See the July 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 July issue of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Temporary Second Lieutenant John Scott Youll VC. Youll was born in the mining village of Thornley, County Durham. Known throughout his life as “Jack”, he left school at 15 and became an apprentice electrician at Thornley Colliery. (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 …

See the June 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 June issue of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Brigadier Manley Angell James, who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for outstanding bravery during the Great War. (more…)

‘In Ireland, we’d have a second referendum to get the right result’: Brexit and the border, as seen from the Republic

Yesterday I reported on what my focus groups in Ballymena and Belfast had to say about Brexit, the border and the Union. Today, the view from the South.

One thing that united our focus groups in the Republic of Ireland – Fine Gael voters in Dublin and Fianna Fail supporters in the north-western city of Sligo – was the conviction that by voting for Brexit the UK had made a terrible mistake which it would regret, if it didn’t already: “They misunderstood what they were doing;” “Places like the North East are wholly reliant on foreign investment. It’s like turkeys voting for Christmas;” “It was for all the wrong reasons. ‘We are Britain and we’re going to be great again, we’re not going to have the EU telling us what to do, we won the war’.”

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Brexit and the border: the view from Northern Ireland

The UK’s future relationship with the European Union increasingly hinges on a question that for many years seemed settled: the Irish border. I wanted to hear from the people on either side of it: what they hope for and fear from the Brexit settlement, and the consequences they see for relations between North and South and the future of the Union. Tomorrow I will report from the Republic, and I’ll publish further research on the issue in the run up to the European Council summit next month at which the question will supposedly be resolved. Today, though, we’ll start with my focus groups in Northern Ireland.

Read more …

The Dambusters Raid of 1943: Bouncing bombs unleashed 330million tons of water

First published in the Daily Express on 16 May 2018

LIKE so many schoolboys of my generation I was captivated when I watched The Dam Busters shortly after the film came out in 1955. There was so much to enjoy. Not least the charismatic Richard Todd playing Wing Commander Guy Gibson, the commanding officer of 617 Squadron, and the distinguished Michael Redgrave’s brilliant portrayal of Barnes Wallis, the aeronautical engineer who devised the “bouncing bomb”. (more…)

My pride at working for our military veterans over the past six years

First published on 15 May 2018 on ConservativeHome.com

I have announced today that, after nearly six years in the role, I am stepping down as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Veterans’ Transition.

It has been a privilege to serve under the last two Conservative Party leaders as I worked with all stakeholders to ensure military personnel receive the support they need when making the transition to civilian life. (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 a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Acting Lieutenant Colonel William Herbert Anderson, who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for outstanding bravery during the Great War. (more…)

My visit to the Donbass, Europe’s forgotten war

First published on 25 April 2018 on ConservativeHome.com

AS the reverberations of the Skripal affair continue, I have been to eastern Ukraine to see the effect of Russia’s territorial ambitions on states the Kremlin considers to be part of its sphere of influence.

This is Europe’s forgotten war, between Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass and the Ukrainian government, which is determined to preserve sovereignty over the region. (more…)

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