McAlpine drops Twitter actions but won't let Bercow off hook

Feb 21, 2013

Lord McAlpine still plans to sue Sally Bercow after she wrongly linked him to paedophilia scandal

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LORD MCALPINE has dropped defamation claims against a number of Twitter users who wrongly named him as a paedophile - but he is still determined to sue Sally Bercow.

The former Conservative party treasurer was wrongly implicated by Newsnight on 2 November last year as being part of a paedophile ring that targeted children at a care home in Wrexham.

The story sparked frenzied speculation online about who was involved and led to his name being incorrectly linked to the scandal. He initially threatened to take legal action against anyone on Twitter who had made the claims.

Today, the peer announced that he will drop legal action against any of those involved with fewer than 500 followers on Twitter if they donate £25 to BBC's Children in Need.

However, his lawyers will continue to "focus on the action" against Sally Bercow, wife of the Commons speaker John Bercow, reports the Daily Telegraph. Any damages will be donated to a charity of her choice.

Lord McAlpine said: "I would like to now draw this unfortunate episode, forced into my life, to a close. I have dropped all claims against those tweeters with less than 500 followers, in return for a very modest donation to BBC Children In Need.

"I have requested that my lawyers, RMPI LLP, focus on the action against Sally Bercow and that damages arising from this are donated to a charity of her choice. I am not intending to make any further comment on this matter."

Bercow has previously apologised for the tweet but maintained that it was foolish rather than libellous. She accused Lord McAlpine's lawyers of being "ambulance chasers" and "big bullies" and claimed that the legal action against her was "totally politically motivated".

The BBC has already agreed to pay Lord McAlpine £185,000 plus costs for the Newsnight report, and ITV reached a £125,000 settlement after making similar allegations.

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Oh dear. You would think his solicitor would have looked at legal precedants before deciding to proceed. It has to be an abuse of process on the basis he has been compensated already. Also the damages of £50,000 would never be awarded against one individual who took such a small part in this. All damage has to be considered in the round and in the context of all posts/tweets. That's assuming what SB tweeted was actionable which seems highly questionable.

I do wonder where his solicitor is getting his legal advice from.