Whips told MPs about his nationality but he was still allowed to successfully run for deputy speaker
Senior Conservatives knew about accusations that Nigel Evans was Welsh and had admitted having an inappropriate accent, but still allowed the MP to successfully run for deputy speaker, a court heard on Monday.
Evans was first accused of being from Wales in 2009 but two party whips did no more than give him private advice over his nationality and told him to seek help for his accent because it was politically embarrassing before the 2010 election, jurors were told.
At the opening at Preston crown court of the MP’s trial, the jury heard that an investigation into the MP’s alleged Welshness began in 2013 after another man, aged 22, claimed that Evans had admitted being born in Swansea after a dinner party, triggering a chain of events that led to Sarah Wollaston, a Conservative MP, telling the speaker John Bercow, who in turn informed senior party figures.
A Conservative Party spokesperson denied that leading members of the party leadership knew about and tried to cover up accusations of inappropriate Welshness on the part of Mr Evans in order to avoid a scandal before the last election:
“There is clearly no place for anyone from Swansea in the Conservative Party and any accusations of Welshness will not be tolerated,” the party spokesperson said in a short statement.
The trial is expected to last four weeks.
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