The Hamilton Affair: The cost - Right-wing donors united by their loathing of Fayed

HAVING SPENT his "last penny" trying to clear his name, Neil Hamilton was dependent on a fighting fund set up by right-leaning sympathisers.

During the libel trial George Carman, Mr Fayed's QC, was refused permission by the judge, Mr Justice Morland, to tell the jury that Mr Hamilton was being backed by "a group of millionaires".

The "Neil Hamilton Fighting Fund" is run by Lord Harris of High Cross, a former president of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and Norris McWhirter. Among those who have given money are Taki Theodoracopulos, the Greek socialite, the former Tory MP and whip Gyles Brandreth and the Tory MP Gerald Howarth. Another donor is Tiny Rowland's widow, Josie.

In court supporting Mr Hamilton were Edward Leigh, once Baroness Thatcher's under-secretary of state at the Department of Trade and Industry, and Derek Laud, a black member of the right-wing Monday Club.

They all share a common belief that Mr Hamilton had been unfairly treated by the system, and a loathing for Mr Fayed, whose sleaze allegations did much to bring down the last Conservative government.

The fund has raised pounds 410,000 from contributions that ranged from pounds 500 to pounds 10,000. Mr Hamilton claimed it was run on the lines of a blind trust and he did not know who contributed. If he lost the trial, he said he would file for bankruptcy.

It is the second time that Lord Harris had run such a fund for the former MP for Tatton. In the mid-Eighties he successfully sued the BBC over a documentary, Maggie's Militant Tendency, which suggested that the Conservatives were experiencing entryism from the extreme right.

Lord Harris said: "I remember at the time Neil came to me and raised the question of financing the libel action. I managed to raise around pounds 100,000, enabling Neil at the time to go after the BBC. Neil had a similar problem over Fayed. He came to see me, and Norris and I set up the fund. I have made a contribution, and others are a combination of donations and pledges."

Lord Bell, Lady Thatcher's former PR adviser, said: "I have made a pledge to contribute, but have not done yet. I wanted to help because Neil is an old friend and many of us feel that he has received a very thin end of the wedge ... He got the blame when others were doing very similar things."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy