Former DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has been released on continuing bail after he appeared at Newry Magistrates’ Court to face a number of historical sex charges, including one count of rape.

Sir Jeffrey’s wife, Lady Eleanor Donaldson, also appeared in court to face charges in relation to the same police investigation.

During a brief court hearing, the charges were read to the Lagan Valley MP and his wife as they stood in the dock.

Sir Jeffrey, 61, faces 11 charges including one of rape, one of committing an act of gross indecency and nine of indecent assault on dates between 1985 and 2006.

The offences relate to two alleged victims.

His wife, Eleanor Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, 58, of Dromore, faces charges of aiding and abetting in connection with the alleged offences.

Sir Jeffrey has resigned as DUP leader and was suspended from the party.

East Belfast MP and deputy leader Gavin Robinson was appointed interim party leader.

Sir Jeffrey has so far remained as MP for Lagan Valley.

The two defendants were release on continuing bail.

The case will be mentioned again on May 22, but they do not have to attend on that date.