Lord McAlpine, libel victim and confidant of Lady Thatcher, has died aged 71
71-year-old died 'peacefully' in Italy
Sunday 19 January 2014
David Cameron led the tributes to Lord McAlpine, who died at his home in Italy late on Friday. The Prime Minister praised the former Conservative Party treasurer as a “dedicated supporter of Margaret Thatcher” during the 1980s.
The 71-year-old returned to prominence recently when he secured damages from Sally Bercow, the wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, for libel after she suggested he was a paedophile. Famously close to Thatcher (he described their political relationship as “love at first sight”), Lord McAlpine was later critical of John Major and William Hague as Tory leaders, even joining the Eurosceptic Referendum Party.
However, leading Conservatives of the late 1970s and 1980s remained grateful to Lord McAlpine, whose grandfather founded the Sir Robert McAlpine construction empire, for his outstanding fundraising.
The former Tory party chairman and cabinet minister Lord Parkinson said: “Alistair McAlpine was an outstanding treasurer of the modern Conservative Party – if not the outstanding treasurer. He was a most unusual, intriguing, interesting character.”
Another former chairman and a key figure from the Thatcher years, Lord Tebbit, said: “He was a confidant, which is very important to a prime minister: to have somebody of irreproachable integrity and great discretion that they can talk [to] about anything and know that it would not go any further.”
Lord Tebbit was one of the staunchest supporters of Lord McAlpine’s following the BBC Newsnight report in November 2012 that accused an unnamed “senior Conservative” of being involved in the North Wales child abuse scandal.
His name was then broadcast across social media, with Sally Bercow infamously tweeting: “Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*.”
Lord McAlpine successfully sought damages – which he then donated to charity – from the BBC and ITV, as well as from “high-profile tweeters” who had libelled him, including the comedian Alan Davies and the writer George Monbiot.
After the announcement by Lord McAlpine’s family that he had died “peacefully” at his home in Puglia, southern Italy, Mr Cameron tweeted: “My thoughts are with Lord McAlpine’s family – he was a dedicated supporter of Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party.”
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
- 5 Cocaine and cannabis haul hidden in Vatican car seized by French police
Scottish independence referendum live - The reunited kingdom: Scotland gives a clear 'No' to independence in historic referendum
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£10000 - £20000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...