Nigel Evans says 'I'm not going anywhere' as he ponders life after 32 years as Ribble Valley MP

Nigel Evans enjoying a pint with locals at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe
-Credit: (Image: Nigel Evans)

For more than 30 years Nigel Evans has represented his 'adopted home' of the Ribble Valley.

A career politician, Swansea-born Nigel was just 28 when he was first elected as a councillor at West Glamorgan County Council, having completed a degree in politics at Swansea University. He worked as a manager of his family's newsagent's and convenience store in Swansea.

Nigel stood as the Conservative candidate - and lost - in the general elections in Swansea West (1987) and Pontypridd (1989) before contesting Ribble Valley in 1991 and winning in Lancashire the following year. In the last general election, in 2019, Nigel was re-elected with an increased vote share of 60.3% and an increased majority of 18,439.

READ MORE: Ribble Valley General Election 2024 full result

But ahead of the 2024 General Election the boundary of the Ribble Valley constituency was significantly redrawn, losing the areas of Clitheroe and Whalley, and gaining parts of Preston. At the time, Nigel spoke of being "very disappointed" at the changes, which he said would "carve up communities in the Ribble Valley".

And now, 32 years after he was first elected to represent this rural part of Lancashire, Nigel faces the unknown as he became one of dozens of Conservative MPs to lose their seat. Even before the result was announced, a gracious Nigel conceded defeat to Labour's candidate Maya Ellis. He wished her the best of luck as he thanked the people of the Ribble Valley for allowing him to represent them for more than three decades.

Nigel branded the overwhelming Conservative defeat as an "act of vandalism" at the hands of Reform UK. When political tsunamis happen they take "the good and the bad", he said, as he pondered a life away from parliament. But, when asked what he will do now, after 32 years as an MP, Nigel simply said: "It's not about me."

As he, along with the other candidates, watched from the wings as the final few votes were counted, his expression gave little away. And yet, despite requesting a bundle recount - where the bundles of votes are re-checked as opposed to every single ballot paper - Nigel knew his time as the Ribble Valley's MP was up.

Just moments before the final result was announced LancsLive asked Nigel what he would do next. Would he return to his native Wales? "Oh no, absolutely not," he replied. "This is my home."

As for the future, Nigel said he would remain, in some way, involved in politics. Not as a representative - he was quick to say he would not consider local politics - but in "some commercial way perhaps".

In his speech acknowledging defeat Nigel repeated his deepest thanks to his campaign team who had walked "miles and miles over the last six weeks". He also praised his team and said he would "never have achieved what he has over the past 32 years without them".

He also thanked his former constituents for giving him "the most amazing opportunity". Nigel accused Reform UK of coming in "with one intention - to take the Tories down" but he added that he did not blame the right wing party for doing that.

As Nigel's speech concluded, he bowed his head as he said "I'm bowing out, as Member of Parliament for the Ribble Valley". He added: "I love the Ribble Valley, it is my home, and I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying in the part of this majestic England that adopted me in 1992. I am their adopted son and I'm staying here."

Subscribe to our daily newsletter LANCS LIVE NEWS and get all the biggest stories from across Lancashire direct to your inbox