Lord McAlpine Wins £125,000 from ITV for Philip Schofield Child Sex Smears

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By Dominic Gover | November 23, 2012 2:01 AM EST

Tory grandee Lord McApline has won £125,000 compensation from ITV over paedophile smears made live on air by This Morning presenter Philip Schofield.

McAlpine took action after being linked online with sexual offences against children at a Wales care home. Schofield handed prime minister David Cameron a list of names of alleged sex offenders in the Conservative Party, which he gleaned from the web.

During the handover, the text of Schofield's note was partially visible to This Morning's millions of viewers, further fuelling speculation as to the names he had found.

As well as agreeing a settlement, the broadcaster has issued an unreserved apology for the incident, saying: "ITV and Phillip Schofield have now reached agreement with Lord McAlpine to settle his libel claim, made in relation to the This Morning programme broadcast on November 8, 2012.

"ITV and Phillip Schofield apologise unreservedly to Lord McAlpine, have agreed the terms of a statement to be made in open court, and have agreed to pay him damages of £125,000 and his legal costs."

McAlpine has already agreed a £185,000 package with the BBC, following the Newsnight programme which triggered the speculation against him by alleging that a senior political figure during the Margaret Thatcher era had abused children at the Bryn Estyn care home.

The ITV settlement is reportedly less than McAlpine was seeking. However the peer's lawyer, Andrew Reid, said he was "pleased" with ITV's admission that it was wrong and called the settlement "pragmatic." 

Reid told the BBC: "We accepted the legal argument that the Newsnight programme had effectively set the pot - it was already boiling at that point.

"The Schofield stunt added fuel to the fire that was already there and we had to take that into account."

A spokesman for McAlpine told The Times: "This was also done in broad daylight in a premeditated way in front of the prime minister. It was that programme that prompted Lord McAlpine to come out with his statement."

Yet more lawsuits could follow ITV, as McAlpine is targeting Twitter users who defamed him by innuendo, including the wife of House of Commons speaker, Sally Bercow, and TV funny-man Alan Davis. In the aftermath of the storm, Bercow appears to have vanished from the micro-blogging site.

Tweeters with less than 500 followers will be asked to make a charity donation, rather than paying McAlpine a settlement.

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