Tory MP Nigel Evans calls for anonymity for suspects after Cliff Richard search

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Conservative MP Nigel Evans has renewed calls for suspects in sex offence cases to remain anonymous until they are found guilty following a search of pop star Sir Cliff Richard’s home.

The South Wales Evening Post reports Mr Evans said: “It appears the press knew what was happening before he did and the world’s media were camped outside his doorstep.”

The MP said the effect of a false accusation on someone innocent often proved devastating.

In May, Mr Evans, MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire, was fully cleared of multiple charges of indecent and sexual assault involving several men and one charge of rape.

The gay MP resigned as deputy speaker in September last year after being charged.

Mr Evans has called for anonymity for rape suspects until they are charged or even convicted to prevent lives from being “wrecked”.

However, critics say such a move would prevent more victims from coming forward.

Officers carried out the search of Sir Cliff’s home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, last Thursday.

The 73-year-old singer is accused of sexually assaulting a boy under 16 at a rally by US evangelist Billy Graham at Bramall Lane in Sheffield in 1985.

Sir Cliff, currently in Portugal, denies any wrongdoing. He has been visited at his home by lawyers in the last few days.

South Yorkshire Police said: “Since the search took place, a number of people have contacted the police to provide information and we must acknowledge that the media played a part in that, for which we are grateful.”

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