LONDON (REUTERS) - The deputy speaker of Britain's parliament, Nigel Evans, was arrested at the weekend on suspicion of rape and sexual assault, but said on Sunday the allegations against him were "completely false".
The 55-year-old member of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party was detained on Saturday over attacks allegedly carried out at his home in Lancashire, northern England between July 2009 and March of this year, police said.
After being granted bail, Evans told reporters: "Yesterday I was interviewed by the police concerning two complaints - one of which dates back four years - made by two people who are well known to each other and who until yesterday I had regarded as friends.
"The complaints are completely false and I cannot understand why they have been made, especially as I have continued to socialise with one as recently as last week." No further details of the complainants have been released by Lancashire police.
Evans, who has been a Member of Parliament for some 20 years, was elected as one of three deputy speakers three years ago.
The role mainly involves adjudicating the often noisy and fractious debates between Britain's rival parties who face each other across the floor of the House of Commons, parliament's lower chamber.
Evans, who announced to a newspaper in 2010 that he was gay, was vice-chairman of the Conservative party from 1999 to 2001 and shadow Welsh Secretary for two years after that while the Conservatives were in opposition.