London: The BBC will pay a former British politician £185,000 in damages over a news report that led to him being falsely accused of child sex abuse, it said on Thursday.

"The BBC has agreed terms with Lord McAlpine to settle his claim of libel against the Corporation," said a BBC statement. "The settlement is comprehensive and reflects the gravity of the allegations that were wrongly made."

The statement confirmed that Alistair McAlpine, who was appointed Conservative Party treasurer under Margaret Thatcher, would receive £185,000 (USD 294,000) plus costs and that a statement would be read in court to apologies for the allegations.

McAlpine responded: "I am delighted to have reached a quick and early settlement with the BBC. I have been conscious that any settlement will be paid by the license fee-payers, and have taken that into account in reaching agreement with the BBC.

"We will now be continuing to seek settlements from other organizations that have ublished defamatory remarks and individuals who have used Twitter to defame me."

The broadcaster has already apologized for a report broadcast by its flagship current affairs programme Newsnight about abuse at a children's home in Wrexham in Wales in the
1970s.

The report did not name him but he was quickly identified on social networking sites. The false allegations, coming as the BBC was under intense scrutiny over its decision to spike a report about child abuse claims surrounding late presenter Jimmy Savile, plunged the world's largest broadcaster into one of the worst crises in its history.

(Agencies)

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