Openly Gay British MP Accused of Rape and Sexual Assault, Thanks Facebook for Support

nigel-evansNigel Evans, the openly gay Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, was arrested Saturday over allegations that he raped one man and sexually assaulted another.

Evans, who had an anti-gay voting record which included support for Margaret Thatcher’s controversial Section 28, came out in 2010 after a fellow politician threatened to out him. He took to his garden following his release on bail to deny the charges against him:

“Yesterday, I was interviewed by the police concerning two complaints. One of which dates back four years by two people who are well known to each other and who until yesterday I regarded as friends. The complaints are completely false and I can not understand why they have been made, especially as I have continued to socialise with one as recently as last week.

“I appreciate the way that the police have handled this in such a sensitive manner and I’d like to thank my colleagues, friends and members of the public who have expressed their support and like me a sense of incredulity at these events.”

Among those expressing their support were Evans’ Facebook friends, without whom he would not have been able to get through “the worst 24 hours” of his life. During the course of the investigation, Evans will temporarily step down from his post.