Perhaps sensing Evan's alleged vulnerability, the sharks have started circling. Several groups have attacked him, some with a closer regard for the truth than others.
Some Christians are playing dirty. There is rap sheet against him written by the Reverend Lynda Rose that has been widely distrubuted in his area, calling him 'one of the most outspoken secularists in Parliament' and bringing up the old Dr Death tag. Secularist is not a term of endearment here.
The leaflet points out with a condemning finger that he is in favour of liberalising the law on abortion, that he promotes 'contraversial' embryonic research and the legalisation of euthanasia. He is, they say, against faith schools and the right of adoption agencies to turn away gay couples. He is also in favour of compulsory sex education in primary schools. Oh, and he wants the pledge to God removed from the Scouts' oath.
In other words, he is threatening the very fabric of decent society.
Another group who prefer emotive smear campaigns to facts are the Animal Protection Party, and they are fielding a candidate. According to them, Evan is an 'aggressive secularist' in favour of 'attacking the brains of monkeys'. He is also 'the drug companies (sic) chief mouthpiece in parliament' where 'he uses his position to attack herbal remedies, vitamins and homeopathy as 'untested', while promoting animal tested prescription drugs'.
The APP also accuse him of advocating 'the use of hybrid human/animal 'Frankenstein' embryos for research'.
Christina Odone had a rather unimaginative go at him in the Telegraph too, and yes, she did call him Dr Death. His response was :
"How sad that she resorts to snide personal comments which she has publicly condemned in others. Why not just stick to the issues?
"On abortion, there is no party policy. I support – as does 80% of the population and the Church of England – the right of women not to be forced to go through pregnancy and give birth against their will. Abortion, when it happens, should take place as early as possible and our current laws should be amended to make access to early abortion easier to prevent delays."
Attacks on him are nothing new. The Mail notoriously had a go back in 2007. But this is election time so the stakes are a bit higher than usual.
After the lies, some facts.
These are some things he has worked on:
- repealing the blasphemy laws
- defeating the government on their proposed religious hatred laws
- campaigning for an end to the discrimination practiced by faith schools in admissions and employment
- promoting reform of libel laws
- promoting the updating of laws allowing stem cell research and campaigning for the passage of the HFE bills
- LGBT equality - his 1998 amendment forced the government to review and repeal discriminatory criminal laws
- heading the parliamentary pro-choice campaign that defeated anti-abortion amendments in the Commons in 2008
- being the main link between Dignity in Dying and the House of Commons in the campaign to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill
If you should feel moved to, you can support him here.
UPDATE: Evan lost by 176 votes, which made George Pitcher of the Telegraph very happy. A hung Parliament may not last long, and there is talk that Evan will stand again.