Last Updated
Friday 21 November 2014, 15:04 pm.
BBC crisis: Lord McAlpine 'angry' over abuse claim

LONDON: Tory peer Lord McAlpine has spoken of his anger after a BBC Newsnight report led to him being wrongly implicated in child abuse allegations.
By Staff Writer Sat 22 Nov 2014, 23:02 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: BBC crisis: Lord McAlpine 'angry' over abuse claim








The former Conservative party treasurer told BBC Radio 4's The World at One he should have been contacted beforehand.He said about being wrongly under suspicion: "You just think there's something wrong with the world."Some of those involved in deciding to run the report on care homes in north Wales face disciplinary measures.

Media watchdog Ofcom has confirmed it is investigating both Newsnight and ITV's This Morning programme over the allegations.ITV said "appropriate disciplinary action" had been taken after a presenter inadvertently broadcast a list of names of alleged child abusers taken from the internet.Although Lord McAlpine was not named by Newsnight, the report led to a flood of accusations about him online.

The BBC, which has apologised "unreservedly" for the report, said it hoped to reach a "settlement" of the matter on Thursday. Speaking to the World at One, in an interview to be broadcast in full on Thursday, Lord McAlpine said he had been "in a state of shock" after hearing of the allegations. "I was in southern Italy. I don't have television, I don't get newspapers, we don't have the internet. To suddenly find I was mixed up in all this, and I didn't know what Newsnight was going to say, it really was a horrendous shock.

"Of course they [the BBC] should have called me and I would have told them exactly what they learnt later on."He continued: "That it was complete rubbish and that I'd only ever been to Wrexham once in my life. They could have saved themselves a lot of agonising and money, actually, if they'd just made that telephone call." The peer was asked about London Mayor Boris Johnson's comment that to call someone a paedophile was to "consign them to the lowest circle of hell - and while they're still alive".

He replied: "Absolutely. I think it describes pretty much what happened to me in the first few days of this event."It gets into your bones... it makes you angry. And that's extremely bad for you to be angry. And it gets into your soul and you just think there's something wrong with the world."Lord McAlpine's solicitor, Andrew Reid said he hoped an agreement would be reached with the BBC on Thursday, but said his client was aware any payment would ultimately come from licence fee payers.

The BBC's statement said: "The BBC is hopeful that it can agree a settlement with Lord McAlpine today."Reid urged those who had named Lord McAlpine on the social media site Twitter to come forward. He said some prominent people had already apologised, but others had not.He told the World at One: "What we're basically saying to people is, look, we know - in inverted commas - who you are, we know exactly the extent of what you've done. It's easier to come forward and see us and apologise and arrange to settle with us because, in the long run, this is the cheapest and best way to bring this matter to an end."

Reid also confirmed ITV's This Morning programme would be sent a letter.In a live interview several days after Newsnight's abuse report, ITV presenter Phillip Schofield handed the prime minister a list of names he said were being mentioned online as alleged paedophiles. Schofield later apologised amid suggestions the names could be seen by viewers due to a "misjudged camera angle".

In a statement yesterday, ITV said it had investigated the "mistake" and that "appropriate disciplinary action" had been taken.It added: "We sincerely apologise because the way in which the issue was raised was clearly wrong and should have been handled differently."ITV News' UK editor Lucy Manning confirmed: "Phillip Schofield plus some of the This Morning production staff have been disciplined." Schofield appeared on Thursday's programme as normal.

Acting BBC director general Tim Davie, who took charge of the corporation following George Entwistle's resignation in the wake of the Newsnight broadcast, has vowed to "get a grip of the situation".An inquiry into Newsnight's broadcast, conducted by director of BBC Scotland Ken MacQuarrie, has identified "unacceptable" failings and said basic journalistic checks were not completed.

A summary of the findings released by the corporation said the full report would be issued after the completion of disciplinary proceedings.The summary concluded "there was a different understanding by the key parties about where the responsibility lay for the final editorial sign off for the story on the day".

The head of BBC Northern Ireland, Peter Johnston, said he had a role in the decision-making of the Newsnight report but was not considering his position.The full interview with Lord McAlpine will be broadcast on the World at One on BBC Radio 4 from 13:00 GMT. Listen again on iPlayer Radio. (BBC)

 



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