A Tory MP accused of sex offences against men has appeared in court for the first time.
Ribble Valley and North Preston MP Nigel Evans, 55, of Brooklyn, Pendleton, Clitheroe, was accompanied by three men as he attended Preston Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Sporting a black suit and tie, he stood in the glass dock and spoke clearly as he was asked to confirm his name and address to the court.
He watched intently as the eight charges were read out to him.
He is accused of raping a man between March and April this year in Clitheroe.
He also faces five counts of sexual assault, alleged to have taken place in London and Clitheroe, on a range of dates between June 2009 and April 2013.
In addition, he is charged with two indecent assaults dating between 2002 and 2004 in Blackpool and London.
Mr Evans entered no pleas and the district judge committed his case to Preston Crown Court where he will appear on October 4.
She made an order that the media be restricted from reporting his bail conditions to avoid identification of witnesses.
After the hearing, Mr Evans was taken into a side room at the court for a short time before leaving the court to a waiting media frenzy.
He stood for a few moments to allow photographers to take his picture before holding up his hand and telling onlookers: “Right, I’m going back to work at Westminster.”