X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Lord McAlpine: Abuse allegations ‘wholly false and seriously defamatory’

9 November 2012

11:54 AM

9 November 2012

11:54 AM

Lord McAlpine has broken cover this morning after the Guardian named him in its story claiming the peer is a victim of mistaken identity in the swirling allegations about a Tory paedophile. He has released a lengthy statement, which you can read here, denying the ‘wholly false and seriously defamatory’ claims, and adding that he never visited the children’s home where the abuse is alleged to have taken place:

‘The facts are, however, that I have been to Wrexham only once. I visited the local Constituency Conservative Association in my capacity as Deputy Chairman. I was accompanied on this trip, at all times, by Stuart Newman, a Central Office Agent. We visited Mary Bell, a distant relative of mine and close friend of Stuart Newman. We did not stay the night in Wrexham. I have never been to the children’s home in Wrexham, nor have I ever visited any children’s home, reform school or any other institution of a similar nature. I have never stayed in a hotel in or near Wrexham, I did not own a Rolls Royce, have never had a “Gold card” or “Harrods card” and never wear aftershave, all of which have been alleged. I did not sexually abuse Mr Messham or any other residents of the children’s home in Wrexham. Stuart Newman is now dead but my solicitors are endeavouring to locate a senior secretary who worked at Central Office at the time to see if she can remember the precise date I visited that Association.’

The peer writes that he decided to speak out because ‘it has become apparent to me that a number of ill- or uninformed commentators have been using blogs and other internet media outlets to accuse me of being the senior Conservative figure from the days of Margaret Thatcher’s leadership who is guilty of sexually abusing young residents of a children’s home in Wrexham, North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s’.

[Alt-Text]


Until yesterday, those swirling rumours were confined to social media and blogs, but they were followed by Philip Schofield triumphantly telling the Prime Minister on This Morning that it ‘took me about three minutes last night to continually find a list of the same names’ on the internet, as though he were handing over a bloodstained murder weapon in a court case or some other hard piece of evidence other than a list of names cobbled together from a string of tweets. Other names continue to circulate, and as James blogged yesterday, the reluctance of other journalists to name names without sufficient evidence, suspicion is cast on whole groups of people.

Though he wishes to ‘mitigate, if only to some small extent, the damage to my reputation’, McAlpine continues to threaten legal action, saying:

‘I conclude by reminding those who have defamed me or who intend to do so that in making this statement I am by no means giving up my right to seek redress at law and repeat that I expressly reserve my rights to take all such steps as I and my solicitors consider necessary to protect my interests.’

Those holding a trial in the court of public opinion would find the courts of law of this country rather less credulous. Unlike Philip Schofield, in court of law, there is a burden of proof, not a burden of tweets or a trending topic. In fact, libel cases require a defendant to produce the evidence that led to them making the allegedly defamatory statement, rather than the prosecution producing the evidence. Even if the statement is true, which in this case McAlpine says it is not, if a defendant cannot prove that the substance of the claim is true, they can still be found guilty.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close