Priti Patel’s cabinet future in doubt over Israel trip row

Priti PatelImage copyright

Priti Patel’s future as international development secretary is understood to be increasingly uncertain amid a row over her conduct in a visit to Israel.

She has apologised for meeting Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in August without telling the Foreign Office in advance.

Labour want an inquiry into whether she has broken the ministerial code.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said sources suggested Ms Patel was in “serious trouble” as new details about unofficial meetings were examined.

The Sun reported that No 10 had demanded Ms Patel “come clean” about any other meetings that she had had with foreign politicians.

The Press Association said it was understood she had held two further unauthorised meetings with senior Israeli political figures which were not attended by UK government officials.

The BBC’s political editor said Ms Patel, who is currently on an official trip to Africa, was still in her post and she had not spoken to Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday evening.

Ms Patel has been under growing pressure since it emerged last week she met a series of senior Israeli government and business figures while on a private holiday to Israel in August.

  • Patel apologises for Israeli meetings
  • Patel held undisclosed meetings in Israel

No diplomats were present at the meetings but Ms Patel was accompanied by Conservative peer and campaigner Lord Polak, president of the Conservative Friends of Israel,

Ms Patel was forced to correct the record earlier this week about the number of meetings that she had attended and when the Foreign Office had been notified about them.

The MP said she had been wrong to suggest to the Guardian that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson knew of the trip in advance when he had only learnt about it while it was under way.

Earlier on Tuesday, it emerged that upon her return Ms Patel had asked the Foreign Office to consider supporting humanitarian operations conducted by the Israeli army in the occupied Golan Heights area – a request that was turned down as “inappropriate” by officials.

In the Commons earlier, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said that Downing Street regarded the matter “as closed” after Ms Patel had been reprimanded by the prime minister and reminded of her obligations under the ministerial code.

Ms Patel, who has been an MP since 2010, is a long-standing supporter of Israel and a former vice-chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel.

Article source:

Elsie Scully-Hicks: Dad of adopted baby guilty of murder

Media captionMatthew Scully-Hicks made a 999 call two months before Elsie died claiming she fell down stairs

A man has been found guilty of murdering his 18-month-old baby just two weeks after formally adopting her.

Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, of Delabole, Cornwall, had denied inflicting catastrophic injuries on Elsie at his Cardiff home four days before she died.

He called 999 on 25 May 2016 claiming he had found her unresponsive on the floor but a jury unanimously rejected his claim.

A pathologist said her injuries were “very typical” of a shaken baby.

Scully-Hicks will be sentenced on Tuesday and a child practice review is now expected to take place which will investigate the role of agencies in the case and look at whether lessons can be learned to prevent future tragedies.

Pathologist Dr Stephen Leadbetter told the trial Elsie’s injuries were consistent with “shaking impact syndrome”.

He said she died after suffering a “blunt head injury”, which triggered a cardiac arrest and starved her organs of blood.

A CT scan showed she had bleeding on the brain and a post-mortem examination revealed she had also suffered broken ribs, a fractured left femur and a fractured skull.

There was also haemorrhaging within both of Elsie’s retinas – associated with inflicted trauma or injury.

In the months before her death, Scully-Hicks had told his husband and a health visitor a bruise on Elsie’s face and leg fracture were caused by falls around the house.

Media captionScully-Hicks called 999 to say Elsie was not breathing

But a doctor who examined Elsie after her death said his account was inconsistent with her injuries.

Less than three months before she died Scully-Hicks called 999 and said Elsie had fallen down the stairs after a wooden stair gate accidentally opened when she pulled herself up on it.

On 25 May, Scully-Hicks was on the phone to the emergency services again.

This time he said he had changed Elsie’s nappy in the living room, left the room before returning minutes later to find her unresponsive on the floor.

‘Satan in a babygro’

He told the court: “I got closer and called her, there was no response. I got down and gave her a gentle tap and there was no response at all so I picked up the phone and called for an ambulance.”

He said he carried out CPR until a police officer arrived and took over and she was rushed to hospital.

Elsie died at the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, on 29 May 2016 after doctors determined she could not be saved and her ventilator was switched off.

During the trail, the jury was told Scully-Hicks had sent his husband Craig text messages saying he was “struggling to cope” and describing Elsie as “Satan in a babygro” and a “psycho”.

Neighbours told the court they heard Scully-Hicks raise his voice and swear at the the baby.

The court heard Scully-Hicks who remained emotionless as the jury gave its unanimous verdict, did not suffer from a Psychiatric illness or personality disorder.

Image copyright
South Wales Police

Image caption

A jury unanimously found Matthew Scully-Hicks guilty of murdering 18-month-old Elsie

Prosecutor Paul Lewis QC, said: “[Scully-Hicks'] actions on the late afternoon of 25 May were the tragic culmination of a course of violent conduct on his part towards a defenceless child – an infant that he should have loved and protected, but whom he instead assaulted, abused, and ultimately murdered.”

Following the unanimous verdict, Iwan Jenkins, from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “There were complicating factors in that the only two people who knew what happened in the months leading up to the incident which resulted in her hospitalisation were the defendant and the victim herself.”

He said evidence from medical experts had been “crucial” to the case, adding the analysis of Elsie’s injuries were “vital to show explanations provided by the defendant were not true and were inconsistent”.

He added: “There are no winners in cases of murder.”

‘Devastating effect’

A National Adoption Service spokesman said it was a “tragic and extremely rare case”.

Det Ch Insp Stuart Wales, of South Wales Police’s major crime investigation team, said Elsie’s “untimely death” has had a “devastating effect first and foremost on her family”.

“Elsie’s death has also impacted a wider community, including the many professionals involved in her care and the subsequent investigation. I would like to thank all of them, including the many witnesses who assisted the prosecution,” he said.

“This case represents an extremely rare and distressing set of circumstances. We at South Wales Police continue to respect and value the role that adoption, and those involved, play in our society.”

Article source:

Paradise Papers: Mrs Brown’s Boys stars ‘diverted £2m in offshore tax dodge’

Martin Delany, Fiona Delany, Patrick Houlihan

Three stars of hit BBC sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys diverted more than £2m into an offshore tax-avoidance scheme, Paradise Papers documents show.

Patrick Houlihan and Martin and Fiona Delany transferred their fees into companies in Mauritius and sent money back as loans.

Similar tax avoidance schemes have been subject to investigation and challenges by HMRC in recent years.

The actors have not responded to the BBC’s requests for comment.

Houlihan told the Irish Times he had joined the scheme after receiving professional advice without fully understanding it.

Roy Lyness, who put the stars in touch with the advisers behind the set-up, was the accountant behind the similar K2 tax avoidance scheme used by comedian Jimmy Carr.

Paradise Papers – exposing the tax secrets of the ultra-rich

Media captionRichard Bilton asks Mrs Brown’s Boys star Fiona Delany about the offshore scheme.

The revelation in 2012 that Carr had used a Jersey-based tax shelter attracted criticism from then-Prime Minister David Cameron and prompted the comedian to say he had “made a terrible error of judgement”.

The leaked documents held by offshore law firm Appleby show how the three Mrs Brown’s Boys stars put their fees from a production company owned by Brendan O’Carroll, the creator and star of the show and real-life father of Fiona Delany, in companies they controlled in Mauritius.

Mr O’Carroll said neither he nor his companies have been involved in a tax avoidance scheme or structure and the actors’ wages were paid into a UK company bank account.

Mr O’Carroll’s production company is registered at accountant Mr Lyness’s office in Oldbury in the West Midlands.

Mr Lyness said he was “bound by client confidentiality as well as duties under the Data Protection Act not to divulge confidential information concerning my clients’ financial affairs”.

Worldwide hit

Mr O’Carroll plays Irish matriarch Agnes Brown in Mrs Brown’s Boys. Patrick Houlihan is one of the boys – Dermot. Fiona Delany stars as Mr Houlihan’s nurse wife Maria, and her real-life husband, Mr Delany, stars as Trevor Brown, the youngest son.

Image caption

The show’s creator, Brendan O’Carroll, stressed he had never been involved in a tax avoidance scheme or structure

The sitcom started life as a radio show on RTE 2FM in the Irish Republic and became a worldwide hit after being turned into a TV series by the BBC and RTE in 2011. There is also a successful stage show which tours the world.

A film, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, came out in 2014, and the show’s Christmas specials are among the UK’s top-viewed festive programmes.

Investment advisers

The Paradise Papers documents suggest the actors’ fees from their work connected to Mrs Brown’s Boys was sent offshore to avoid income tax and national insurance.

Source document

Image caption

The leaked documents show the trail of money being transferred to the actors via Mauritius

They show:

  • Brendan O’Carroll’s production company pays a UK-based company for the actors’ work
  • the UK company transfers the money to a trust set up in Mauritius by Appleby
  • the actors were self-employed contractors for the trust, which took a 12.5% cut of their fees, before transferring the money into three companies in Mauritius
  • the actors each had effective control over the companies
  • they took on the role of investment advisers, “recommending” their earnings be sent back to their personal bank accounts in the form of loans
  • the loans had been structured to avoid triggering rules brought in by the UK government to prevent similar schemes from operating – with the money paid into the accounts through a third party.

Documents for the 2014-15 financial year show Martin Delany’s offshore company received £448,095 and Fiona Delany’s received £448,168. No figures are available for Paddy Houlihan, as his company’s accounts for that period are not in the data.

But a spreadsheet for the next financial year shows in December 2015 Mr Houlihan’s company had assets of £696,349, Fiona Delany’s £715,122, and Martin Delany’s £725,030.

Accelerated payment notices

In official guidance issued in 2016, HMRC said it would investigate and challenge such practices.

“Scheme promoters will tell you that the payment is non-taxable because it’s a loan, and doesn’t count as income,” it said.

“In reality, you don’t pay the loan back, so it’s no different to normal income and is taxable. So if you’re using one of these schemes and being paid this way you’re highly likely to be avoiding tax.”

Image caption

Comedian Jimmy Carr’s use of a tax avoidance scheme came to light in 2012

HMRC has the power to send people using these sorts of schemes “accelerated payment notices” – which require them to repay the tax immediately, while their case is investigated.

Told of the type of scheme being used by the Mrs Brown’s Boys stars, MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said: “If it’s not outside the actual rules it’s certainly… way outside the spirit of the rules.”

She added: “A decade ago perhaps it wasn’t so much in the public domain, but now I don’t think anybody with any sense would be just taking the advice of a tax adviser without asking certain questions… That’s just common sense… these people ought to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves whether it’s really fair what they’re doing.”

In a statement on the Paradise Papers leak, Appleby said it was a law firm which “advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business. We operate in jurisdictions which are regulated to the highest international standards”.

The papers are a huge batch of leaked documents mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, along with corporate registries in 19 tax jurisdictions, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders.

The 13.4 million records were passed to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Panorama has led research for the BBC as part of a global investigation involving nearly 100 other media organisations, including the Guardian, in 67 countries. The BBC does not know the identity of the source.

Paradise Papers: Full coverage; follow reaction on Twitter using in the BBC News app, follow the tag “Paradise Papers”

Watch Panorama on the BBC iPlayer (UK viewers only)

Article source:

Paradise Papers: Queen should apologise, suggests Corbyn

Media caption‘Queen should apologise,’ suggests Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested the Queen, among others, should apologise for using overseas tax havens if they were used to avoid taxation in the UK.

The Labour leader was asked at the CBI conference whether the Queen should say sorry for making overseas investments.

He said anyone putting money into tax havens for the purposes of avoidance should “not just apologise for it, recognise what it does to our society”.

The BBC has revealed that the Queen’s estate has used overseas tax havens.

It comes after a leak from the tax haven of Bermuda revealed the secret overseas investments of the rich and famous, including the Queen.

Mr Corbyn’s spokesman later clarified his comments, saying the Labour leader did not specifically call on the Queen to apologise – but thought “anyone who puts money into a tax haven to avoid paying tax should acknowledge the damage it does to society”.

Buckingham Palace has not commented on the revelation that the Duchy of Lancaster, which handles the Queen’s private wealth, used offshore investments.

A spokesperson for the Duchy of Lancaster said: “We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds. All of our investments are fully audited and legitimate.

“The Queen voluntarily pays tax on any income she receives from the Duchy.”

Media captionThe Queen’s private estate invested £10m in offshore funds

A Downing Street spokesperson said HM Revenue and Customs had asked to see the leaked Paradise Papers.

Mr Corbyn called for a full enquiry, public lists of company ownership, and a new tax enforcement unit to tackle tax evasion.

Theresa May said efforts are already underway to raise tax haven revenues.

Mrs May’s spokesperson told reporters: “It is important to point out that holding investments offshore is not an automatic sign of wrongdoing, but HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) has requested to see the papers urgently so it can look into any allegations.”

Media captionTheresa May: ‘UK already acting’ on offshore tax havens

Earlier, at the CBI conference, the prime minister did not commit to a public inquiry into tax revenue lost through offshore tax havens.

She also did not directly answer when asked whether she would insist on British overseas territories publishing a list of who owns companies and trusts they have registered.

Plans for a publicly available register were abandoned by former Prime Minister David Cameron after overseas territories lobbied against it, according to Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable.

Mrs May said HMRC had collected £160bn by tackling tax avoidance, evasion and non-compliance since 2010.

She added the UK government was working with the overseas territories “to ensure we’re seeing greater transparency”.

“We want people to pay the tax that is due,” she said.

Image copyright

Image caption

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on a full public inquiry into the Paradise Papers

The premier of Bermuda said the investments were legal, and the UK bore ultimate responsibility for the rules.

On Sunday, BBC Panorama broadcast the first results of its year-long investigation into the Paradise Papers, a massive leak of financial documents from Bermuda-based law firm Appleby.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the proliferation of British tax havens was “a leach on our public services by the super-rich elite”.

He said Paradise Papers was “socially damaging” and a “costly scandal” that needed to be tackled directly by the UK government.

Mr Corbyn called for a full public inquiry in to the use of overseas tax havens, as well as a public list of company ownership, an idea first mooted by former business secretary Sir Vince Cable.

Sir Vince criticised the government for not clamping down on offshore tax havens trading under the British flag.

The Paradise Papers leaks have raised questions over the investments of Conservative Party donor Lord Ashcroft, Everton FC owner Farhad Moshiri, and offshore investments made on the Queen’s behalf by the Duchy of Lancaster.

Sir Vince said: “The Paradise Papers suggest that a small number of wealthy individuals have been able, entirely legally, to put their money beyond the reach of the Exchequer.”

Sunday’s edition of Panorama reported that former Conservative Party chairman Lord Ashcroft remained a non-dom, and continued to avoid tax despite attempts to make peers pay their full share.

The leaked documents show that between 2000 and 2010, Lord Ashcroft received payments of around $200m (£150m) from his offshore trust in Bermuda.

Media captionWatch Lord Ashcroft try to avoid Richard Bilton’s questions about his offshore trust.

Lord Ashcroft said he would not comment on the allegations because of the way he had been treated by BBC Panorama in the past.

Sir Vince said: “Given these revelations, including news that Conservative donors benefited from these arrangements, we need a parliamentary select committee to investigate fully who decided what and why.”

He also criticised Mr Cameron, after the government backed down from developing a company register for British overseas territories.

He said: “David Cameron was initially attracted to the idea [of a register], but when the overseas territories said on a visit to London that they were against it, he backed down.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for a full register of companies, who owns them and who the beneficiaries are, to see how much tax is being lost through offshore tax havens.

The Paradise Papers puts into question the practise of using highly secretive offshore tax havens, which is legal.

The premier of Bermuda David Burt said Bermuda has a “robust regulatory regime” and it has had the same tax system since 1898. He added the UK’s tax law allows the use of offshore tax havens.

The papers are a huge batch of leaked documents mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, along with corporate registries in 19 tax jurisdictions, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders.

The 13.4 million records were passed to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Panorama has led research for the BBC as part of a global investigation involving nearly 100 other media organisations, including the Guardian, in 67 countries. The BBC does not know the identity of the source.

Paradise Papers: Full coverage; follow reaction on Twitter using in the BBC News app, follow the tag “Paradise Papers”

Watch Panorama on the BBC iPlayer (UK viewers only)

Article source:

Tatler sorry for actress ‘fun in bed’ remark

Daisy LewisImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Lewis hit back on Twitter, saying she was upset – “but thankfully ‘loud’ enough” to respond

Tatler magazine has apologised for suggesting a former star of Downton Abbey was likely to be “fun in bed”.

A photo of Daisy Lewis, who played Sarah Bunting in the ITV show, featured in the December issue with the caption: “This actress is loud. Which makes her fun at a party. And in bed. Probably.”

The actress tweeted that she was “really shocked and upset” by the piece in its Little Black Book section.

Tatler said it would print a full apology to Lewis in its next issue.

Skip Twitter post by @daisylflewis

End of Twitter post by @daisylflewis

Responding to the caption on Friday, Lewis took to Twitter, using the hashtags #misogyny and #loudwomen and asking: “Does anyone at Tatler read the news?”

It comes after the entertainment industry has been awash with allegations of sexual misconduct.

You may also like

  • Online anger over Priyanka Chopra’s legs
  • Sarah Hyland hits back over body shaming
  • The smoking actress and a ‘sexist double standard’

Tatler’s Little Black Book section profiles eligible ‘singletons’.

The British magazine, published by Conde Nast, apologised “unreservedly”, adding that it would be also printing a full apology in the next issue.

Skip Twitter post by @TatlerUK

End of Twitter post by @TatlerUK

Tatler has previously been criticised for an article titled “Best society breasts” which included the former MP Louise Mensch, Princess Eugenie, Clare Balding and Dame Helen Mirren.

Article source:

Girl, 7, found injured in Wimbledon house dies

Blenheim Road, WimbledonImage copyright

Image caption

Police were called to Blenheim Road in Wimbledon

A seven-year-old girl who was found with serious injuries in a house has died in hospital.

Robert Peters, 55, who is known to the child, appeared before Wimbledon magistrates earlier charged with attempted murder.

Emergency services were called to Blenheim Road in Wimbledon, south-west London, on Friday morning where they found the girl

She was taken to hospital where she died on Saturday morning, police said.

Article source:

Sexual harassment claims are ‘no witch hunt’, says Harman

Harriet HarmanImage copyright

Labour MP Harriet Harman has told BBC News that the string of allegations of sexual abuse and harassment against MPs is not a witch hunt.

She said: “There are a lot of men saying this has been blown out of all proportion, it’s a witch hunt. No, it’s not a witch hunt, it’s long overdue.”

Her comments follow the suspensions of a Conservative and a Labour MP.

Meanwhile, SNP MSP Mark McDonald has quit as a Scottish government minister over “inappropriate” behaviour.

In a statement he said it had been brought to his attention that some of his “previous actions have been considered to be inappropriate”.

“I apologise unreservedly to anyone I have upset or who might have found my behaviour inappropriate,” Mr McDonald, who represents Aberdeen Donside at Holyrood, said.

Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke and Labour’s Kelvin Hopkins were suspended from their parties on Friday, while Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon resigned earlier this week.

On Saturday morning, Sir Roger Gale, Conservative MP for North Thanet, urged people “not to rush to judgement”, telling BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that he believes the scandal is turning into a “witch hunt”.

“I don’t think there’s anybody who would seek to defend rape or sexual abuse in the context there’s no proof that I can see yet of any wrongdoing. How does a member of Parliament refute that?”

On Friday, the Conservatives published a new code of conduct and are immediately adopting a new complaints procedure.

Mrs May is also meeting opposition party leaders on Monday to discuss proposals to bring forward a new grievance system for Westminster staff and MPs.

Ms Harman, the former Labour deputy leader, said that she thought Prime Minister Theresa May took “very bold action” in relation to Sir Michael’s resignation.

Sir Michael, who quit office on Wednesday saying his general conduct fell short of expected standards, has “categorically denied” allegations over his conduct.

Media captionThe scandal is turning into a “witch hunt”, says Tory MP

Ms Harman told BBC Radio 4′s Week in Westminster that Mrs May’s actions have made her “hopeful” that the parties can work together to change standards.

She said people were put off from making complaints for fear of being disloyal to their party and “helping” the other side. But now, she said, “there’s a bigger fight”.

“We’re all tribal beasts, that’s why we’re there [in parliament] and that has dampened down any ability to speak out,” she said. “I think that’s changed after this week.”

Ms Harman said that Parliament has a “sea change opportunity” to address the issue – and to help those who speak out.

She added: “If you point your finger at a powerful man, they won’t just sit there, they will fight back. So there will be some backlash about this amongst the corridors [of Westminster].”

Image copyright

Image caption

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke denies any wrongdoing

On Friday, Charlie Elphicke, a former party whip who has been the Conservative MP for Dover since 2010, was suspended by the party after “serious allegations” were referred to the police.

Denying any wrongdoing in a post on Twitter, the married 46-year-old wrote: “The party tipped off the press before telling me of my suspension. I am not aware of what the alleged claims are.”

Labour MPs Clive Lewis and Kelvin Hopkins are being investigated by the party over allegations about their behaviour.

But Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale told BBC Radio 4: “We’re in danger of getting into a situation where nobody half bright, half sensible, half decent, will want to go into the House of Commons – and that will not be good for democracy.

“We should look at the facts…by all means throw book at them, but don’t throw the book at them until the case is proven.”

Media captionI was groped and flashed at – Emily Thornberry

Rupa Huq, Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton, told BBC Breakfast that the House of Commons has “no real structure” for complaints.

She said it is “the most unusual workplace” where the rules around sexual harassment are “lax if not non-existent”.

“In this sense it needs to get into line. Other big companies have a sexual harassment policy, they have a staff handbook. All those things do not exist for MPs”, she said.

On top of that, she added, “you’ve got a whole political culture which has thrived on favours and bullying” as well as partisan “one-upmanship” where people are “incredibly loyal to their parties”.

Media captionLabour’s shadow chancellor says Parliament must ‘give women the confidence to work in safety’

Alongside the new code of conduct and complaints procedure, the Conservatives have set up a a hotline for reporting potential breaches and a more detailed investigatory process.

Labour has introduced a new complaints procedure, while the Liberal Democrats continue to review their complaints procedures.

Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, said any complaints system has to apply to all political parties, and must be “fair and objective”.

“There should be an element of independence [in the system], particularly for support as well, so people can feel confident about where they can report these things and at the same time how it can be dealt with.”

Mrs May said Parliament must do its bit as well as the individual parties – as it was not fair to expect potentially vulnerable people to “navigate different grievance procedures according to political party”.

Lord Bew, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told the Today programme that the “burning issue” at stake is the reputation of parliament.

He said it was vital that cases were not dealt with internally by the parties, but by those outside parliament who could “give some reassurance to the public that this is not just another cover-up”.

Article source:

Great British Bake Off: Paul Hollywood ‘horrified’ by Prue Leith gaffe

Paul Hollywood with Jo BrandImage copyright
Channel 4

Image caption

Hollywood was quizzed about Leith’s error by An Extra Slice host Jo Brand

Bake Off star Paul Hollywood has spoken of his horror after the winner of this year’s series was accidentally revealed by fellow judge Prue Leith.

“What can you say? I was horrified,” he said on Channel 4′s spin-off show An Extra Slice. “She’s made a mistake.”

“Unfortunately Prue can’t be with us as she’s too busy deleting her Twitter account,” joked presenter Jo Brand.

Leith revealed that Sophie Faldo had won on Tuesday morning, hours before the finale was aired.

The tweet was hastily deleted, but not before many people had noticed and circulated the gaffe.

She said she was in Bhutan and had been confused by the time difference between the UK and the South Asian country.

Image copyright
Channel 4

Image caption

Sophie Faldo (centre) was named the winner of this year’s Bake Off series

“She was in the Himalayas apparently,” said Hollywood on Thursday’s edition of Bake Off’s sister programme.

Brand made a second reference to Leith’s error by pretending the writer and restaurateur had been in touch.

“I’ve had a text from Prue and apparently the winner [of next year's show] is somebody called Malcolm,” she said.

Leith’s mistake did not stop 7.7 million watching the Bake Off final on Tuesday, earning Channel 4 its highest overnight ratings since 2012.

The series was the first to air on Channel 4 following the programme’s high-profile switch from BBC One.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Grenfell: Fireworks ‘may distress’ those scarred by disaster

Grenfell TowerImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Authorities worry open fires and fireworks could distress those affected by Grenfell

Bonfire night could reawaken symptoms of trauma in those scarred by the Grenfell tower fire, authorities warn.

Kensington and Chelsea Council has written to local schools alerting them of the emotional risk posed by the annual festivities.

It is feared seeing open fires and fireworks could distress children and families who experienced the blaze.

The borough’s set-piece display will take place yards away from where many Grenfell survivors are staying.


Displaced families are to be pre-warned about the showcase display on Saturday night at the Roof Gardens, which starts at 23.45 BST, while extra support staff are to be deployed.

Roaming teams will also be sent out as it is feared unregulated bonfires pose the greatest risk of upsetting witnesses to the June 14 tragedy which killed more than 80 people.

Emma Will, of Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: “Traumatic memories can be revived by many sensations – a sight, a smell, a noise. These can trigger a response that takes a person back to the most traumatic of times.”

Mental health workers from the NHS and nearby Hestia charity will be drafted in to provide support across North Kensington across the weekend, the council said.

Article source:

Sir Michael Fallon denies ‘lewd remarks’ allegation

Sir Michael Fallon and Andrea LeadsomImage copyright

Image caption

Reports claim Sir Michael Fallon made “lewd” remarks to Andrea Leadsom when they served on a Commons committee together.

Former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon “categorically denies” allegations that he made inappropriate sexual comments to Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom.

Reports in the Sun and the Daily Mail say Mrs Leadsom complained to Number 10 about her cabinet colleague, accusing him of making “lewd” remarks.

The claims come a day after Sir Michael resigned his post at the MoD, saying his conduct “fell short” of expected standards.

Mrs Leadsom has declined to comment.

  • Fallon resigns saying conduct ‘fell short’
  • Bercow: ‘Zero tolerance’ for harassment

The new allegations date back to between 2010 and 2012 when the two Conservative MPs were members of the Treasury Select Committee, at a time when Sir Michael was also deputy Conservative Party chairman.

According to the Sun and the Daily Mail, Mrs Leadsom remarked to Sir Michael that she had cold hands and he allegedly replied: “I know where you can put them to warm them up”.

The newspapers claim Sir Michael was forced to quit as defence secretary after Mrs Leadsom complained to Prime Minister Theresa May about the alleged incident.

A source close to Sir Michael said he “categorically denies” the newspapers’ claims.

Image copyright

Image caption

The prime minister sat beside Andrea Leadsom as she gave her speech to Parliament

Sir Michael confirmed on Tuesday that he was once rebuked by a journalist, Julia Hartley-Brewer, for putting his hand on her knee during a dinner in 2002, and he apologised at the time.

A day later, he resigned as defence secretary, telling the BBC: “The culture has changed over the years, what might have been acceptable 15, 10 years ago is clearly not acceptable now.

“Parliament now has to look at itself and the prime minister has made very clear that conduct needs to be improved and we need to protect the staff of Westminster against any particular allegations of harassment.”

He was replaced on Thursday by Chief Whip Gavin Williamson.

Ms Hartley-Brewer said that if he had gone because of her knee, it would be “the most absurd reason for anyone to have lost their job in the history of the universe”.

The BBC’s deputy political editor John Pienaar said the manner of Sir Michael’s departure and the role played by others in it was causing already “bad blood” in the party to bubble up.

Media captionSir Michael Fallon: “Not right for me to go on as defence secretary”.

He said the Conservatives and other parties were struggling to keep pace with the daily stream of allegations against MPs and were, at the moment, reacting rather than being in command of events.

Former minister George Freeman said Theresa May had been right to accept Sir Michael’s resignation and both the Conservatives and Parliament need to look at their culture to better “embody the values of our time”.

He tweeted: “We don’t need a witchhunt but we do need to show we are committed to the highest standards of conduct in the workplace.”

Labour is also facing new claims of sexual harassment and has suspended an MP whilst it carries out an investigation.

Kelvin Hopkins, who has represented Luton North for 20 years, has been accused of sexually harassing a party activist.

A spokesman said Labour “takes all such complaints extremely seriously and has robust procedures in place”.

Article source: