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Originally published Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 5:44 PM

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British lawmaker arrested in rape investigation

Nigel Evans, a Conservative member of Parliament, serves as one of three deputy speakers in the House of Commons.

The New York Times

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A senior lawmaker from Britain’s ruling Conservative Party was arrested and questioned by the police Saturday concerning accusations of rape and sexual assault involving two men, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Police did not identify the suspect, describing him only as a 55-year-old man from Pendleton, in northern England. But the person with knowledge of the situation, speaking on the condition of anonymity, identified him as Nigel Evans, a Conservative member of Parliament who serves as one of three deputy speakers in the House of Commons.

The attacks “are alleged to have been committed in Pendleton between July 2009 and March 2013,” the Lancashire police said.

Evans’ arrest does not mean he will be charged with a crime, only that he was being interrogated as a suspect. He was released on bail.

He is one of a few openly gay members of Parliament. In a 2010 interview with the Mail on Sunday in which he publicly acknowledged his sexuality for the first time, Evans said he was “tired of living a lie” and had been threatened with exposure by political rivals.

The news comes at an awkward time politically. The Conservatives were trounced in local elections last week, losing ground to the tiny right-wing U.K. Independence Party.

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