Nigel Evans, a member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party, resigned from his position as deputy speaker of the House of Commons on Wednesday after he was charged with a variety of sexual crimes including sexual assault and rape. Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service say that seven men have come forward with allegations against Evans.
The 55-year-old politician who became a member of Parliament in 1992 denies all of the allegations and will stay on as a regular member in the House.
Some of the sexual assault charges date back to 2002, while the rape charge is from April 2013.
“As many of you will know following recent allegations, I was charged with alleged offenses yesterday,” he told the House on Wednesday. “I now have the opportunity to robustly defend my innocence and seek acquittal. I have therefore decided the best course of action is for me to return to the backbenches and this is a decision I have made myself after careful consideration. “None of us were elected to the fine office of Member of Parliament to be put in that invidious position, unable to fulfill the reason we were sent here.”
“Winston Churchill said, ‘When you’re going through hell, keep going.’ Sage advice, and so I will see this through to the end, with the support of people who mean so much to me.”
Evans came out in 2010 after facing threats of blackmail. “I could not afford it to be used as leverage against me,” he told reporters at the time.
Evans is expected to come before Magistrates’ Court on Sept. 18.