Showing posts from May, 2023

Trade deals with Australia and New Zealand come into effect

Today the first post-Brexit trade deals Britain has negotiated outside of the European Union will come into force, creating more high-paid jobs in the UK and new opportunities for British business as we grow the economy.  Leaving the EU has involved both costs and benefits: one of the benefits is that outside the European Union, we are able to negotiate new trade deals which are specifically tailored to the strengths and needs of the UK economy to benefit British business and help grow our economy – as we have done with Australia and New Zealand.  Today marks a historic moment as both the UK-Australia FTA and the UK-New Zealand FTA will come into force. The deals removes tariffs on all UK goods exports to the two countries, slashes red tape for digital trade and work visas and makes it easier for the UK to access their services markets. Businesses up and down the country will now be able to reap the rewards of the improved trading opportunities provided by these deals and seize new opp

MoD Update 31 May 2023


Quote of the day 31st May 2023

"Seems to be some confusion, so let’s clear it up.  a) If Tories lie about Brexit, that’s a shameful abuse that should disqualify them from office b) If Starmer lies about Brexit he’s a master strategist who is rightly demonstrating his steely eyed determination to secure power" (Dan Hodges on Twitter this evening.) Irony Klaxon:  I am fairly certain that Dan is being ironic and I quote him on the same basis. For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this post is intended to condone lying by anyone.

An even worse case of double standards

I called out a Labour MP on Sunday for double standards after she tweeted exactly the sort of divisive political tribalism, praising people for using foul language to insult her political opponents, which she had rightly condemned in a  BBC interview last year. But an even worse case of weapons grade double standards - and the metaphor was quite literally appropriate - came this week. On Tuesday the capitals of both Ukraine and Russia were attacked by drones. The Ukrainian government says that Kiev was attacked by 31 drones. Such attacks from Russia have become almost routine. According to the UK Ministry of defence there have been about 20 attacks deep inside Ukraine by Russian launched drones and cruise missiles in May so far, and most of these included attacks on Kiev. According to the BBC the wave of drones fired against Kiev on Tuesday was the seventeenth such attack in May alone. On the same night, for the second time since the war started fifteen months ago, someone fired drones

MoD update 30th May 2023


MoD update 29th May 2023


Quote of the day 29th May 2023


MoD Update 28th May 2023


If there were a Nobel prize for having double standards

I don't often agree with Labour MPs.  But I do agree with the comments made by Labour MP Charlotte  Nichols to  BBC North West Tonight  back in November 2022 and reported on here .  BBC analysis of three million tweets aimed at MPs over a six-week period had found more than 130,000, about one in 20, could be classed as toxic. Ms Nichols received more than 11,000 messages in the period, 8.3% of which were found to be toxic, while 4% of the 83,000 tweets sent to Angela Rayner were abusive. Other North-West MPs had similar percentages, with 4.5% of the messages sent to Ribble Valley's Conservative representative Nigel Evans being abusive, 4.3% of those sent to both Labour's Andrew Gwynne and Alison McGovern, who represent Denton and Reddish and Wirral South, and 4.8% of those sent to Angela Eagle, the Labour MP for Wallasey. Ms. Nichols, who has had someone come to her office armed with a knife and been physically attacked, told the BBC that she  believes much of what she has

Sunday music spot: VOCES8 perform "Jesu Joy of man's desiring" (JS Bach)


Saturday music spot: Torelli's Trumpet Concerto in D Major


Record number of Doctors and Nurses

Newly released figures show a further increase in the number of doctors and nurses working in the NHS, setting another new   record number of doctors and nurses working in the NHS in England , meaning better care for patients and helping to cut waiting lists. Cutting waiting lists is one of the Prime Minister’s five priorities, so it is vital that our NHS has the doctors, nurses, and midwives it needs to deliver for patients.  That is why the government has have recruited over 53,000 new full-time staff in our NHS in the past year – with 5,369 more doctors, 11,883 more nurses and health visitors, 258 more midwives, and 517 more ambulance staff working in our NHS compared to last year.   We have delivered on our commitment to recruit 26,000 more primary care staff by 2024 a year early – helping to cut waiting lists as we also work to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, and stop the boats. 

Music to start the weekend: Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major BWV 1049


Quote of the day 26th May 2023

  Thomas Sowell was right when he penned this quote. And it is not just amazing, but tragic.

Supporting our NHS and cutting waiting lists part 2 - more choice for patients

Today the government also announced   patients will be able to choose where they go for treatment using the NHS App or website , giving patients greater control over their own care and helping cut NHS waiting lists, one of our five priorities. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the NHS and our ability to access healthcare, which is why the Prime Minister made cutting waiting lists one of his five priorities.  Today the government is empowering patients to choose where they receive treatment as part of our plan to cut waiting lists, allowing patients to choose which hospital they are treated at through the NHS app or website, and increasing the information they have about waiting times and quality when they do so. This will direct those in need of operations to where they will have less long to wait. It could wipe months off patients’ waiting time, helping to cut wait lists as we create an NHS built around patients, where everyone has more control over the care they receive. 

Supporting our NHS and cutting waiting lists, part one - Five new Hospitals

Great to see plans for five more new hospitals , including one in Yorkshire and one in the North West. Today the government announced that five major hospitals are to be rebuilt as part of an investment of over £20 billion in new hospital infrastructure across England - ensuring our NHS is fit for the future and helping to cut waiting lists. Hospitals built using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete have served patients for decades, but new research indicates that this material needs to be replaced. That is why the government announced today that five new major hospitals will be rebuilt across England - including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Norfolk, Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire, Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, Airedale Hospital in West Yorkshire, and Mid Cheshire Hospital in Cheshire. This announcement means patients will be able to get the care they need in brand new facilities, serving communities for decades to come as we cut waiting lists.

MoD Defence intelligence report on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at 25th May 2023


Flight Sergeant Peter Brown RIP

The funeral of a true hero took place today. Peter Brown was just a teenager when he travelled from his home in Jamaica to Britain and signed up in the RAF during World War Two to defend this country and the world against the fascist menace of Nazi Germany. The words "fascist" and "Nazi" are thrown around far too often these days against anyone the speaker disagrees with, and have been devalued as a result, but Peter Brown risked his life flying in Lancaster bombers to fight against the real thing. Britain should always remember those who came from all around the world to fight on our side in the defence of freedom and justice and to oppose tyranny. This is what the defence secretary had to say about his funeral, which was very well attended.   Rest in Peace

Quote of the day 25th May 2023


MoD Defence intelligence update on Russia's invasion of Ukraine 24th May 2023

  Also to note:

IMF upgrades UK growth forecasts

My academic degrees are in economics and I have spent the majority of my career using the skills I acquired at university in planning and forecasting roles. I thought last year's IMF forecast for the UK economy was unduly pessimistic and risked talking the economy down - there is a real danger in economics that if an unnecessarily pessimistic forecast is widely believed it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I welcome the fact that the IMF has now upgraded their forecast which partly reflects a recognition that Britain's economy has performed better than they expected and partly reflects an improvement in the economic outlook for the UK. Yesterday   the IMF confirmed Britain's economy is on the right track , upgrading our growth forecast and substantially reducing our inflation forecast, as we deliver on the Prime Minister’s priorities of halving inflation, growing the economy, and reducing debt. Since the IMF’s last assessment of the UK economy in 2022, our world and our ec

Inflation figures

Today the Office for National Statistics published inflation figures showing that the rate of increase in prices has dropped  back to single figures, falling by  1.4 percentage points to 8.7 per cent.  Economies around the world are facing high inflation driven by Putin’s illegal war, higher energy prices and economies bouncing back from the pandemic. This means the costs of goods have risen.   That is why one of the five key Conservative promises is to halve inflation by the end of the year. The ONS confirmed this morning inflation has fallen to 8.7 per cent, showing we are making progress towards our target, but there is more work to do. Inflation is the number one enemy that makes everyone poorer, eating away at people’s savings and pay packets. By reducing it we are easing the impact of day to day costs on people's pockets as we grow the economy and reduce debt. The Conservative government is making progress against inflation and taking action to help people with the cost of li

Midweek music spot: "Music for a while" (Henry Purcell)


Quote of the day 24th May 2023

Extracts from an article in yesterday's Times by William Hague. “The reason conservatism has been such an enduring force for centuries is this readiness to adapt to social change in ways that give more people a stake in national success, to enlarge opportunity and thereby its own political support, and to promote an innovative economy while protecting people from abuse. Conservatism is more of an anti-ideology than it is an ideology itself, searching for what works in practice rather than fitting some universal theory."” “Conservatism at its best rejects abstract theories while building on good habits. It constantly widens its sense of community — moving from its origins in the landed gentry to embrace business and commerce, from large property-owners to small ones, from a homogenous party to the one that has propelled Britain’s female or ethnic minority leaders to the top. It adapts by absorbing new liberal ideas in each generation and making them its own, as in David Cameron

Tuesday music spot: Elton John's "I'm Still Standing"


Helping households with food bills

Today the Chancellor is due to meet food manufacturers to discuss how we can ease the cost of food for households – as we continue to provide immediate relief with the cost of living and work to halve inflation this year.  High food prices are proving stubborn – we need to understand what is driving that and how we can ease the pressure on households.  That is why Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is meeting food manufacturers today, raising concerns about high food prices in the UK and discussing measures the government can take – in partnership with industry – to ease the pressure on households.  The Conservative government acted decisively to help struggling families with the cost of living crisis and particularly energy bills, rolling out a £3,300 support package per household over this year and last. Conservatives will continue to do all we can to help households and deliver on our promise to halve inflation this year.  

MoD Defence intelligence summary on the Russian invasion of Ukraine 23rd May 2023

  Also worth noting:

Supporting victims of Child Sexual Abuse

The government has   committed to set up a redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse , ensuring survivors of this heinous crime get the support they need and deserve.  Thousands of brave victims came forward to give evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – we must ensure they get the right support.  That is why the government is setting up a redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse to make sure children are never again so badly let down by the institutions that should have protected them. We are also bringing in mandatory reporting for adults working with young people, making it a legal requirement to speak out if they suspect a child is being abused or exploited.  We will stop at nothing to stamp out these vile crimes, punish the perpetrators, and make sure every child across the country can grow up in a safe environment.

Protecting Wildlife

Five more rare or endangered species are set to be protected under an extension of the Ivory Act. The government is proposing to extend the protection provided by the act to cover the Hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, killer whale and sperm whale species.   These five endangered CITES-listed species are to receive greater legal protections under the world-leading Ivory Act 2018 This meets a Conservative 2019 manifesto commitment and is part of a wider UK drive on international conservation The Hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, killer whale (also known as orca) and sperm whale species are set to receive greater legal protections under the UK’s world-leading ban on importing, exporting and dealing in items containing ivory, the Government has announced today (Tuesday 23 May 2023) – delivering on a key animal welfare manifesto commitment. Of these the Hippopotamus is the species most at risk from the trade in its ivory after elephants. The other species are already threatened by climate change,

Quote of the day 23rd May 2023


Dominic Sandford on Stanley Baldwin

If you are at all interested in political history, you may find that a piece on the Unherd website by Dominic Sandford about the life and achievements of Stanley Baldwin, "Britain needs more Stanley Baldwins," is well worth a read. You can find it by clicking on the link below. Britain needs more Stanley Baldwins - UnHerd

Labour's attitude to picking candidates to be MPs in the words of their own members

It is a matter for the Labour party who they pick as their candidates. Nevertheless, when key local activists in a political party are resigning en masse about the way their party leadership has run the selection of a candidate, and are using words like "Undemocratic and against everything our party stands for" (the previous parliamentary candidate) "This is a travesty" (Cumberland Councillor and a portfolio holder on that Council)   "A dreadful decision"  and "It's beyond parody" (Cumberland councillor for the area I used to represent) then the fact that the very people who have been pounding the streets for a party are saying such things about the way their party is run is informative. You can read here what the secretary of Copeland Labour party, Bransty councillor Joseph Ghayouba,  has written about the decision by the Labour leadership to block him from standing to represent the area in the next general election. The quotes above are

Brayton Academy among schools to benefit from new investment

As I posted earlier today, the Conservative Government is investing over £450 million in extra funding to improve school buildings, with over 1,000 projects receiving new investment to deliver safe, well-maintained facilities that support a high-quality education for pupils. 859 academies, sixth form colleges and voluntary aided schools are set to benefit from the latest round of funding from the Conservative Government’s Condition Improvement Fund. By making sure pupils have access to the facilities they need to succeed, the Conservative Government is helping to grow the economy as we deliver on the Prime Minister’s five priorities to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists, and stop the boats. I welcome this extra funding from the Conservative Government to upgrade school buildings across the country, including a project at Brayton Academy , an excellent school which serves the area to which my wife and I recently moved, the Brayton area of the Selby and Ain

Cutting red tape for wine producers

Yesterday the government announced major cuts to red tape affecting the UK wine sector , delivering a £180 million boost to our UK wine industry and growing the economy.  Britain has over 800 thriving vineyards in the UK and our wine sector is going from strength to strength, contributing hundreds of millions of pounds to the UK economy every year.  That is why the government has announced revolutionary reforms to regulations in the wine industry which will give this growing sector a £180 million boost, freeing firms from  cumbersome rules left over from Britain's time in the EU and enabling them to grow their businesses.  Now that we have left the EU, firms should rightly have the freedom they need to get on with business, boosting jobs and growing the economy. 

MoD Defence intelligence update on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 22nd May 2023


The G7 Summit

Last week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took a leading role in the meeting of G7 leaders, urging allies to redouble their efforts to support Ukraine and working with allies to boost economic and national security. For the sake of global peace and security, the G7 must remain unified in the face of the threat from Russia and continue to boost international security. That is why, the Prime Minister has been taking a leading role in the G7 summit and met with allies including   President Zelenskyy of Ukraine   and   President Macron of France  as we urge our partners to continue to support Ukraine and make progress on security issues including illegal immigration as we work to stop the boats. As the Prime Minister met with his fellow G7 leaders, he emphasised the importance of redoubling their efforts to defend our values of freedom, democracy and tolerance – both in Ukraine and across the world.

Improving school buildings

Today the government has announced  over £450 million of investment to improve school buildings , ensuring pupils have the facilities they need to learn the skills they need for the future as we grow the economy. Britain has a world-leading education system but we must continue to invest in safe, warm and energy efficient classrooms so pupils have the facilities they need to study effectively and succeed. That is why the Conservatives are investing an additional £456 million into our school buildings, delivering over 1,000 building improvement projects across 859 academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary aided schools as part of our £1.8 billion investment in the school estate in 2023-4. Every school should have access to high-quality facilities and our investment will deliver this so pupils can develop the skills they need for their careers as we grow the economy.

Quote of the day 22nd May 2023


MoD Defence intelligence summary on the situation in Ukraine at 21st May 2023


Second Sunday music spot: 'If Ye Love Me' by Thomas Tallis

One of the high spots of this morning's service at Selby Abbey was the communion anthem, for which the Selby Abbey choir performed "If ye love me" by Thomas Tallis.  Here are VOCES8 singing the same anthem. Yes, I know I posted a version of this a fortnight ago. In the immortal words of Windsor Davies,  "Oh Dear. What a shame. Never mind."

A Sunday reflection from Selby.

I attended the Sunday morning family service today at Selby Abbey, and the service sheet began with a reflection by the Reverend Paul Finlinson, also available online, which I found quite thought-provoking.. It begins as follows: "Whenever a person is interviewed for a job, one of the questions which is often asked is, not surprisingly,  'Why do you want to do this job?' Why do you want to be a teacher? A member of the police force? A social worker? A public servant or a Member of Parliament? Rarely do candidates for these positions, and many other similar ones, say that they want these jobs because they want to be made fun of or criticised by members of the public.  And yet, as a consequence of wanting simply to serve others, many of us who have chosen these jobs have at times fallen victim to the ridicule and even hatred of others. It seems so unfair when all you wanted to do was to hopefully bring good to the people you have chosen to serve. Doubtless many of you watch

Sunday music spot: Locus Iste (Bruckner )


Quote of the day 21st May 2023

 "There is no bigger waste of time than doing 90% of what is necessary." (Thomas Sowell)

MoD Defence update on the war in Ukraine at 20th May 2023


The walk for Arthur

It was a lovely day for the walk in memory of the late Arthur  Lamb,  organised by his NHS colleagues, from Haig Pit to St Bees. I'd say about thirty people took part. The money raised will be donated to Epilepsy Action. If you would like to sponsor the event and donate to Epilepsy Action, you can still do so  here .

More sanctions on Russia

The UK and other G7 countries have   announced new sanctions on Russia , strengthening the most severe package of sanctions ever imposed on a major economy as the Prime Minister urges the G7 to redouble their efforts to support Ukraine. For the sake of global peace and security, the G7 must remain unified in the face of the threat from Russia and show that brutal violence and coercion does not reap rewards. That is why, in coordination with our G7 allies, the British government has announced new sanctions on Russia’s diamond, copper, aluminium and nickel trade, as well as sanctioning 86 further people and companies from Putin’s military industrial complex – including those working to undermine existing sanctions. The Prime Minister met his fellow G7 leaders this weekend and emphasised the importance of redoubling our efforts to defend our values of freedom, democracy and tolerance – in Ukraine and across the world.

Saturday music spot: Vivaldi's Concerto for 4 violins in B minor, RV 580


Quote of the day 20th May 2023

 "Not every change is a step forward" The quote is from Timothy Zahn's novel, "Thrawn." Here it is in context: "One is born with a unique set of talents and abilities. One must choose which of those talents to nurture, which to set aside for a time, and which to ignore completely. Sometimes the choice is obvious. Other times, the hints and proddings are more obscure. Then, one may need to undergo several regimens of training and sample several different professions before determining where one's strongest talents lie. This is the driving force behind many life-path alterations. There are few sets of skills which match only one specific job. More often they are adaptable to many different professions. Sometimes, one can plan such a change. Other times , the change appears without warning. In both instances, one must be alert and carefully consider all options. Not every change is a step forward." 

MoD Intelligence update on Ukraine 19th May 2023


Jets for Ukraine

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted: "Welcome announcement that the US will approve the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets. The UK will work together with the USA and the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark to get Ukraine the combat air capability it needs. We stand united."

Music to start the weekend: Vivaldi's Concerto in C major for two flutes, strings & bass


Reminder: Walk in memory of Arthur Lamb to be held tomorrow

A reminder that  NHS co-workers of my friend and colleague, the late Arthur Lamb, who died at the tragically young age of 31 in January, have organised a sponsored walk in his memory tomorrow (Saturday 20th May 2023) to raise funds for Epilepsy Action. Arthur packed a huge amount of achievement into those 31 years. He was chairman of Copeland Conservatives at the time of the Copeland by-election. He became a county councillor by winning a safe Labour seat, and at the time of his death was Chief Whip of the Conservative group on Cumbria County Council and Deputy Chairman of the Conservatives in Cumbria. I still miss him greatly and I know I speak for Conservative colleagues all over Cumbria when I say that we deeply feel his loss. Arthur was a cricket umpire and coach and was immensely valued not just by Whitehaven cricket club but by colleagues all over Cumbria  - the night before he died he was coaching youngsters in what he told his parents was a  "really good session with the k

Helping Ukraine

  This week PM Rishi Sunak welcomed President Zelenskyy of Ukraine to Britain, as part of a tour by the Ukrainian leader seeking support in his country's struggle to defend itself against unprovoked, illegal and inexcusable Russian aggression. This week the UK also  announced that   we will supply new missiles and long-range attack drones to Ukraine , standing by Ukraine as they continue in their fight against Putin. The UK is leading the way in supporting Ukraine, defending democracy and ensuring Putin’s hideous and barbaric venture fails. That is why, this week, the Prime Minister met with President Zelenskyy to discuss the UK’s ongoing support for Ukraine – humanitarianly, financially and militarily – including the UK’s £2.3 billion of support this year, and we confirmed the further provision of hundreds of air defence missiles and unmanned systems, including long range attack drones. This is a message of solidarity that will ring loud in all of the Prime Minister’s meetings wit

Online safety - protecting kids from those who encourage them to self-harm

The government has this week announced that   internet trolls will face up to five years in jail for encouraging others to self-harm , as part of a package of measures to make the internet a safer place for everyone.  No parent should have to worry about their children viewing content online – or elsewhere – let alone the possibility that they will be encouraged to hurt themselves. That is why the government is making it a crime to encourage someone to cause serious self-harm, including someone to starve themselves or not take prescribed medication. The offence will apply even when the perpetrator does not know the person they are targeting and see those convicted face up to 5 years in prison, putting an end to anonymous trolling that risks serious self-harm.  Building on the existing measures in the Online Safety Bill, these changes will make it easier to convict those responsible for this dangerous intellectual poison and make the internet a better and safer place for everyone. 

Helping families with the cost of living


Quote of the day 19th May 2023


The Hiroshima accord - a new UK/Japanese security deal

Today the   Prime Minister signed a landmark security deal with Japan , stepping up defence cooperation to uphold stability in the Indo-Pacific and helping to grow our economy.  The UK and Japan are closely aligned on the importance of protecting peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and defending our values, including free and fair trade.  That is why the Prime Minister signed a landmark security deal with Japan today to step-up defence cooperation. The Hiroshima Accord will see us doubling the number of UK troops in upcoming joint exercises and deploying the Carrier Strike Group to the Indo-Pacific in 2025. We are also strengthening economic ties as Japanese businesses commit to invest nearly £18 billion in UK companies, helping to grow our economy.  This agreement will step up defence cooperation to uphold stability in the Indo-Pacific and further cement our relationship with Japan as we deliver on our promise to grow the economy. 

International Literacy rankings

Congratulations to schools in England on a result which reflects great credit on our teachers and school students: this week  children in England became the best readers in the Western World as we achieved our highest ever place in International Literacy Rankings, representing an achievement which will spread opportunity and ultimately helping grow the economy.   The government is committed to delivering a brighter future for our children and grandchildren. Driving up literacy rates is central to our plan to spread opportunity and grow the economy, one of the five priorities. That is why this week’s announcement that England moved up to fourth in the international rankings for reading was so important. England has also risen nine places in the global league tables for maths and reading since 2015 and 88 per cent of all schools are now rated as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ schools – up from 68 per cents since Labour were in power. While there is always more progress to be made, pupils and te

The PM's speech at the Council of Europe

Earlier this week   the Prime Minister delivered a speech at the Council of Europe , reaffirming our commitment to work with our European allies on shared challenges, including growing the economy and stopping the boats. Even though we have left the EU, we have not left Europe and we remain a proud European nation and are committed to working closely with our allies on our shared challenges.  That is why the Prime Minister told the Council of Europe this week that we cannot sit back and watch as criminal gangs profiteer on people’s misery and exploit the most vulnerable, calling for greater cooperation among European nation to tackle the problem of illegal migration. To take no effective action about the boats isn't helping those in need - it is perpetuating a trade which is a risk to their lives. Britain will keep working with our European allies to rise to the challenges we face to deliver on our priorities to grow the economy and stop the boats.

Capping Bus fares, and providing funding to protect Bus services in North Yorkshire

  Yesterday the government  announced the extension of the £2 bus fare cap , helping passengers save money on fares while supporting vulnerable bus routes – helping to grow the economy and providing immediate relief for people with the cost of living.  Taking the bus is the most popular form of public transport and many people rely on buses to get them to work or to take their children to school.   That is why millions of passengers across England will continue to ‘Get Around for £2’ with the government providing £200 million to continue capping single bus fares until the end of October 2023. £300 million has also been confirmed to protect vital routes and improve services until 2025. This will make sure bus travel remains accessible and affordable for everyone to ease cost of living pressures whilst also delivering on the Conservative priority to grow the economy.

MoD Defence intelligence update on Russia and Ukraine 18th May 2023


Swimathon 2023

I did manage to complete the Swimathon 2023 challenge - 5,000 metres, which this year meant 200 lengths of The Edge pool in Leeds - in a time of two hours and seven minutes. Here are my Swimathon 2023 cap and medal. Both I and all the other thousands of swimmers who took part around the UK were doing this to raise money for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie Cancer care. I am hugely grateful to all the generous souls who have so far supported these two great causes by sponsoring me, and have so far given £210 to help people suffering from cancer, and which will be boosted by £32.50 in Gift Aid. If anyone else would like to sponsor these great causes they can do so at my Justgiving page by clicking on the link below: Christopher Whiteside is fundraising for Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie & The Swimathon Foundation (

Quote of the day 18th May 2023


MoD Defence summary 17th May 2023


The biggest package of reforms to the Rental market in a generation

This week the government   introduced once-in-a-generation rental reforms , empowering renters to challenge rogue landlords and enabling landlords to take action on anti-social behaviour.   No family, nor individual should be forced to live in a damp, unsafe home, powerless to put things right – and with the threat of sudden eviction hanging over them.  That is why the Conservatives are delivering on our manifesto commitment to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions, ensuring renters can challenge poor standards without fear of being evicted or forced to pay exorbitant rent increases. We are also supporting the vast majority of decent landlords by making it easier for them to recover properties and evict anti-social tenants.  We will make sure the landlord-tenant relationship works better for everyone and deliver decent, safe, and secure homes for families across England.