British Minister Lord Lambton

Associated Press
Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Lord Lambton, 84, a former British junior defense minister who resigned after he was photographed smoking cannabis in bed with two prostitutes, died Dec. 30 at his Italian home.

His death was announced in a notice placed in the Tuscan regional newspaper La Nazione on Sunday. The cause of his death was not immediately clear.

Anthony Lambton served as undersecretary for defense for the Royal Air Force from 1970 until 1973.

He was one of two ministers who resigned from Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath's government because of scandals involving prostitutes. The other was Lord Jellicoe, leader of the House of Lords.

Lord Lambton's sex-and-drugs scandal in 1973 shocked the government. He was brought down after photos of him in bed with the call girls were passed to the Sunday tabloid newspaper News of the World.

After an investigation, he was denied access to secret material out of fear that he could be blackmailed.

He resigned and moved to Tuscany, where he bought Villa Cetinale, a 400-year-old estate.

After he was exposed, Lambton told an intelligence officer that he had thrown himself into a "frenzied" round of "gardening and debauchery" to get over the fact that he had lost a three-year battle over the use of his father's title.

He inherited the Earldom of Durham after his father died in 1970, but Lord Lambton renounced it so he could continue as a member of Parliament. However, he continued to insist on being addressed as Lord Lambton.

Five years after he left the House of Commons, Lord Lambton published a novel in which various real political figures were recognizable in some of the characters.

He was married to Belinda Blew Jones, who died three years ago, and they had five children.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company