Former Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans, who was cleared of a string of sex offences last week, has expressed his regret for supporting legal aid cuts.
Evans says he is £130,000 out of pocket after funding his defence of rape and sexual assault charges. He has called for the Crown Prosecution Service to reimburse his costs and spoken out to call for reasonable legal costs to be repaid.
Evans (pictured) said he was shocked to realise that he would not get the legal fees back following his acquittal.
Those with a disposable income greater than £37,500 are ineligible for legal aid. Until 2011, acquitted defendants could claim back the legal costs from central funds. But the government introduced stricter rules restricting the amount that can be recouped to legal aid rates – two to three times lower than private fees.
Evans told the media he would probably have voted in favour of the legal aid cuts had he not been deputy speaker, but said that he regrets his previous support for the cuts.
Following his acquittal, Evans has also suggested that those who made allegations against him should have their anonymity removed, and called for a time limit on prosecutions for historic sexual offences.