THE Conservative Party has restored the whip to MP Nigel Evans after he was cleared of committing a string of sexual offences.
Mr Evans, who represents Ribble Valley and stepped down as Commons deputy speaker to fight the allegations, was brought back into the Tory ranks following a meeting this morning with Chief Whip Sir George Young.
It comes just over two weeks after a jury unanimously found the 56 year old not guilty of nine allegations after a five week trial.
The decision to prosecute him was widely criticised.
"Nigel Evans met with Sir George Young, Government Chief Whip at No 9 Downing Street this morning, and the Conservative whip was restored to Nigel," a party spokesman said.
mfl Page 2: 14:06 Mr Evans said: "I am delighted to have the Conservative Whip again.
"This represents a full stop after the events of the past 11 months."
His place as a deputy speaker was taken by Tory colleague Eleanor Laing in a election after he stepped down.
Mr Evans, who faces a £130,000 legal bill despite being acquitted of all charges against him, intends to campaign to reform the law so people who are wrongly accused are not left with crippling debts.
He is also asking the Commons Home Affairs Committee to look again at whether the law which allows people charged with sex offences to be named while their accusers remain anonymous should be changed.
The director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has defended the decision to prosecute Mr Evans after his trial heard that three of his seven alleged victims did not consider an offence had been committed against them.