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Cliff Richard to campaign for law change

ShowbizBy Sunday World
Cliff Richard to campaign for law change

Sir Cliff Richard is to campaign for a change in the law to protect the anonymity of those accused of sexual offenses.

The 75-year-old singer - who was interviewed in 214 and 2015 by police, who were investigating allegations that he sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1980s - recently had the case against him dropped due to insufficient evidence and over the weekend, he met with broadcaster Paul Gambaccini and MP Nigel Evans to discuss their shared experiences of being falsely accused.

The trio also made plans to set up a victim support group, to highlight "the unnecessary pain and suffering" felt by those wrongly accused, and to campaign for anonymity for sexual assault defendants before they are charged.

Nigel, who was acquitted of nine charges of rape and sexual assault in 2014, said: "We have got common ground but there are also a load of other people we have common ground with... some are famous before it happens, others become famous because of it... And if we can do without [and] other countries can, why don't we just get on with it?"

He also slammed the "huge intrusion" of Cliff's house being raided by police, which the BBC filmed, after he was accused of abuse.

He added: "He didn't even know. It was just horrific."

The politician had never met the 'Living Doll' hitmaker until the weekend, but said they, along with Paul, had made friends for life.

He added to the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "We have our own dining group, but I think we would like to achieve more than getting fat.

"I think a lot of people do understand, but not fully. You have to go through the torture, you have to go through the fire, in order to know exactly how the burns and scars are earned. The three of us have gone through this torture, and we have come through it and we now want to do some good."

Paul, who was arrested in 2013 but told no charges would be brought the following year, has vowed to do what he can to prevent police "witch hunts".

He said: "It is always good to turn negative energy into positive and to try to achieve something positive rather than sit around and stew.

"We must really make sure police can never conduct a witch hunt in this country again."

The trio plan to wait until the new Conservative leader is announced in the coming months and will then put their case to the new Prime Minister and Home Secretary.