ITV has reached a £125,000 settlement with Lord McAlpine following a This Morning interview with David Cameron where presenter Phillip Schofield handed the Prime Minister a list of Tory politicians allegedly linked to child sex abuse, with some names visible on camera.
The onscreen mistake has led ITV and Schofield to offer an “unreserved apology” to McAlpine. As well as the damages settlement, a statement from the broadcaster is also due to be read in open court at a later date.
Schofield’s list, which he claimed to have found after a “cursory three-minute search of the internet”, was said to have been visible to viewers using their pause button.
The broadcaster’s statement claimed: “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 8 November 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.”
Despite widespread speculation that ITV would have to pay substantially more than the BBC, they deal is £60,000 less than the £185,000 pay-out McAlpine’s solicitors agreed with the BBC following its Newsnight report that initially led to him being falsely accused of child abuse online and via social media.
McAlpine is also pursuing libel action against those who named him online, though this morning it was revealed those who repeated the defamatory claim on Twitter with fewer than 500 followers would only need to make a reasonable donation to McAlpine’s chosen charity, BBC Children in Need.