Tory MP Nigel Evans elected to senior party committee

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Conservative MP Nigel Evans has been elected to the influential 1922 committee.

The committee is a forum for Tory MPs to connect with the leadership and is seen as a barometer of party opinion.

Mr Evans was elected on Tuesday along with several other Tory MPs.

In a separate move, the former deputy speaker has repeated calls for anonymity for rape suspects until they are charged.

Mr Evans made the remarks last weekend during an appearance on Radio 4’s Any Questions.

In May, Mr Evans, MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire, was fully cleared of multiple charges of indecent and sexual assault involving several men and one charge of rape.

The gay MP resigned as deputy speaker in September last year after being charged.

Host Jonathan Dimbleby had earlier introduced Mr Evams by referring to the trial and commenting: “You look as though you have picked yourself up and dusted yourself down pretty well.”

Mr Evans replied: “I’m getting there, which is what I say when people ask me how I am.”

Respect MP George Galloway, who also appeared on Any Questions, backed his call for anonymity.

He said of Mr Evans: “His life was very gravely damaged, his political career was very gravely damaged, by absolutely false allegations made against him by people who remain entirely anonymous, and that cannot be fair.

“I do not support removing anonymity from victims, but there must be an argument for extending anonymity to the accused.

“After all the cases that we have been through, of which Nigel’s is the most close and pressing here around this platform, it cannot be right that Nigel was treated in such a way.”

However, critics say imposing anonymity would prevent more victims from coming forward.