15/11/2012 08:52 GMT | Updated 15/11/2012 08:58 GMT

Lord McAlpine Says His Reputation Has Been Forever Damaged By Paedophile Claim (LISTEN)

Lord McAlpine has said he does not expect his reputation to ever recover after he was falsely accused of sexually abusing young boys.

The former Tory party Treasurer told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme on Thursday that the stain of being accused of paedophile would probably never leave him and that his reputation was forever damaged.

"It can't be repaired," he said. "It can be repaired to a point. But there is a British proverb which is insidious and awful where people say 'there's no smoke without a fire', you know, 'he appears to be innocent, but....'."

He added: "I'm 70 years old, I've got a very dicky heart. And, so I don't want to die. Not for another 20 years at least, but I don't see it going away completely. I think in the light of the arrangements that I can make, my lawyer will make, anyone who does bring it up is going to be very, very foolish."

Lawyers for McAlpine indicated they were taking legal action after BBC Newsnight led to the peer being mistakenly implicated in a paedophile ring that targeted children at a care home in Wrexham in north Wales.

McAlpine was not named in the report but people used Twitter to speculate that he was the figure identified by abuse victim Steve Messham.

McAlpine told World at One that the impact of being falsely accused by the BBC was enormous. "What really shattered me was when all of a sudden this has spread all over the world," he said. "People believe the BBC to be one, or possibly the only, honest voice."

"I felt very angry but the whole point about anger it gets in your bones, it rots, it rots your life and so I try to put anger on one side," McAlpine said.

"It's beginning to sink in. But even now, when we go away and I go to bed for the night and I go to sleep. I wake up in the morning and I'll still wonder about this thing. It'll still be on my mind. It becomes part of your conversation, it becomes part of your life."

The peer, who now lives with his family in Italy, said that he had sought compensation from the BBC but was conscious that the licence fee payer would foot the bill "not the people who told the lie in the first place".

McAlpine said that he had "deep sympathy" with Messham who had a "terrible time" but said he did not want to meet him.

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And he revealed he had not been asked by officials from the inquiries set up to investigate child abuse to give evidence.

He said: "I'd be happy to talk to any official body that wants to talk to me. But I think in the light of the victim having said that he'd got the wrong the man, the BBC having said they've got the wrong man, the Guardian saying they've got the wrong man, I think that's a good spectrum of support. I doubt if anyone wants to waste time chatting with me."

An official report into the Newsnight investigation by the BBC's Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie concluded staff failed to complete "basic journalistic checks".

MacQuarrie also found there was confusion about who had the ultimate responsibility for "final editorial sign-off", adding the programme's editorial management structure had been "seriously weakened" as a result of the editor having to step aside over the Jimmy Savile scandal, and the departure of the deputy editor.

Although legal advice was sought over the report, no right of reply was offered to the unnamed individual at the centre of the allegation.