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Cliff Richards lawyers: MPs 'enabled media coverage'

Lawyers representing Sir Cliff Richard have accused MPs of damaging the singer by releasing a letter from South Yorkshire Police to the media.

The letter, released earlier this week, said the police investigation had "increased significantly in size" and contained "more than one allegation". Sir Richard's lawyers complain the letter did not need to be published, and its publication "encouraged widespread publicity".

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.

– Gideon Benaim, of Michael Simkins LLP

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

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

Cliff Richard's lawyers accuse MPs of damaging singer

Sir Cliff Richard's lawyers have written to Keith Vaz about the release of a letter from the police. Credit: Utrecht Robin/ABACA/Press Association Images

Sir Cliff Richard's lawyers have written to Home Affairs Committee chairman Keith Vaz MP accusing the committee of causing the singer "a further round of unnecessary and extremely damaging media coverage with no due process" by publishing a letter about the South Yorkshire Police sex abuse investigation earlier this week.

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Sir Cliff: 'No idea' where 'absurd and untrue' claims from

Sir Cliff Richard has labelled allegations of a historical sexual assault "absurd and untrue", and said he "remains confident" that his name will be cleared.

I have no idea where these absurd and untrue allegations come from. The police have not disclosed details to me. I have never, in my life, assaulted anyone and I remain confident that the truth will prevail.

I have cooperated fully with the police, and will, of course, continue to do so. Beyond stating that the allegations are completely false, it would not be appropriate for me to say anything further until the investigation has concluded, which I hope will be very soon.

In the meantime, I would, again, like to thank everyone for supporting me through this unbelievably difficult period.

– Sir Cliff Richard

Part of Sir Cliff investigation letter redacted before release

Two paragraphs of the letter sent from South Yorkshire Police's chief constable to MPs were blacked out before being released.

Two paragraphs have been redacted Credit: Parliamentary Select Committee

In what can be read, the letter says:

South Yorkshire Police detectives are in very regular contact with Sir Cliff Richard's lawyers. Typically this involves a verbal update about once a fortnight.

We have not written directly to Sir Cliff Richard. It is the responsibility of his lawyers to ensure he is fully briefed on the conversations which have taken place with investigators.

This is an investigation which has increased significantly in size since its inception. Sir Cliff Richard's lawyers are aware that there is more than one allegation.

In view of the expanding nature of the investigation, it would be premature and potentially misleading to predict a likely date when it will be concluded; however, we are progressing as swiftly as possible.

– David Crompton, chief constable, South Yorkshire Police

Police 'in regular contact' with Sir Cliff's lawyers

South Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable has revealed officers are in "regular contact" with Sir Cliff's lawyers over allegations of historical sexual assault.

In a letter to MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Ch Cons David Crompton said the official investigation into the claims had "increased significantly in size".

Credit: PA

South Yorkshire Police has declined to comment on the contents of the letter.

It comes after an independent report criticised an agreement between the force and the BBC which resulted in a raid on the veteran pop star's home being broadcast live on television, saying it "interfered with his privacy" and "may well have caused unnecessary distress".

Sir Cliff has not been arrested or charged with any offence.

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Cliff Richard investigation 'increases significantly'

The police investigation into veteran singer Sir Cliff Richard has "increased significantly in size" since its inception and involves "more than one allegation", South Yorkshire's Chief Constable has revealed.

Credit: PA

David Crompton said the "expanding nature" of the investigation meant he could not give a date when it would be concluded. In a letter to Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Mr Crompton said the force was in regular contact with Sir Cliff's lawyers.

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Rotherham Council accepts findings of Casey report

Jan Ormondroyd is the temporary replacement for Martin Kimber, who resigned in the wake of the Rotherham abuse scandal. Credit: ITV Calendar

Rotherham Council's interim chief executive says the authority accepts the damning criticism it faced in yesterday's inspection report.

Jan Ormondroyd said the report contained a "catalogue of cultural and system failings", and apologised for the "devastating impact that this has had on the lives of the people of Rotherham".

She added that the council needed a "move towards stability" and "the fresh start which [report author] Louise Casey and her team have called for".

We understand the impact of the current uncertainties around the future leadership and management of the Council on the people of Rotherham, and also on staff in the Council. I have written to the Department for Communities and Local Government, urging them to confirm urgently who the five Commissioners who will take over the running of the Council will be and to ensure they are in place as soon as possible.

– Jan Ormondroyd, Rotherham Council interim chief executive

'How would council members feel if it was their daughter?'

The mother of a girl who was abused as a teenager in Rotherham has told ITV News the outgoing council failed to do their jobs and protect the town's children.

After the council was declared "not fit for purpose" in a damning report, the mother said: "I wonder how they would feel if it was their daughter - the police and the council want to think about how many lives they have ruined.

"They just would not listen, and they did not do their jobs and protect our children."

ITV News Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall reports:

Rotherham councillor: We did not act quickly enough

A Rotherham councillor has admitted the council did not act "quickly enough" to tackle child sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town.

Chris Read's comments come after a report published today found the council was "not fit for purpose", forcing the resignations of its entire cabinet.

Since the publication of the Jay Report, the council has begun to take measures to improve the support for victims. bringing in new management, and to tighten licencing controls.

Sadly, as the report today makes clear, we have not been able to do enough, quickly enough.

– Councillor Chris Read
  1. Penny Marshall

Rotherham abuse victim: 'I feel safer but not safe enough'

When I spoke to one of the Rotherham abuse victims this evening I asked whether she felt any safer now after today's developments.

She replied: "Safer, but not safe enough".

Six Whitehall-appointed commissioners will come to Rotherham to effectively run the council.

Westminster expect there to be local elections in 2016 when the people of this town will be given a chance to elect people they trust.

But this affair is far from over - the National Crime Agency has said today there may be grounds for criminal investigations, possibly against a police officer and two councillors.

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