Lancashire MP Nigel Evans is looking forward to returning to work in the Ribble Valley amid calls for him to be reinstated as Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons
The MP has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from constituents and politicians across both sides of the political divide.
Throughout his five week trial at Preston Crown Court, countless witnesses stepped forward to pay testimony to the 56-year-old’s good character.
In an unusual turn, one of Mr Evans’ alleged ‘victims’ described the politician as “an all round good egg”.
Now the his name has been cleared, Morecambe & Lunesdale MP David Morris has launched a campaign to see Mr Evans return to his former role.
He said: “Nigel has been a fantastic Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, I was saddened to see him step down in September of last year. I would love to see him resume his post, which is why I have decided to lead the campaign to have him reinstated as the Deputy Speaker.
“I will be writing to John Bercow the Speaker of the House of Commons to make him aware of my campaign and I hope that other MP’s will join the campaign. Nigel is genuinely one of the nicest people I know. I am proud to call him a friend.”
Close friend Henry Hendron, who sat in the public gallery throughout the trial, said: “Everyone who has been involved in the process and who has been sitting in court is releived at the outcome but we were all quietly confident nothing would come of the charges.
“We were happy that the jury was able to quickly dismiss it.”
But Mr Hendron said the verdict brought mixed feeling of joy and sadness as “a man’s life has been ruined.”
He said: “His life has been put on hold for a year. He lost a job that he loved. That is a sad by-product of the whole process.
“Now Nigel is focussed on getting back to work for the people of Ribble Valley. He is enormously grateful for the support he has had.”
Rev Andy Froud, the vicar at St Mary Magdelene’s Church in Clitheroe, said: “Many people I speak to on a regular basis hold Nigel in the highest regard and although I disagree with Nigel on a number of political matters I still regard him as a person of the highest personal integrity and honesty. I had, like many in this community, great hope and confidence that Nigel would be proved innocent.”