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UK Parliament deputy speaker: Rape accusations 'completely false'

From Bharati Naik, CNN
May 5, 2013 -- Updated 1308 GMT (2108 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Evans says he considered the accusers his friends
  • "The complaints are completely false," he says
  • The allegations involve two men in their 20s, the police say
  • Evans was elected deputy speaker of the House of Commons in 2010

(CNN) -- The deputy speaker of Britain's House of Commons said Sunday the allegations of rape and sexual assault leveled against him are false.

Nigel Evans also said the incident has left him with "a sense of incredulity" because he considered the two accusers his friends.

"Yesterday I was interviewed by the police concerning two complaints - one of which dates back four years, made by two people who are well-known to each other, and who until yesterday I regarded as friends," he said in a statement.

"The complaints are completely false and I cannot understand why they have been made, especially as I have continued to socialise with one as recently as last week."

Evans was arrested Saturday in northwest England.

Lancashire police did not confirm the identity of the man, but they said they had released a 55-year-old man on bail after questioning him Saturday over offenses alleged by two men in their 20s.

One man alleged he was raped and, in a separate incident, another other man alleged he was sexually assaulted, a police spokesperson told CNN by telephone.

The offenses are alleged "to have been committed in Pendleton between July 2009 and March 2013," according to a statement released by police.

The man was ordered to appear at the police station on June 19, according to the police spokesperson.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has been made aware of the arrest, said another source, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

Evans, who is 55, has been a conservative member of parliament since 1992. He served as vice chairman of the Tory Party between 1999 and 2001.

He was elected deputy speaker of the House of Commons in 2010.

Evans came out as gay during a newspaper interview in late 2010, and has since made a name for himself as a prominent gay rights activist in England.

In his statement Sunday, Evans said he appreciated the way "the police have handled this in such a sensitive manner."

He then thanked those who have expressed their support and "like me, a sense of incredulity at these events."

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