The Daily Star has admitted that it went too far with its reporting of the false rape allegations made against Neil and Christine Hamilton in August 2001.
The paper published a page-two apology for an article headlined: “They’re evil – Hamilton rape probe woman tells of ordeal.”
The article carried allegations that the former MP and his wife had raped and sexually assaulted trainee lecturer Nadine Milroy-Sloan.
The Star’s apology said: “As our later reports made clear, we accept these allegations were untrue and wish to apologise to Mr and Mrs Hamilton for the distress and embarrassment they have been caused.”
The Press Complaints Commission was not involved in brokering the apology, which was believed to be agreed by lawyers.
Milroy-Sloan was jailed for three years in June after being found guilty of making false accusations.
Shortly after she initially made the claims, she was paid £50,000 for her story by the News of the World.