Lord Laidlaw, the tax-exiled Tory donor who made over £700m selling conference company Institute for International Research, has been persuaded to admit that he’s a life-long sex addict. He’s now checked into a South African clinic for long-term help (‘to prevent any relapse into unacceptable behaviours’, according to a quote in The Times) and pledged to donate £1m to a British charity that treats this ‘problem’.
Naturally, this admirable act of philanthropy wasn’t entirely spontaneous. Lord Laid-more was about to exposed by a News of the World sting in which the ‘fake sheik’ (Mazhar Mahmood, an undercover reporter who’s already stitched up Sven Goran Eriksson and Sophie Wessex) discovered that he regularly pays £3,000-a-night call girls to fly to Monaco for all-night orgies. Confronted with the claims, Laidlaw apparently confessed all, admitting to the paper: ‘I have been fighting sexual addiction for my whole adult life’. It’s almost as unlikely as John Prescott’s bulimia – and the multi-millionaire peer doesn’t even need to shift a few copies of his memoirs.
There’s only one problem so far – he can’t find anywhere to donate his money. Most of the clinics under consideration apparently cover all kinds of addiction, rather than specifically sex, and apparently he’s keen to do something more specific. The cynic might suggest that’s because it’s not really a proper addiction (not all doctors are convinced) – but we reckon that if Michael Douglas and that bloke who used to be married to Halle Berry suffer from it, it must be real.
As a multi-millionaire Tory donor (he’s donated £3m to the Conservative party and £250,000 to Boris Johnson’s mayoral campaign) and self-imposed tax exile (he quit the Lords last year for Monaco and South Africa because he didn’t want to cough up British taxes) we imagine that Laidlaw’s plight is unlikely to elicit much public sympathy.
But to be fair to Laidlaw, since selling his business he’s become one of Britain’s biggest philanthropists. He’s already given millions to the Princes’ Trust, and he apparently intends to give away most of his fortune to help disadvantaged Scots in the coming years. Perhaps his Monaco visitors were just on a fact-finding trip from inner-city Glasgow?