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That's Quite Interesting: TV panellist Alan Davies pays damages to Lord McAlpine over tweet

Comedian apologises for 'great damage and distress' caused by tweet 

Lord McAlpine has settled his libel action with comedian Alan Davies over a re-tweet relating to false child abuse allegations.

The comedian has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount in damages and issue a warning to Twitter users after he sent a tweet to over 450,000 followers that said: "Any clues as to who the Tory paedophile is?" before re-tweeting a response that named Lord McAlpine.

After settling in court this morning, the comedian tweeted: "Have today apologised sincerely to Lord McAlpine in court – hope others have learned tweeting can inflict real harm on people’s lives."

Davies, a panelist on the BBC QI programme, apologised for the "great damage and distress" his tweeting caused Lord McAlpine, Mr Justice Tugendhat heard.

Neither Lord McAlpine nor Davies was at the High Court in London for today's hearing. Lawyers outlined details of the libel action to the judge.

In a statement issued through his solicitors, Harbottle & Lewis, Davies said later: “It is almost a year since I inadvertently tweeted a message which named Lord McAlpine. Throughout I've stood by the original public apology I issued on November last year making clear the allegations about him were false.

”In an attempt to make amends I also made voluntary donations to the NSPCC totalling £13,000.

"I hoped those steps might avoid legal action but in March press reports appeared saying I was going to be sued for £200,000.

"I offered to pay £15,000 in damages plus a contribution to costs and agreed to make today's statement in court.

"From my own experience, I am able to warn others of the dangers of re-tweeting."

Lord McAlpine's solicitor, Andrew Reid, of law firm RMPI, said: “Whilst Lord McAlpine accepts Mr Davies' apology concerning his tweet and subsequent re-tweet, the fact remains that both he and his family have been caused immeasurable distress which cannot be rectified.

”There still remain people influenced by this tweet and all the apologies in the world are not going to put the situation back to where it was.“

The settlement comes two days after Sally Bercow, wife of the Commons speaker, formally settled at the court and agreed to pay undisclosed damages for a defamatory tweet that linked Lord McAlpine to false allegations of child abuse.

Damages will be donated to charity at Lord McAlpine's request.

Additional reporting by PA