Former deputy speaker Nigel Evans told a jury of his “absolute hell” after being accused of a string of sex assaults.
The Ribble Valley MP’s voice trembled with emotion as he spoke of his embarrassment and shock at being treated a suspect and having his private life laid bare for all to see.
Evans, 56, was asked by his defence barrister Peter Wright QC, what it was like as an MP after being arrested by police on serious charges and put in cells awaiting questioning.
The MP said: “Awful.
“It’s difficult to put into words, Mr Wright.
“It’s hell. Absolute hell.
“I’ve had 10 months of these allegations starting with that knock on the door.
“To have yourself sullied in that way is awful. I could not do my job,” he told Preston Crown Court.
Evans is on trial over allegations he sexually abused seven young men on various dates between 2002 and last year by using his “powerful” political influence to take advantage of them, often while drunk.
Mr Wright asked the MP how he felt about the public airing of details of his personal life, including having sex with a male student.
Evans said: “Nobody wants their private life brought up in this way.
“It’s incredibly difficult.”
The MP said he also felt, “embarrassed,” that he had to tell police about being rebuffed after making a pass at a young man who now accuses him of sexual assault.
Evans is now openly gay, but he kept his sexuality a secret for most of his life and only came out in 2010 after his mother died, the court heard.
Mr Wright said: “How did you feel about your sexuality being in the public forum in this way?”
Evans said: “To have these allegations brought against you in such a public way is just awful.
“My colleagues were superb, my family and friends were absolutely tremendous, but at times I could not read the newspapers, it was that bad.”
The MP, who was first arrested in May 2013, has pleaded not guilty to one rape, two indecent assaults, five sexual assaults and one attempted sexual assault.