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When is a party not a celebration?

15 April 2014

Former Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans stood on the steps of Preston Crown Court last week and said:

‘This isn’t a time for celebration or euphoria. Bill Roache just a few weeks ago from this very spot said there are no winners in these cases and that’s absolutely right. There are no winners. So no celebrations.’

No celebrations. Except for a drinks party hosted by David Davis as soon as parliament returns from the Easter recess. Writing to MPs and chums, Davis said:

‘As you all know Nigel Evans has had the most miserable of years and has suffered what can only be described as the most hideous of injustices. I would like to make his return to the House one in which he is made to feel welcome by as many people as possible.’

Sources suggest that this is not a ‘victory party’; but Mr S imagines that Sarah Wollaston might want to give it a miss.

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  • Julian Kavanagh

    For someone who stood for the leadership of the party and was shadow Home Secretary, David Davis appears to have very poor judgement. I have plenty of sympathy for Nigel Evans but a drinks party to welcome him back? Is that really necessary?

    As for Sarah Wollaston…how can she be blamed for the CPS’s decision to prosecute. We can be quite sure that she would have been equally vilified had she told Evans’ accuser to go away and keep quiet.

  • sunnydayrider

    Watch your tackle lads when Nigel’s had a few sweet white wines. Wearing a cricket “box” seems prudent.

  • katkel

    I don’t think many people in the real world feel much sympathy for Evans, whatever the media might say. The reaction I’ve heard from pretty much everyone I know is “he may not be a rapist, but he’s still a sleaze bag.” A 56 year old man who sleeps with a 21 year old doing work experience in his office after plying him with drink? Yuk!

    The fact that at least some MPs are planning a party to celebrate his return shows just how out of touch they are with public opinion.

  • bwims

    I am very grateful to Steerpike for making me aware that David Davis is NOT in fact, a conservative, but is comfortable with a deputy speaker who thrusts his hands down a chaps trousers as some sort of sophisticated “come-on”. What a shower!

  • dado_trunking

    In praise of our legal system – it is just and affordable as this case clearly demonstrates.

    • bwims

      Why Dado Trunking? Why not Waist-level Conduit ? Or Toilet Flush? (more appropriate)

      • dado_trunking

        Why, you disagree with me? On a good day I sometimes do that too . . .

  • swatnan

    If I were DD, I’d watch my back. Sarah W was right to bring up inappropriate behaviour in the Commons to the attention of the authorities, and the CPS right to go ahead. What MPs get up to is a disgrace. The Press should expose every single one of them.
    I’m hoping Sarah W will not be the target of a witch hunt because she was selected out side the Party Machine, or fixup as I prefer to call it.

    • Andy

      I don’t agree. The CPS had no case. Actually the whole thing is, from beginning to end, a bloody disgrace. If these young men – like the woman who accused Roache – are so sure of their facts then let them accuse publicly. Never mind hiding in the dark.

      So as the allegations were false, like in the Roache case, when are these young men and women going to be charged with wasting Police time ? Why should accusing someone of Rape etc be risk free for those doing the accusing ?

      • bwims

        If the witnesses had had a scrap of integrity, the CPS would have had a case.

    • bwims

      I don’t think DD has done himself any favours as an alternative to Cameron. If he condones Evan’s behaviour, he exposes himself as another cultural Marxist like the rest of that shower.

      UKIP IS the only alternative.

  • Frank

    I don’t get it. Based on what I have read, Sarah Wollaston did what she was supposed to, ie a person approaches her alleging sexual assault and she recommends that the person speak to the police. For this she gets attacked? As against this, we are currently criticising the Lib-Dems for not referring complainants of sexual assault by Chris Smith, Mike Hancock and Lord Rennard to the police?
    As for Nigel Evans and his “terrible year”, he is a public servant whose private behaviour eventually became public and it was pretty tawdry. He let himself down and his constituents (and Parliament since he is / was a deputy speaker). No matter how you present it, he is the author of this tragedy.
    As a member of the public, I do not see it as “the most hideous of injustices”. He was accused of something, he had a fair trial and his jury found him not guilty. It is clear that the police had reasonable grounds to investigate his behaviour even if the CPS should perhaps have applied tougher tests on deciding whether to prosecute based on the quality of the testimony available in this case.

    • Mike Oddpiece

      The complainants were adamant they wanted zero police involvement. Not good enough for self-important Sarah!

      • bwims

        If a girl had been raped and said she didn’t want police involvement, would that be good enough for self-important Mike?

      • anna

        It was the Speaker who involved the police after Sarah W. advised the complainants to approach him with their grievances. Whilst I accept that Evans’ behaviour was not criminal it was certainly reprehensible and needed to be dealt with. Such behaviour is not uncommon in the workplace and is an HR problem rather than a police matter; but the House of Commons has no procedures for dealing with it.

        The simple fact of the matter is that employees, male or female, should be allowed to go about their business without having to tolerate unwanted attentions from their superiors which, although not crimes, are appalling bad manners.

        Nigel Evans had, I believe, been warned on several occasions about his drinking and the bad behaviour stemming from it. He is, by all accounts, a very nice, kind, approachable man when he is sober. But he lacks judgement. I am sorry that he did not learn from the advice offered to him.

      • Tom M

        Sarah didn’t force the issue Mike. Agreed they didn’t want police involvement but they did want something done nevertheless. It wasn’t her who went to the police with the problem it was the Speaker. She was just doing what you would expect an MP to do in a case like this once she had been officially informed of the complaint.
        You know like Clegg should have done with Lord Rennard.

    • MirthaTidville

      Your last sentence insofar as it refers to the CPS is probably the reason why Evans feels aggrieved

      • bwims

        He wasn’t innocent. Not Guilty means insufficient evidence to achieve a Guilty verdict. The witnesses were clearly too scared to damage their careers to testify. He has no right to feel aggrieved. Why did he not choose to defend himself if he thought he was innocent? That would have been free.

        • Andy

          Where do you get that nonsense from ?? Innocent is exactly that: INNOCENT. In England we have a presumption of innocence, which you retain. It is for the Crown to prove guilt, ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. It does not mean we are all guilty and all the Crown has to do is produce enough evidence (or innuendo) to get a Guilty verdict.

          You must be thinking of the Scottish system and ‘Not Proven’.

          So if someone screams ‘bwims raped me’ and you are found not Guilty it means that you are guilty only the Crown presented ‘insufficient evidence’ ? Never heard such tripe.

        • Tom M

          For God’s sake find a dictionary and look up the definition of Not Guilty.

        • MirthaTidville

          “ He wasn’t innocent. Not Guilty means insufficient evidence to achieve a Guilty verdict. “

          Thats exactly how Stalin/Hitler and others viewed it..I`m afraid your views are so skewed that any further comment is riseable

          • the viceroy’s gin

            He’s right though. Not guilty is a courtroom term. It removes nothing of what we out here in the real world recognize as innocence or being innocent. The law is set to let some of the guilty go, just as we all agree it should when necessary. That doesn’t imply anything more about this or any other single case. He’s unconvicted, and that is all.

      • Frank

        Possibly, but this kind of dilemma must occur very often when the CPS is trying to work out whether it has a strong enough case to prosecute and whether it is in the public interest to prosecute. I can see why the CPs feels that it is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t

    • ButcombeMan


      I have met Evans, he is a very decent chap when not in drink, like many people I suppose. I can understand why he is otherwise well liked.

      Those who are rushing to imply he should not have been charged are in my view being over hasty. There was certainly a case to answer, if I slipped my hand down a woman’s trousers or up her skirt without being really sure the attention was going to be welcome, if she complained, I would expect the law to take an interest. He was accused of more than that.

      He could have claimed legal aid, he chose not to.

      We must be careful about saying a charge was not appropriate, inevitably some people who get charged, get acquitted. That is a necessary component of the system.

      • telemachus

        There is also the Channel 4 charge of powerful politicians exhibiting predatory behaviour to vulnerable young men

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