The broadcaster is to be sued by Lord McAlpine’s legal team to the tune of £500,000  – ‘substantially more’ than the £185,000 it has already agreed with the BBC after its Newsnight report mistakenly linked him to paedophilia.

The corporation’s investigation led to Mr Schofield confronting David Cameron with a list of potential suspects he had found on the internet.

Andrew Reid, McAlpine’s solicitor, said in doing so the presenter ’embarrassed the Prime Minister and destroyed the reputation of my client’ and is putting pressure on ITV to settle.

McAlpine has said because the BBC is publicly-funded he tempered the claim made against them but is looking for a huge damages deal from ITV as it is privately owned.

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