Day 2 of the Daily Mail’s Serialisation of White Flag?, Lord Ashcroft’s latest book on the UK’s defence capability

First published in the Daily Mail on Monday 24 September 2018.

Shot down by the PC brigade: As recruits to Britain’s shrinking armed forces are told it’s ‘okay to cry’ and have a wobbly belly, Russian troops come out of training ‘made of steel’, claims a new book

  • An explosive new book dares to ask if Britain’s Armed Forces are fit for purpose
  • Lord Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott revealed how cuts have left us exposed
  • In today’s extract, they highlight a new threat — political correctness…

Are Britain’s Armed Forces fit for purpose? An explosive new book dares to ask the question. On Saturday, in the first part of our exclusive serialisation, the authors, Lord Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott, revealed how spending cuts have left us perilously exposed in the face of renewed Russian aggression. In today’s extract, they highlight a new threat — political correctness.

Read in full …

Day 1 of the Daily Mail’s Serialisation of White Flag?, Lord Ashcroft’s latest book on the UK’s defence capability

First published in the Daily Mail on Saturday 22 September 2018.

An army cut to ribbons, a Navy struggling to stay afloat and a tank unit so weak it’s nicknamed ‘Operation Tethered Goat’. As Putin flexes his might, a new book claims the British military is at breaking point.

  • At a time of international crisis our Armed Forces didn’t have what was needed
  • Theresa May ordered airstrikes on Syria to punish the Assad regime this year
  • British submarines were loaded with cruise missiles and dispatched

Earlier this year, Theresa May ordered airstrikes on Syria to punish the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons.

Reports quickly emerged that British submarines loaded with cruise missiles had been dispatched and were on their way to the Mediterranean.

Cue images of sleek, silent vessels powering their way underwater at top speed, the Royal Navy responding with vigour as it has done since the days of Nelson and beyond.

Read in full … 

America at the midterms

With two months to go until the midterm elections, I have conducted a 6,000-sample poll of American voters to provide a snapshot of the national mood as the campaigns get fully into gear.

To start with the biggest-picture question of all, is the country heading in the right direction, or is it off on the wrong track?

Read more …

Band of Brothers

First published in The Sunday Times Magazine on 16 September 2018.

During their childhoods, they were typically adventurous and boisterous boys: they loved making model aircraft, sailing toy boats, hunting for crabs in seaside pools and swimming off remote beaches. (more…)

The courageous soldier who a century ago today became the 1,000th recipient of the Victoria Cross

First published in the Daily Express on 17 August 2018.

He was a soldiers’ soldier who represents all that I most admire about the Victoria Cross (VC), Britain and the Commonwealth’s most prestigious gallantry award for courage in the face of the enemy. (more…)

How voters will judge whether Brexit means Brexit – and the two questions Ministers should ask about any deal

Rarely can a Prime Minister have been so glad to see the back of her colleagues. As she left Westminster for a well-earned holiday last week, Theresa May knew that each one of the crucial votes she survived in a fraught parliamentary session only served to underline just how unenviable her task of shepherding any kind of Brexit deal through the House of Commons will be – if indeed a deal can be concluded that she is prepared to sign.

Read more …

Malta makes a strong case to host the EU outposts of British companies after Brexit

First published on 28 June 2018 on ConservativeHome.com.

My lifelong passion for bravery, in general, and gallantry medals, in particular, means that I have long had a soft spot for Malta. As the only country in the world to be awarded the George Cross – for its tenacious resistance to Germany and Italy during the Second World War – my admiration for the island’s once-besieged people is immense.

However, my support for Malta as a business location where UK companies might wish to set up a base after Brexit has nothing at all to do with any sentiment. (more…)

Brexit, the Border and the Union

The Irish border is at the centre of negotiations as to how we will leave the European Union. My latest research, published today, explores what people think about the issue on both sides of the border, how voters in Great Britain see the question in the context of the wider Brexit debate, and the potential implications for the union of nations in the United Kingdom. My report is called Brexit, The Border And The Union, so let’s take those themes in turn.

Read more …

Leave voters would rather lose Northern Ireland than give up the benefits of Brexit

This article was first published in the Telegraph on 19 June 2018.

It seems ironic, when we remember the sound and fury generated on both sides of the referendum campaign, that the biggest sticking point in the Brexit negotiations – the Irish border – is one that was hardly mentioned before the vote. As with so much in politics, how you see this conundrum depends on who you are and where you sit.

My latest research finds that for Nationalists in Northern Ireland, the practicality of customs checks is almost beside the point: any kind of border in an island that they see as one country is unthinkable. For them, avoiding a hard border eclipses any other potential goal of the Brexit negotiations.

Read more …

Hero of the Month by Lord Ashcroft

 

First published in Britain at War in June 2018.

Brigadier Manley Angell James VC, DSO, MBE, MC: leadership

Manley Angell James was born in Odiham, Hampshire, on 12 July 1896. He was the son of Dr John James and his wife Emily. After leaving Bristol Grammar School aged eighteen, he had intended to follow his father into the medical profession. However, after the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914, he was commissioned on 1 December as a temporary second lieutenant to the 8th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment. (more…)

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