MP Nigel Evans cleared of sexual assaults

Former deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans has been cleared of a string of sex abuse charges, including one of rape.

The rape claim was one of several allegations made by seven men during a five-week trial at Preston Crown Court.

The former Conservative MP was said to have used his political influence to take advantage of his alleged victims.

But the defence pointed out inconsistencies in various witness accounts.

‘Months of hell’

The jury unanimously found Mr Evans not guilty of one count of rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted sexual assault and two indecent assaults.

Following the acquittal, fellow MPs issued messages of support for Mr Evans, with some questioning why he was ever charged.

The 56-year Ribble Valley MP, currently sitting as an independent, burst into tears as the verdicts were announced.

About BBC