Eccentric Somerset baronet Sir Benjamin Slade has offered the services of his dog as a best man for gay weddings at his historic country home.

Jasper, a labrador-doberman crossbreed, is very suited to civil ceremonies according to his master.

Sir Benjamin told The Western Daily Press : “Jasper is absolutely perfect for the role. For one thing, he is gay himself.

“He may also appeal to the more cosmopolitan among potential same-sex suitors as he is anti-hunting, a pacifist and probably supports New Labour.”

At present, no couples have hired Jasper for their special day.

This has enraged Sir Benjamin, who said he and Jasper are “absolutely fuming and flabbergasted about it.”

Jasper will wear a diamond studded collar for partnership ceremonies at Maunsel House in Somerset.

The dog is no stranger to luxury, travelling everywhere in a stretch limousine and having his own share portfolio.

Jasper is also used to the limelight, having been the centre of a custody battle between Sir Slade and his ex-girlfriend Fiona Aitken.

Legal fees were not a problem for the dog, who paid his own way in the proceedings from his trust fund of over £100,000.

Stories of Sir Benjamin’s escapades are legion.

In 2006 he made the news in another canine caper, when his £40,000 teddy bear Mabel was mauled by his guard dog Barney.

The bear was no ordinary cuddly toy, having previously belonged to Elvis Presley.

But Sir Benjamin’s most interesting appearance in the press has been his quest, launched last year, to find a male heir to his 13th century £7 million estate.

The aristocrat’s family refused to take on the property due to its disrepair; it currently needs an estimated £791,000 refurbishment.

Sir Benjamin is a firm believer in his aristocratic bloodline, claiming that he can trace his ancestry back to Alfred the Great.

For this reason, he hopes to use DNA testing to find his closest genetic relative in the U.S.

He told Steelruman.Typepad.com: “I’m hoping it won’t be some cowpoke or someone who lives on a trailer park surrounded by rattlesnakes.

“I would have a screaming fit if I found out it was some chap like that. I want someone with a bit of money and a couple of yachts.”

Once his estate has been passed on, Sir Slade and Jasper hope to move to rather more understated accommodation.

He said: “I want to go to one of those rather large council houses, I’ve always fancied one.

“People living in council houses don’t know what a hell it is living in a place like this.”