Lord McAlpine has died. He was Treasurer of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990 and Deputy Chairman from 1979 to 198.

A statement the McAlpine family says:

“It is with great sadness that the family of Lord McAlpine announce his peaceful death last night at his home in Italy.”

Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps MP said:

“Lord McAlpine made a huge contribution to public life. A man of true integrity in business and politics. My thoughts are with his family.”

As the Party Treasurer, Lord McAlpine was highly effective in raising the funds needed for the Thatcher election victories. He went round with sheaf of best Saatchi poster sketches asking businessmen: “Which one of these would you like to pay for?”

The grandson of Concrete Bob, Sir Robert McAlpine who founded the construction firm and Lord McAlpine was a director of the firm. Yet he was hardly the stereotype of a grey Tory businessmen. Aside from business and politics he was keen art collector and gallery owner, with an interest in artists such as Mark Rothko, Morris Louis and Jackson Pollock and a collection of aboriginal art.

In his later years he withdraw from public life – opening a bed-and-breakfast in an old monastery in Puglia, Southern Italy with his third wife. However he was obliged to take libel after the most vile and false allegations of child abuse. He obtained a settlement of £185,000 from the BBC and also obtained libel damages from left wing figures – such as Sally Bercow, George Monbiot and the comedian Alan Davies – who sought to promote hatred towards him via Twitter by drawing attention to the lie.

Lord McAlpine also an author. His books included The Servant, Letters to a Young Politician, Once A Jolly Bagman, The New Machiavelli and From Bagman to Swagman.

So very sad news. A thoroughly decent, entertaining and colourful character who played such an important role in making the Thatcher Revolution possible and thus turning round the fortunes of our country.