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THE judge in Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans' trial for rape and other sexual offences this afternoon sent the jury out to consider their verdicts.

Mr Justice Timothy King said the alleged rape and sexual assaults at the defandant's Ribble Valley home were 'the critical charges'.

Former Commons deputy speaker Evans faces nine charges against seven young men, said to have taken place in Parliament, at a Tory conference, his home in Pendleton, and a London bar.

The charges include allegedly groping a man on his constituency house sofa and committing two sexual assaults, and a rape against a man in the bedroom of that home.

The prosecution alleged during the trial that Evans used his political position to prey on young men.

Evans told the jury of seven men and five women the sexual activity in the alleged rape was consensual and the other alleged assault in Pendleton was a 'drunken mis-understanding'.

He had no recollection of several of the other alleged assaults.