Accusations go ‘from bizarre to bunkum’ says Evans

Nigel Evans has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Picture: Getty
Nigel Evans has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Picture: Getty
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FORMER House of Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans told a jury yesterday it is “ridiculous” that he is being depicted as “a cross between Alan Clark, Benny Hill and Oscar Wilde”.

The 56-year-old is on trial over allegations that he sexually abused seven young men on various dates between 2002 and last year.

Evans was cross-examined yesterday at Preston Crown Court by prosecutor Mark Heywood QC on the nine separate allegations he faces, in often heated exchanges.

Referring to the first two allegations that, while in public, he placed his hand in the trousers of men, Mr Heywood asked Evans: “There is evidence in each of these two incidents that what took place was without any eye contact. Was this you using hands where words were not available to you?”

Evans replied: “No. It is trying to make me out to be a cross between Alan Clark [the late Conservative politician], Benny Hill and Oscar Wilde. It’s ridiculous. The answer is no.”

The MP, who is gay, said he had no recollection of the two events – one said to have taken place in a bar in Soho, London in late 2002 or early 2003, the other at the 2003 Conservative Party conference in Blackpool.

The jury has heard that Evans was celibate for a long period until he began actively seeking sexual relationships from 2000.

He denied he had made a pass in the two alleged instances, and also while with a young man on his first visit to the Houses of Parliament in 2009. Evans is alleged to have leaned forward to kiss the man, behind a curtain near the Strangers Bar.

The MP said yesterday: “I think it goes from the bizarre to the bunkum that I would take someone, close the curtains and then do something like that.”

Mr Heywood said: “You were beckoning him to come here, pull the curtain back and you wanted to kiss him for a sexual purpose?”

Evans replied: “No. It’s ridiculous beyond belief.”

Next, the MP was asked about the allegations that he “cupped” the genitals of another man shortly after being introduced to him in the Strangers Bar.

Evans said: “With several people watching? No.”

The prosecutor went on: “You, Nigel Evans, leaned forward and cupped his genitals.”

The MP said: “Do you appreciate how absurd that sounds?”

Mr Heywood replied: “It is better you do not ask questions from here, Mr Evans.”

Evans has also denied sexually assaulting a Westminster worker in a darkened kitchen near his then offices last March.

Mr Heywood said: “The reason is quite simple – by now you had reached the stage that you wanted to practise your sexuality with anyone you could achieve it with.”

Evans replied: “In the kitchen of the Ways and Means corridor? No.”

Evans also claimed he “misread the signals” when he made a pass at a 22-year-old man at his home in Pendleton, Lancashire, in 2009.

He told the court the advance was “an accumulation of things over a period of time” in which he said the Westminster worker was “flirtatious”.

Evans said he woke downstairs in a chair and got under the covers with the man who was sleeping on his sofa.

He claimed they “nestled in together” before he made two attempts to place his hand down to his stomach. On the second occasion, the young man “exploded” and pushed him away.

Giving evidence, Jennifer Dorries, the daughter of Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, said she recalled a conversation with the accuser in which he referred to the alleged incident, but appeared to “make light of it”.

Evans has pleaded not guilty to one rape, two indecent assaults, five sexual assaults and one attempted sexual assault.

The trial continues.