Tories In Crisis: Earl is revealed as `Q', the mystery donor to libel fund
The mystery, such as it is, can be solved. "Q" is Quentin Gerard Carew Wallop, the 10th Earl of Portsmouth, a Tory backwoodsman who can be sighted today at a habitat much favoured by his type, the letters column of The Daily Telegraph.
Writing from his home in Farleigh Wallop, Hampshire, the Earl will explain why he feels it was right to support the former Conservative minister for corporate affairs in the libel case against Mohamed Al Fayed that went so disastrously wrong at the High Court, leaving him and other benefactors facing a possible pounds 2.5m legal bill.
Others who contributed to the fund, run by Lord Harris, the 75-year-old founding president of the Institute of Economic Affairs, and the former Guinness Book of Records chief Norris McWhirter, include the Greek socialite Taki Theodoracopulos, the former MP and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth and the political columnist Simon Heffer, as well as three wealthy right-wing Americans whose identities remain unknown. Others such as Lord Bell, Baroness Thatcher's former PR advisor, have pledged sums but are yet to pay. Some of the same people are said to have contributed to the fund for Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator now under house arrest in Surrey on charges of human rights abuse.
This is the second time such a fund had been set up by Lord Harris to help out Neil Hamilton in a legal case. In the mid-Eighties a similar support group was organised when the former MP for Tatton successfully sued the BBC over a Panorama programme, Maggie's Militant Tendency.
The contributions, some for as little as pounds 5, for the Fayed action have come from more than 500 people, raising around pounds 410,000. Mr Theodoracopulos paid pounds 50,000, and Lord Harris and Mr McWhirter are said to have given five-figure sums each. Mr Heffer had donated pounds 5,000.
Little is known about the 45-year-old Earl of Portsmouth except that he is very rich and has taken an interest in defamation cases in the past. He spent about pounds 500,000 supporting Count Tolstoy in his unsuccessful fight against Lord Aldingon over the count's allegations that Cossack prisoners of war were sent back to Stalin against their wishes by the British army at the end of the Second World War.
The Earl then published a controversial book on the subject by Ian Mitchell, leaving himself open to the possibility of legal action. He said at the time: "That is something I have taken into account.... Should anyone contemplate suing on this book, I have access to the means to fund the very best legal advice, and I will see them in court."
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 5 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Caitlyn Jenner's mother Ester thought her daughter, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had transitioned for money
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...