Court told MP Nigel Evans ‘pressed his sexual attentions on younger men’

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The trial of Nigel Evans, former deputy speaker of the House of Commons, has begun in Preston with the prosecution outlining its case against the MP.

Mr Evans, 56, is accused of making a “drunken pass” at one man, Preston Crown Court was told on Monday.

The Ribble Valley independent MP denies one count of rape, two of indecent assault and six of sexual assault from 2002 to 2013.

Mr Evans resigned as deputy speaker after he was charged in September last year.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, is to give evidence in the trial. The MP is listed among prosecution witnesses in the case against Mr Evans.

Mr Bercow was among the names read out by prosecutor Mark Heywood QC, along with fellow MPs Sarah Wollaston, Michael Fabricant, Patrick McLoughlin, Alexander John Randall, Conor Burns and Tom Blenkinsopp.

Former MPs Lembit Opik and Adam Pryce are also listed as witnesses for the Crown.

Opening the case, PA reports prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said: “Within the Palace of Westminster, in his constituency and in his own political party, Mr Evans was, during the decade with which you are concerned, a very well-known and powerful individual.

“Part of his influence included the ability to make, or to break, the careers of those young people who themselves would be politicians or work for those who govern.

“The prosecution case against Mr Evans is that he, often when in drink, pressed his sexual attentions on those younger men, using or trading on his position of influence.

“Now this behaviour did not happen once but has been repeated over time and despite repeated warnings given to him by others.

“It has also escalated in seriousness, no doubt because he believed that his position made it less than likely that someone would complain.”

The MP for Ribble Valley, in Lancashire, denies two counts of indecent assault, six of sexual assault and one of rape.

The trial continues.

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