A deputy speaker of the United Kingdom’s parliament has been charged with several counts of sexual assault and rape.
Nigel Evans, a member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party, has been charged with eight offences, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
The charges come after Evans, 55, the MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire since 1992, was arrested twice earlier this year.
“Lancashire Constabulary has … been authorised to charge two counts of indecent assault, five counts of sexual assault and one count of rape relating to a total of seven alleged victims,” the prosecution service said in a statement.
The alleged assaults, dating from 2002 until 2013, were all on men. Without citing sources, British media said Evans had resigned as deputy speaker but this could not immediately be verified.
Evans was detained in May and June on suspicion of rape and sexual assault. He denies wrongdoing and says the allegations are “completely false”.
One of parliament’s three deputy speakers since 2010, Evans’ role includes keeping order during often fractious debates, calling on members to speak and enforcing the rules of House of Commons.
Evans was vice chairman of the Conservative party from 1999 to 2001 and shadow Welsh Secretary for two years after that while the Conservatives were in opposition. He is due to appear before Preston Magistrates Court on September 18.