Speaker John Bercow announces MP’s office searched investigating a ‘serious arrestable offence’
The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has made an announcement that an MP’s office at Westminster, was searched at the weekend, during an investigation of a “serious arrestable offence”.
Mr Bercow released a statement on Monday detailing that the offices were searched following the issue of a warrant by Preston Crown Court on 16 May.
Although Mr Bercow did not give any further details regarding the investigation, it has been widely noted that Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans, was arrested on 4 May by Preston Police, on suspicion of rape of one man and the sexual assault of another.
The new allegation broadened the focus of investigations to London. They had previously centred on Mr Evans’ constituency of Ribble Valley in Lancashire.
The third man reportedly came forward to Lancashire Police after Mr Evans was arrested due to allegations that he raped one man and sexually assaulted another between July 2009 and March 2013. Mr Evans denies both claims.
Mr Evans’ solicitor already said he does not intend to quit as Deputy Speaker or as an MP.
Speaker John Bercow’s full statement is available to read below.
I wish to report to the House that the rooms of a Member were searched yesterday pursuant to a warrant issued by the Circuit Judge in Preston Crown Court on 16 May. The warrant related to the investigation of a serious arrestable offence.
I should remind Members, as did my predecessor in 2008, that the precincts of Parliament are not a haven from the law. In accordance with the Protocol issued by my predecessor on 8 December 2008 on the execution of search warrants within the precincts of the House of Commons, I considered the warrant personally and was advised by Officers of the House that there were no lawful grounds on which it would be proper to refuse its execution.
In addition, as provided for in paragraph 6 of the Protocol, I consulted the Attorney General and the Solicitor General who concurred in this advice. I am very grateful to them. The Clerk of the House was kept fully informed throughout, and also concurred.
The Serjeant at Arms and Speaker’s Counsel were present when the search was conducted. Undertakings have been given by the police officers as to the handling of any Parliamentary material until such time as any issue of privilege is resolved.
The investigation is continuing and it would not be right to comment further. I will not take questions on my statement.
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