Crack shot who took out 17 Germans with his rifle – then picked up his Bren gun…

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 24 May 2020.

One of 40 British troops who held off 500 enemy, his courage saved countless lives at Dunkirk – and won the war’s first Army VC.

IT WAS Britain’s lowest point of the Second World War. Amid scenes of chaos and desperation, and under a relentless assault from bombs, mortars and gunfire, our Armed Forces, helped by civilians with boats, were tasked with rescuing well over 300,000 servicemen from a small French harbour.

They say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going and, at the height of Operation Dynamo, as the rescue mission was called, no one showed more grit, determination and courage than Captain Marcus Ervine- Andrews. (more…)

Available for Pre-Order: Unfair Game by Michael Ashcroft

UNFAIR GAME: An exposé of South Africa’s captive-bred lion industry
Michael Ashcroft
Publication date: 16 June 2020
Price: £14.99 paperback

In April 2019, Lord Ashcroft published the results of his year-long investigation into South Africa’s captive-bred lion industry. Over eleven pages of a single edition of the Mail on Sunday, he showed why this sickening trade, which involves appalling cruelty to the ‘King of the Savannah’ from birth to death, has become a stain on the country.

Unfair Game the shocking results of a new undercover operation Lord Ashcroft has carried out into South Africa’s lion business. In this powerful exposé, he highlights the increasing dangers to public health which lions and their body parts pose. Just as China’s wet markets are widely considered to have led to Covid-19, some experts predict that the rampant trade in lion bones will spark another major health crisis. (more…)

The damage that even the threat of the virus is wreaking on St Helena

St Helena AirportFirst published on Conservative Home on 12 May 2020.

These are difficult and challenging times for many people – but spare a thought for the 4,500 islanders of St Helena, situated in the middle of the South Atlantic.

“Saints”, as the islanders are known, have encountered one problem after another over the past four years – just as they hoped their new airport would result in a huge increase in tourist numbers and, in turn, bring economic prosperity.

Now islanders have suffered another major blow: coronavirus. As yet, there are thankfully no cases of Covid-19 on St Helena but the tough measures brought in to ensure that the island remains free of the virus have once again killed off tourism for the foreseeable future. (more…)

Seventeen minutes that made our SAS the most feared fighters in the world

First published in the Daily Express on 05 May 2020.

Forty years on, respected military historian LORD ASHCROFT on the thrilling special forces operation to end the Iranian Embassy siege.

It was 10pm and Britain’s first woman Prime Minister was in the middle of a group of rugged SAS soldiers in jubilant spirits, sipping chilled beers. In a packed room at the Regent’s Park Barracks in central London, a television was wheeled in so everyone could watch the late news.

“****ing sit down, Maggie. I can’t see,” said Lance Corporal John “Mac” McAleese, a rock-hard Scot prone to colourful language.

For a moment, there was an awkward hush. It was not the way Margaret Thatcher was usually addressed. But she simply did as she was told and sat down cross-legged on the floor. Her husband, Denis, was nearby. (more…)

In This Together

First published in the Daily Express on 04 May 2020.

This Friday’s VE Day anniversary plans may have changed – but we can still celebrate the values of courage, perseverance and love.
Let us learn the lessons from our past and mark this day with remembrance and reconciliation.

I was conceived shortly after VE Day. Perhaps that’s not surprising: my parents and the country had plenty to celebrate, personally and collectively.

My father Eric, a young officer serving in The South Lancashire Regiment, had survived the war despite being wounded during the D-Day Landings. My mother, Rene, who had worked as a Red Cross nurse, met my father when he was convalescing from his injuries. (more…)

The last Victoria Cross hero before VE Day who was so brave even the enemy marvelled

This article was first published in the Mail on Sunday on 03 May 2020.

LORD ASHCROFT salutes a soldier who launched a one-man charge firing a machine-gun from his hip to save comrades in a Nazi ambush.

By late April 1945, the German army was in retreat and, after nearly six long years of war, the Allies were finally poised to defeat Adolf Hitler. For many British servicemen, particularly those who had served for all or most of the Second World War, thoughts inevitably turned to surviving the last battles and returning safely to their loved ones.

Yet for one man, Guardsman Edward Charlton of the Irish Guards, his finest hour was yet to come. For just days before Hitler’s suicide and, later, Germany’s surrender, he would display such outstanding bravery that he would be awarded the final Victoria Cross (VC) of the war in Europe. (more…)

See the May issue of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The May issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Brevet Major John Knox VC, who was decorated with the Victoria Cross (VC) for great bravery during the Crimean War.

Knox, who was born in Calton, Glasgow, enlisted into the Scots Fusilier Guards in Glasgow in May 1843, aged 14, having run away from home. By the time he arrived in the Crimea in September 1954, he was serving in the rank of colour sergeant. (more…)

Our NHS needs its own army of volunteer reservists – just like the military

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 19 April 2020.

Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher was on a mission to investigate a Taliban compound near Sangin in Afghanistan in 2008 when he accidentally triggered a booby-trapped grenade.

He and his men were heading back to base under cover of darkness when he stumbled into a four-metre tripwire linked to the explosive.

Instead of running for cover, the Royal Marine threw himself on to the device, dropping down backwards and praying his backpack and body armour would absorb most of the blast – an act of supreme bravery that saved the lives of the three other members of his patrol. (more…)

Blue Grit

First published in The Sun on Thursday, 16 April 2020.

NHS workers’ priority today is to save lives — for the nation it is giving frontline staff the protection, equipment and support they need to do their jobs.

Once the crisis is under control, the Queen and Government must reflect on making a significant gesture of thanks towards the NHS.Within days of winning his fight for life, Boris Johnson described our health service as “the country’s greatest national asset”, its “beating heart” and “powered by love”.My response was to write an open letter to the Prime Minister suggesting how the nation might show its huge gratitude when the time is right.

My belief is that, for only the third time in 80 years, our monarch should bestow a collective George Cross on the NHS. (more…)

Trump stands a better chance of re-election in November than you may think


The Coronavirus has changed the world, at least for the time being. But how much has it changed politics? It would take a brave soul to make any kind of projection about the long-term effects of the times we are living through. But my latest polling in the US, collected in my new report The Home Stretch: Campaigning In The Age Of Coronavirus, suggests that the biggest political effect of the current crisis might not be to change people’s minds, but to make them feel more strongly about what they think already.

In the red corner, we have Donald Trump’s 2016 voters. They have remained loyal throughout his presidency, and I found nine in ten of them approving his performance to date, most of them doing so strongly. Almost as many say he has been at least as good a president as they anticipated, with more than half of them saying he had surpassed their expectations.

Read more …

Sign up for free email alerts
Read new posts as soon as they appear on