The story about the man who is alive and has not been named is believed to be currently with lawyers.

The BBC hasn’t commented on the story but an obscure tweet by editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Iain Overton, said: “We’ve got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile.”

Former Newsnight presenter and political reporter Michael Crick said the “senior political figure … denies allegations and tells me he’ll issue a libel writ against the BBC”.

The BBC was previously criticised for pulling a story about Jimmy Savile, which preceded more than 300 alleged cases of sexual assault against the late TV and radio presenter.

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