I hope that my right honourable and honourable friends will bear with me during this personal statement. It's been a few years since I've made a speech in this chamber and I'm sad to say that this is the speech. As many of you will know, following recent allegations I was charged with alleged offences yesterday.
I now have the opportunity to robustly defend my innocence and seek acquittal. I have therefore decided that the best course of action is for me to the back benches and this a decision that I have made myself after careful consideration.
I did not have the Conservative whip as Deputy Speaker, and I am not seeking its return until after the conclusion of events. I will sit as an independent member of parliament for the Ribble Valley.
It was one of the happiest days of my life when I was elected Deputy Speaker in 2010. It was an endorsement of my abilities to do the job by my colleagues, and for that I am grateful.
Since these allegations I've not been able to fully fulfil my duties in the chair, which left me in a land of limbo. None of us were elected to the fine office of Member of Parliament to be put in that invidious position, unable to fulfil the reason we were sent here.
I am so grateful to the Speaker and to the two other Deputy Speakers, the Right Honourable member for Chorley, and the Right Honourable member for Bristol South for the unstinting support they have given me over the three years, but particularly since May 4th, in filling in for me on my chair duties.
Following his resignation as Deputy Speaker after being charged with offences including sexual assault and rape, Nigel Evans made a statement in the House of Commons: