The Tory MP for Ribble Valley is a popular Westminster figure who kept in touch with his Welsh roots and came out in 2010
The deputy speaker Nigel Evans has been Tory MP for Ribble Valley for more than 20 years.
Born and raised in Swansea, he stayed in the Welsh city for his university years and gained a BA Hons in politics.
Having joined the Conservative party as a 17-year-old, Evans became a councillor on West Glamorgan county council from 1985 to 1991, and was elected deputy Conservative group leader in 1990.
He contested Swansea in the 1987 general election, Pontypridd in the 1989 byelection and then the Ribble Valley in the 1991 byelection, before being elected MP for the Lancashire constituency the following year.
Evans kept his links to his home city, keeping ownership of his family convenience store Evans the News in Townhill, set up by his grandfather in the 1930s, until he sold it last year.
He was parliamentary private secretary to several cabinet members in the 1990s, including the then employment secretary David (now Lord) Hunt, the agriculture minister Tony Baldry and to William Hague when he was secretary of state for Wales.
In June 1997, he was appointed opposition frontbench spokesman for Welsh affairs and he went on to lead the Conservative party’s general election campaign in Wales three years later.
Iain Duncan Smith gave Evans the position of shadow secretary of state for Wales in 2001, which he held for two years, and he was appointed to the Welsh affairs select committee in 2003. He was vice-chairman of the Conservative party from 2004 to 2005.
A popular figure at Westminster, Evans was elected as one of the three Commons deputy speakers in June 2010.
Later that year, he revealed he was gay, saying that he was “tired of living a lie”. He came out on the eve of the launch of a new help group for politicians and Westminster staff, ParliOut, in which he was involved.
At the time, Evans claimed a Labour MP had threatened to “out” him and that he had decided to be open about his sexuality to help others in a similar position.
He had discussed the issue with Gareth Thomas, the former Welsh rugby international who had been married before coming out, and said he realised it “should be no big deal” for him to do the same.
Evans said he had been “confused” about how to protect pupils when he backed the Tories’ notorious Section 28 legislation in the 1980s and later regretted that support.
As well as keeping his grandfather’s shop, Evans was said to be “fond of coming home” to Wales. The former Swansea councillor highlighted his concerns over Clostridium difficile following the death of his mother, Betty, at Singleton hospital. And last week he attended a Welsh Conservative party conference at the Liberty Stadium.
Welsh political commentator Gareth Hughes described Evans as a highly respected individual among his party colleagues, who loved returning to Swansea but was “not a great lover of devolution”.
Evans has a personal interest in American politics and worked on three US presidential campaigns in the 1980s. He returned to the US in 2000, acting as British Conservative party parliamentary observer.
In the Debrett’s People of Today profile on Evans, he lists his recreations as tennis, swimming, and all spectator sports.