Lord McAlpine: I forgive everyone - except Sally Bercow

Peer drops action against Twitter users, but intends to pursue Speaker's wife

Lord McAlpine is to drop many of the defamation claims he took out against Twitter users who falsely labelled him a paedophile, and has instead chosen to set his sights on a far less intangible target – Sally Bercow, the wife of Commons Speaker John Bercow.

Anyone with less than 500 followers on Twitter can consider themselves no longer in the crosshairs of the former Conservative treasurer – as long as they meet his condition of sending £25 to Children in Need. However, he made clear that Ms Bercow, who has 57,000 followers, would not be afforded such generosity of spirit.

“I have requested that my lawyers focus on the action against Sally Bercow and that damages arising from this are donated to a charity of her choice,” he said in a statement.

A prolific user of the site, Ms Bercow temporarily deleted her account when it became clear that the widely repeated allegations, which surfaced in the wake of a BBC Newsnight programme last year, were completely false.

The Newsnight broadcast on 2 November was about historical allegations of child abuse at care homes in north Wales.

Former Conservative Party treasurer Lord McAlpine was not named in the broadcast, but he was incorrectly linked to the claims on the internet.

Newsnight carried a full, on-air apology for the broadcast a week later when it become clear that Lord McAlpine was not involved.

The incident contributed to the then BBC Director George Entwistle losing his job only a few weeks after beginning it. Lord McAlpine is a multi-millionaire, but has actively pursued settlements from a number of organisations.

He has already won six-figure sums from the BBC and ITV.

But he said that he wanted to draw the “unfortunate episode” to a close. The peer had previously said it was “terrifying” to find himself “a figure of public hatred”.

The peer’s statement read: “Whilst I reached a settlement last year with both the BBC and ITV, 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, which funds 2,600 projects supporting disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.”

Ms Bercow, who is a Labour activist, claimed Lord McAlpine’s legal action against her was “totally politically motivated”, and described his lawyers as “ambulance chasers” and “big bullies”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss