Ex-Tory treasurer Peter Cruddas wins £180,000 libel award

Billionaire businessman also awarded interim costs of £500,000 against The Sunday Times

Peter Cruddas, the former co-treasurer of the Conservative Party, has been awarded damages of £180,000 plus interim costs of £500,000 after winning a libel action against The Sunday Times

The billionaire businessman brought the claim against Rupert Murdoch's News UK  and two members of The Sunday Times Insight team over three articles published in 2012. The articles alleged Mr Cruddas put a cash donation price, in breach of UK electoral law, on the opportunity to influence government policy and gain unfair advantage through secret meetings with the Prime Minister and other senior ministers.

His lawyers also challenged the Insight claim that he was content that the foreign donors would conceal the source of the donation.

Mr Cruddas also succeeded in his claim for malicious falsehood but no separate damages award was made.

The overall bill for the libel action, including The Sunday Times' own legal costs, is likely to be over a £1m.