Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'

The former singer showed her support for her 'close friend' after his home was raided by police recently

Cilla Black says sexual assault allegations made against her friend, Cliff Richard, are “without foundation”.

The singer’s Berkshire home was raid while he was on holiday in Portugal last week, following an alleged sex crime against a boy at an evangelist event at a Sheffield stadium in 1985.

Richard has vehemently denied the claim as “completely false”, but vowed to “co-operate fully should the police wish to speak to me”.

“Cliff is a very close friend of mine and has been for a million years,” Black told the Mirror.

“I, like everyone else, was shocked to hear of these allegations and I am absolutely positive that they are without foundation.”

Earlier this week, veteran journalist Michael Parkinson spoke out against the BBC coverage of the raid, branding it a “witch hunt”.

Police officers have been warned they could face disciplinary action over their dealings with the BBC.

“I think anybody not charged should not be named by the police, and shouldn't be reported in the newspapers either in my view,” said Parkinson on ITV News.

“I think the Cliff Richard case only highlights the feeling there is some kind of witch hunt going on.”

The broadcaster criticised the BBC’s decision to cover the search without any charges or arrests having been made.

“I think the BBC did create an error in judgment, not in understanding the story and having the story and trying to follow it through, but in reacting to the story in a kind of way that would have done the red tops credit,” continued Parkinson.

“That's what wrong with the BBC, I think, on this one. It was the manner in which they chose to actually cover the event – if you can call it an event.

Richard’s family also defended the singer this weekend.

Video: Police search Cliff Richards' home  

“I know my uncle is innocent,” said his niece, Linzi Jolin, while his cousin, Garth Gregory, described the raid as a “witch hunt”.

His fans have also pledged their allegiance, with a Facebook campaign having been launched to get his 1992 track, “I Still Believe In You”, to number one in the charts.