Deputy Commons Speaker Nigel Evans told on Tuesday of the support he has had from around the world after going through what he described as the "worst two days of my life". The Tory MP told reporters in Westminster he would be "getting back on with the work I need to be doing as a constituency MP", and intended to resume his duties in the Speaker's chair once debate on the Queen's Speech is over.
Evans was arrested on Saturday and questioned by police over rape and sexual assault allegations which he says are "completely false". Speaker John Bercow has agreed that he should be excused from his duties chairing the Queen's Speech debate, which opens on Wednesday.
Speaking on College Green near Parliament, Evans told how he had been "overwhelmed" by the reaction from MPs as well as the amount of "sympathy" he had received from the public. "I've been in work since half past seven this morning getting on with looking at many of the emails that have come in, not just from constituents but from throughout the world, giving me support and sympathy for what I'm alleged to have done," he said. "I'm overwhelmed with the number of colleagues who have come up to me as well who are basically, you know MPs don't shake hands, well I have never shaken so many MPs' hands as I have today, and giving me support, which is really helping me to get through this."
Evans said he was going to return to the Commons for lunch before resuming work for his Ribble Valley constituency, which has shown him "fantastic support" over the "worst two days of my life". He told reporters he is having "just a few days off chair duty" but will continue having his regular meetings with Bercow. He added: "I shall be in the Chamber tomorrow waiting for Black Rod to bang on the door and take part in that fantastic ceremony."
In a statement over the weekend the 55-year-old MP outlined how he had been interviewed by police concerning two complaints "made by two people who are well known to each other and, until Saturday, I regarded as friends". He added: "The complaints are completely false and I cannot understand why they have been made, especially as I have continued to socialise with one as recently as last week."
Lancashire Police said Evans, who has represented the constituency since 1992, had been arrested on suspicion of raping one man and sexually assaulting another between July 2009 and March 2013. Following several hours of questioning by detectives at Preston police station, he was released on bail until June 19.