Sally Bercow must pay for "paedophile" tweet slur, say Lord McAlpine"s lawyers

Sally Bercow 'is now kitchen table blogger': Her tweets that 'defamed Tory peer' read by 60,000 followers
Mrs Bercow tweeted 'Why is Lord McAlpine trending *Innocent face*'It followed a botched Newsnight investigation into abuse at care homeLord McAlpine is suing speaker's wife for libel, a case which she refutes

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Legal action: Mrs Bercow used Twitter to name former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine, following a Newsnight report which alleged a senior Tory figure was a child abuser, but she denies this was defamatory

Couple: Mrs Bercow's (right) husband John (left), the Commons speaker, is meant to be an impartial character

Couple: Mrs Bercow is married to Commons speaker John, who live together in their grace and favour flat at Westminster

She had also made an offer to settle the case which had not been withdrawn, he said.

But Sir Edward said Lord McAlpine had
made three offers to settle the case, two in November and one in
January, which had been declined.

Neither Lord McAlpine nor Mrs Bercow
were in court for the peer's contested application for the defamation
trial to be split in two, with the first hearing deciding the meaning of
the tweet and, if that went in his favour, a second hearing on the
appropriate level of damages.

Granting the application, Mr Justice
Tugendhat directed Mrs Bercow to pay Lord McAlpine's estimated 17,000
costs of the preliminary hearing.

Lord McAlpine has already received
six-figure payouts from the BBC and ITV. He has dropped claims against
Twitter users with fewer than 500 followers.

Tory peer Lord McAlpine today demanded speaker's wife Sally Bercow pay him damages for wrongly identifying him as a paedophile on Twitter, the High Court heard.