Irvine Laidlaw, Baron Laidlaw

Infobox Person
name = Irvine Laidlaw, Baron Laidlaw

image_size = 150px
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birth_name = Irvine Laidlaw
birth_date = birth year and age|1943|mf=y
birth_place = Keith, Banffshire
death_date =
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residence = Monaco
South Africa
nationality = flagicon|Scotland Scotland
other_names =
known_for = Institute for International Research
education = Merchiston Castle School
alma_mater = Leeds University
Columbia Business School
employer =
occupation = business man
home_town =
title = Baron Laidlaw of Rothiemay
salary =
networth = £800m+
height =
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party = Conservative Party (UK)
boards =
religion =
spouse = Christine
partner =
children =
parents =
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website =
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Irvine Alan Stewart Laidlaw, Baron Laidlaw (born 1943 in Keith, Banffshire, Scotland) is a Scottish businessman, and a member of the House of Lords. In the "Sunday Times Rich List 2007" ranking of the wealthiest people in the UK he was placed 100th with an estimated fortune of £730 million. [ [ "Sunday Times Rich List 2007" online edition] ]


The son of a Banffshire mill-owner, Laidlaw was educated at Merchiston Castle School, Leeds University and New York city’s Columbia Business School.citenews|url=|title=Tory peer Lord Laidlaw seeks treatment for sex addiction|publisher=The Sunday Times|date=April 27th, 2008|accessdate=2008-04-27]

After graduation, Laidlaw turned a small US publishing company bought in 1973 into the Institute for International Research, the world's largest conference organiser. After calling off a £500m flotation in 2001 when the market plunged, he sold in 2005 for a sum believed to be in the order of £768m.

Conservative Party Donations

One of the largest financial backers of the UK's Conservative Party, Laidlaw was made a life peer as Baron Laidlaw, of Rothiemay in Banffshire in June 2004. According to the records of the UK Electoral Commission, on 27th November 2007, Laidlaw gave a donation of £2,990,532.20 to the UK Conservative Party. [citenews|url=|title=Party donations hit midterm record of £56m|publisher=The Guardian|date=February 21 2008|accessdate=2008-04-27] Laidlaw donated £25,000 to the 2008 London Mayoral election campaign of Boris Johnson.

Tax Exile?

Lord Laidlaw is described by the Guardian as a "Monaco-based tax exile."cite news | first=Jamie | last=Doward | coauthors= | title= How short-selling profited the Tories A group of high-profile hedge fund managers who have been criticised for exacerbating the financial crisis are part of an elite pack of Conservative supporters, reports Jamie Doward. Could David Cameron's commitment to transforming the party image fall victim to the credit crunch? | date=September 28 2008 | publisher= | url = | work =Guardian | pages = | accessdate = 2008-09-28 | language = ]

Lord Laidlaw was criticized in April 2007 in the press for failing to become UK tax resident despite being appointed to the House of Lords. The Lords Appointments Commission now enjoys powers to block any non-UK residents becoming Lords in the first place, but it has no powers to force Lord Laidlaw to alter his status as he was granted his peerage prior to this change. The BBC has said that, in a letter seen by them, Laidlaw "cites a variety of personal reasons" for non-compliance. [ [ Row over Tories’ offshore donor, Irvine Laidlaw] Sunday Times - December 16, 2007] Following an attack by Dennis Stevenson, Baron Stevenson of Coddenham, chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission, on assurances given to the committee by Laidlaw to be a UK tax resident by April 2004, Laidlaw is presently granted a leave of absence, subject to further investigation. [citenews|url=|title=Tory donor criticised over tax status|publisher=The Guardian|date=June 7 2007|accessdate=2008-04-27]

Charity donations

In 2004, Laidlaw said that he would over the next 20-30years donate most of his fortune to helping disadvantaged Scots. His main vehicle is the Laidlaw Youth Project, which supports a range of projects for disadvantaged youngsters in Scotland. He has also donated: [citenews|url=|title=Tycoon Laidlaw to give away fortune|publisher=The Scotsman|date=26 November 2006|accessdate=2008-04-27]
*£2million to The Prince's Trust [citenews|url=|title=Prince's Trust donation|publisher=The Prince's Trust|date=28th June 2006|accessdate=2008-04-27]
*After Moray Council earmarked Rothiemay Primary School for closure, Laidlaw donated funds to a parents campaign which successfully kept 21 schools open
*£40,000 to Keith Grammar School, to fund a scheme to help senior pupils prepare for the world of work
*£1,000,000 was given by Baron Laidlaw to Merchiston Castle School his former school; despite having despised attending it, he eventually relented to persuasion by the headmaster and donated this sum. The new sixth-form house at the school, which his donation went some way to financing will therefore be named Laidlaw House.

In 2007, in emerged that the Scottish Executive had given sufficient donations to pay the salary of the CEO Laidlaw Youth project, Maureen McGinn - who is also the wife of Scotland's most senior civil servant, Sir John Elvidge. [citenews|url=|title=Executive funded Tory tax exile’s charity with taxpayers’ money|publisher=Sunday Herald|date=20th May, 2007|accessdate=2008-04-27]

Personal life

Laidlaw and his wife Christine divide their time between between an apartment in Monaco overlooking the harbour; and their South African home, an early 20th century 23,200m² estate in Noordhoek, near Cape Town. At the time of the purchase, in November 2005, it was the country's most expensive property, bought for R106-million.


Laidlaw regularly competes in historic car racing around the world with his Porsche 904GTS, Porsche 904/6, Maserati 250S & Maserati 6CM. Laidlaw also won a medal in the Scottish amateur rally, using a Ford Focus ST. In 2007 Laidlaw added a 1001 hp Bugatti Veyron to his extensive car collection, which is sometimes seen between Noordhoek and Cape Town, on the world-famous coastal road Chapman's Peak Drive.

Laidlaw has won the Key West Regatta twice using his Swan 60 cruiser-racer, "Highland Fling". He began a voyage around the world in Oceanco built motor yacht, the "Lady Christine", in 2003.

ex life allegations

In April 2008, Laidlaw was the target of a sting operation staged by investigative journalist Mazher Mahmood on behalf of the British tabloid "The News of the World," which revealed that Laidlaw hires up to five £3,000 vice girls at a time for all-night orgies involving spanking, bondage and lesbian sex at his Monaco home. After submitting a written confession to the newspaper in which he allegedly confesses a life time fighting sex addiction, [citeweb|url=|title=Lord Laidlaw’s letter of confession|publisher=The News of the World|date=April 27th, 2008|accessdate=2008-04-27] Laidlaw has reportedly checked himself into a six-week residential sex addict programme in South Africa, and donated £1million to help fellow sufferers. [citenews|url=|title=Top Tory Lord Laidlaw's sex games with 4 girls, one gigolo and a tri-lingual bisexual|publisher=The News of the World|date=April 27th, 2008|accessdate=2008-04-27]


External links

* [ Superyacht "Lady Christine" at Superyacht Times]
* [ Lord Laidlaw] at TheyWorkForYou

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