MIKE McCARTNEY'S campaign to ensure anonymity for defendants in sex offence cases was last night backed by Wirral South MP Ben Chapman.

With increasing support from politicians, Sir Paul McCartney's brother last night vowed to take his protest all the way to the House of Commons.

After being cleared in court of sexual harassment, a case which the judge said should never have been brought, Mr McCartney said he wants to change the law so defendants in sexual offence cases are not named publicly until conviction.

The former member of 1960s band Scaffold and cultural ambassador for Wirral stood accused of touching the bottom of a waitress.

He received hate mail to his home in Wirral but, when it came to court, he was cleared by a jury last week.

Mr McCartney said last night: "I am a totally innocent man who has been put in something called 'The System' which takes away your life, makes you a prisoner in your own home and shatters your reputation. "My family and I have been put through hell, going through a nightmare that became a day-mare.

"All I want is justice and fairness for all but, as it stands, you are guilty until proven innocent.

"I will fight to the highest court to get fairness back into our judicial system."

Mr Chapman is urging people in Merseyside to pledge their support for the campaign via his website www.ben-chapman.org.

He said: "What happened to Mr McCartney was appalling.

"We certainly need to look at the law as it stands to see if we can achieve equality in these sorts of cases.

"These are not, of course, easy issues and there are arguments made, for example, that justice should be seen to be done, and in relation to the anonymity issue being extended to all allegations and charges.

"But the original provision for anonymity for the accused, which was removed in 1988, had been inserted by a Labour government in 1976.

"It is time to look at these issues again.

"The media irresponsibility surrounding this and other cases means defendants can remain under a cloud even if they are acquitted of all charges.

"Apart from this important aspect, there are also serious questions about the trial to be answered.

"The Crown Prosecution Service seems to have brought the case when it should never have done so. "There are issues about the substantial misuse of public money and the delay of nearly 18 months causing prolonged distress to Mike and his family which need to be addressed.

"I have put down questions, am seeking a debate in the House of Commons and will be writing to ministers."