”

Mentioning the words of Coronation Street actor Bill Roache, who earlier this year was cleared of rape and indecent assault charges, Mr Evans said: “There are no winners in these cases.”

Mr Evans said: “As many of you know, I’ve gone through 11 months of hell. I’ve not been alone. Many have walked with me, including my team at Clitheroe and Westminster, my constituency association, my family, my friends, my constituents, and indeed many people who I don’t even know have sent messages of support.

“In my darkest and loneliest times, there were only two, or one, set of footprints in the sand. And those of you of faith will know they weren’t mine.

“The fact is I have got work to do. It’s the work that I have done for the last 22 years. So this isn’t a time for celebration or euphoria. Bill Roache just a few weeks ago from this very spot said there are no winners in these cases and that’s absolutely right. There are no winners. So no celebrations.”

The MP concluded: “But the fact is I’ve got work to do, work that I’ve done for the last 22 years. All I can say is that after the last 11 months that I’ve gone through nothing will ever be the same again.”

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “We are very pleased Nigel Evans has been cleared of all charges after this very difficult time.”

Party sources indicated there would be discussions about Mr Evans’s future with the parliamentary and constituency association in the coming days and weeks.

The MP had given up the party whip to become deputy speaker, and could potentially have it returned.

Conservative MPs are starting to demand that Nigel Evans has the whip restored.

Friends of Mr Evans, from across the political divide, have also expressed their relief and delight at his acquittal.