Sir Cliff Richard criticises House of Commons over South Yorkshire Police investigation

SIR CLIFF Richard’s lawyers have criticised a House of Commons committee for publishing a letter about the police investigation into sex abuse allegations against the veteran singer.

The star’s representatives claim the disclosure has caused Sir Cliff a “further round of unnecessary and extremely damaging media coverage”.

The Home Affairs Committee published the letter from South Yorkshire Police (SYP) online earlier this week, in which Chief Constable David Crompton said the police investigation into Sir Cliff has increased significantly in size and involves more than one allegation.

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Head of the committee MP Keith Vaz has since defended the decision, saying it is “policy” to make all committee evidence public.

The letter from Gideon Benaim, of Michael Simkins LLP, said: “As a direct result of the decision of the committee to publish the SYP letter, and to proactively send it to media organisations, our client has been exposed to a further round of unnecessary and extremely damaging media coverage, with no due process.

“Our client had no opportunity to comment or make submissions to the committee in advance of publication, but had he been able to do so, the damage that has since been caused by the committee’s actions and by the SYP letter would, most likely, have been avoided.

“It is the committee who have acted as enablers to the media so that they could report on claims of new allegations about which our client has been given no or very little information; about which he has yet to be questioned; for which he has not been arrested; and of course, over which he has not been charged.

“The committee have, through their actions, facilitated coverage which would not have otherwise occurred.”

He stressed the fact that his client has not been arrested or charged with any offence and denies any wrongdoing and also rebuked Mr Vaz for media appearances over the issue.

In a letter of response, Mr Vaz said it is normal procedure to publish all evidence put before the committee.

“Unless a letter or document is marked private and confidential it has always been the policy of the committee to publish whatever we receive.

“South Yorkshire Police specifically asked for the redaction of certain parts of the letter before publication.”

It continued: “In the past, the committee has written to ask for your comments on the matters that have been raised by both South Yorkshire Police and the BBC.

“You have previously declined to do so.”

Sir Cliff said the claims against him were “absurd and untrue” and he had “never, in my life, assaulted anyone”.

The entertainer was interviewed under caution last year by detectives investigating a claim of a sex crime involving a young boy in the 1980s, but was not arrested or charged.

The publication of the letter from Mr Crompton, dated February 10, followed a scathing independent report into an agreement between South Yorkshire Police (SYP) and the BBC which led to a raid on the singer’s home being broadcast live around the world.

The independent report found that the deal “certainly interfered with his privacy and may well have caused unnecessary distress”.