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Peer denies 'wholly false claims'
Former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine has insisted that allegations linking him to child abuse were "wholly false and seriously defamatory".
After days of frenzied speculation, the peer released a statement vehemently denying that he abused Steve Messham or any other residents of a children's home in Wrexham, North Wales.
He said he had visited Wrexham "only once" and that was in the company of an agent from Conservative Central Office.
"I have never been to the children's home in Wrexham, nor have I ever visited any children's home, reform school or any other institution of a similar nature," he said. "I have never stayed in a hotel in or near Wrexham, I did not own a Rolls-Royce, have never had a 'Gold card' or 'Harrods card' and never wear aftershave, all of which have been alleged. I did not sexually abuse Mr Messham or any other residents of the children's home in Wrexham."
Lord McAlpine said "ill- or uninformed commentators" had used the internet to accuse him of being "the senior Conservative Party figure from the days of Margaret Thatcher's leadership who is guilty of sexually abusing young residents of a children's home in Wrexham, North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s".
He said a "substantial number of people" may have "reasonably inferred" that broadcast and newspaper reports of allegations against unnamed individuals referred to him.
"Even though these allegations made of me by implication in the broadcast and print media, and made directly about me on the internet, are wholly false and seriously defamatory I can no longer expect the broadcast and print media to maintain their policy of defaming me only by innuendo," he said. "I therefore have decided that in order to mitigate, if only to some small extent, the damage to my reputation I must publicly tackle these slurs and set the record straight."
Lord McAlpine, who was named in the Guardian as part of a story suggesting that he was in fact a victim of mistaken identity, said he was not accusing Mr Messham of acting maliciously. But he insisted Mr Messham was "mistaken and that he has identified the wrong person".
Lord McAlpine said he supported moves by Home Secretary Theresa May to assess the recent allegations and review the original police investigation. He said he was "entirely willing" to meet the Chief Constable of North Wales Mark Polin and National Crime Agency director general Keith Bristow as soon as possible "so that they can eliminate me from their inquiries and so that any unwarranted suspicion can be removed from me".
The Guardian quoted Wrexham councillor Keith Gregory, himself a victim of abuse at the Bryn Estyn care home, saying he did not believe Lord McAlpine was involved in the scandal.