GB News' Dan Wootton has admitted making "errors of judgement in the past" but denied any criminality as he responded to claims made against him.

Wootton is a New Zealand broadcaster who is a former editor at both the News of the World and later the Sun.

He testified at the Leveson Inquiry in 2012 about the News International phone hacking scandal, where he denied illegally publishing stories collected through phone hacking while editor at the News of the World.

Recent reports have included claims he offered media colleagues thousands of pounds for explicit material of themselves.

Wootton said on his GB News show he was the victim of a "witch hunt" by "nefarious players".

Byline Times first broke the story, claiming they had extensive evidence to show that, between June 2008 and 2018, Wootton – who is gay – posed as a fictitious showbusiness agent called “Martin Branning” to offer sums of up to £30,000 “tax-free” to his targets, many of whom were heterosexual men.

The publishers of the Sun and MailOnline subsequently said they are looking into allegations against him.

Wootton was previously executive editor at the Sun, and its publisher News UK told the BBC: "We are looking into the allegations made in recent days. We are not able to make any further comment at this stage."

He later became a columnist for MailOnline, owned by DMG Media, a spokesperson for which said: "We are aware of the allegations and are looking into them."

Wootton said the allegations had been spread by a "race to the bottom" on social media, and claimed that "dark forces" were trying to bring down GB News.

He said: "These past few days I have been the target of a smear campaign by nefarious players with an axe to grind.

"I, like all fallible human beings, have made errors of judgement in the past. But the criminal allegations being made against me are simply untrue.

"I would like nothing more than to address those spurious claims. I could actually spend the next two hours doing so, but on the advice of my lawyers I cannot comment further."

However, he also concedes: "Who doesn't have regrets? Should I be cancelled for them many years later? Or do you accept that I have learned and changed?"

GB News said it had no comment at this time.