The internationally celebrated historian and TV presenter Niall Ferguson has broken up with his wife of 16 years after a string of adulterous affairs.
The 45-year-old Harvard professor has left former newspaper editor Susan Douglas, with whom he has three children, for his mistress, the Somalian-born feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Ferguson, who also has high-level links to the Tory Party, with a seat on the board of the Right-wing think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies, has been seen with Ms Hirsi Ali at a number of high-profile events over recent months.
The pair are understood to have met at Time magazine’s prestigious 100 Most Influential People In The World party in New York last May.
Ms Luscombe, a friend of Ms Hirsi Ali, said: ‘I think that is where they met for the first time. In all the years I have known Ayaan, she’s never had a boyfriend. She’s gorgeous, but with a fatwa, it’s tricky to find guys.’
Ferguson is on the board of the Centre for Policy Studies, the leading Right-wing think-tank, and works as an unofficial adviser to Mr Cameron, in particular on how to promote ‘Britishness’.
He also worked as an adviser to John McCain at the beginning of his election campaign before quitting to support his rival, Barack Obama. He is considered a leading expert on foreign affairs and once described himself as an ‘ardent Thatcherite’ but now calls himself a ‘liberal fundamentalist’.
He is seen as a contentious figure in literary circles, prompting one rival historian to declare: ‘He has the kind of face you want to punch.’