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East Lancs MP Nigel Evans admits making pass as man slept
8:00pm Monday 31st March 2014 in East Lancashire
RIBBLE Valley MP Nigel Evans has told a jury he made a pass at a young Westminster worker but did not sexually assault him.
The 56-year-old said he thought the man, in his early 20s, had been ‘incredibly flirtatious’, ‘over-friendly’ and was interested in him.
It led to him making advances to the man as he slept on the MP’s sofa in 2009 but the man ‘exploded’ when Evans’ hand drifted down his chest, Preston Crown Court heard.
The alleged victim claims that Evans put his hand down his boxer shorts and touched him intimately.
The former Commons Speaker described the interaction between the pair before the alleged sexual assault.
Questioned by his barrister, Peter Wright QC, he said: “Sometimes we would hold hands. He was incredibly flirtatious. I got the impression he was interested in me.
“There is no fool like an old fool, Mr Wright."
Evans said he was then made to feel like ‘a chastened child’ when it became clear his advances were unwelcome.
Evans is on trial over allegations that he sexually abused seven young men on various dates between 2002 and last year by using his “powerful” political influence to take advantage of them, often while drunk.
He has pleaded not guilty to one rape, two indecent assaults, five sexual assaults and one attempted sexual assault.
Evans said the complainant, who is bisexual, initially ‘befriended’ him on Facebook.
He said: “I was relatively new to Facebook. He was one of the first few friends I had.”
His first impression of him at Westminster was that he was ‘very personable’, ‘very charming’ and ‘like no one I had met before’.
Evans said: “I had never come across somebody who was so open and positive about their own sexuality. I was impressed.”
The gay MP said the revelation of his own sexuality was ‘a step-by-step coming out’ as he struggled with the issue.
They would have chats about the subject on the House of Commons terrace while holding hands, he said, adding: “We would sit very closely together. I don’t want go into detail about those stories. We would hold hands.”
He recalled that he had dinner with the complainant on the night before his mother died in 2009.
Later, they were alone downstairs with Evans asleep in the chair and the complainant asleep – both fully clothed – on his sofa.
Evans said: “I went across to where he was lying and lifted the blanket and got in under the blanket with him and he moved up. I thought there was an opportunity to take things further and I made a pass.”
Back in Westminster, the MP found the young man had spoken to the party whips and Evans was called in to explain.