FORMER Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine may sue the people who named him on Twitter, after he was wrongly implicated in child abuse allegations.
The former party treasurer is considering legal action against the Twitter users, including Sally Bercow, wife of the Commons Speaker.
He was named online as a result of a Newsnight report which wrongly accused a senior Conservative of paedophilia.
Newsnight was forced to issue an “unreserved” apology to Lord McAlpine but George Entwistle the BBC director-general was forced to quit.
McAlpine is understood to have been advised that he has a strong case for seeking damages from the BBC because it failed to put the allegation to him as well as prompting false speculation on the internet.
According the The Times a source said that Lord McAlpine's legal team, led by Sir Edward Garnier, QC, were looking through tweets and other references to Lord McAlpine to draw up a list of those who could be sued.
The source said: "It could be a very interesting test case.
"What we hope will come out of it is an understanding by users of Twitter that you cannot smear people with impunity."
"People think they are just passing on gossip, but the damage to reputation is enormous."
On November 4 Mrs Bercow tweeted to her 56,000 followers "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*.
On Friday night she tweeted: "Final on McAlpine: am VERY sorry for inadvertently fanning flames. But I tweet as me, forgetting that to some of u I am Mrs bloody Speaker."
The Guardian columnist George Monbiot could also be sued after he tweeted, "I looked up Lord McAlpine on t'internet. It says the strangest things."
Monbiot apologised on his blog on Saturday.
Jonathan Coad, media partner at the law firm Lewis Silkin said: "Twitter is no different from any other form of communication. If what you say on it is defamatory, you can be sued.
"Some people think tweeting is just like talking in a pub."
"But Twitter has a permanence about it and tweets can spread quickly around the world."
By Lucy Kinder Telegraph.co.uk