McAlpine agrees ITV/Schofield deal
Lord McAlpine has reached a £125,000 settlement with ITV and Phillip Schofield as his lawyers confirmed they will continue to pursue damages from people who wrongly named him as a paedophile on Twitter.
In a joint statement with This Morning presenter Schofield, ITV said it had agreed to settle the peer's libel claim in relation to the programme broadcast on November 8.
The broadcaster sparked controversy after Schofield brandished a list of names of alleged abusers that he had found on the internet and handed it to Prime Minister David Cameron during a live interview, asking if he would investigate them.
The statement said: "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." It is not known whether Schofield will have to foot any of the bill himself.
The agreement with ITV comes a week after former Tory politician Lord McAlpine reached a £185,000 settlement with the BBC after it broadcast a botched Newsnight investigation into child abuse at a North Wales care home.
Lord McAlpine was mistakenly implicated by Newsnight's November 2 broadcast in a paedophile ring that targeted children at the care home in Wrexham. His name was then widely mentioned on the internet, including social networking site Twitter.
Lord McAlpine said he was pleased to have reached a "pragmatic settlement with ITV". His solicitor Andrew Reid told BBC Radio 4's The World At One that the Newsnight programme had effectively "set the pot boiling" and "the Schofield stunt added fuel to the fire that was already there".
He said that now they had dealt with the BBC and ITV, they would move to "large-scale tweeters", including Sally Bercow, wife of Commons Speaker John Bercow, whose solicitors Mr Reid said had now replied to them. Mrs Bercow posted on November 4: "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*." She appears to have since deactivated her account and quit the site.
When asked on ITV News what action would be taken against those who re-tweeted Lord McAlpine's name, Mr Reid said: "I think most importantly we get an apology and an undertaking not to repeat and, once we've examined the extent of the damage they've done, we'll agree suitable damages."
Asked how many they were seeking damages from, he said: "There are a large amount but at this stage we're looking at 20. Twenty high-profile tweeters."