‘Naim Attallah paid tribute to his author: ‘What Desmond has achieved is certainly the envy of many of us and is likely to dwarf anything we aspire to.
He had a mischievous sense of humour, asking Lord Archer in an Old Bailey lift whether the author, on trial for perjury, was ‘going down’.
He was also fond of armagnac and threatened to sue a newspaper for reporting that he spent £400 a week on his favourite tipple. ‘Outrageous slur that damages my reputation,’ he griped. ‘I spend much more.’’