Lord Ashcroft makes generous gift to the British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust

The British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust is delighted to announce that Lord Michael Ashcroft KCMG, PC, has made a generous donation of £300,000 to the Trust, to support its work in preserving the built heritage of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena. (more…)

Cold Courage

First published in Air Mail magazine in January 2021.

In January 1941, Flight Lieutenant Wilson Charlton was awarded the George Cross for disposing of more than 200 unexploded bombs – at a rate of more than three every day. But he was too busy to attend his investiture for another five years. On the 80th anniversary of his award, Lord Ashcroft tells Charlton’s story — and how his own fascination with bravery germinated and grew.

In the long and illustrious history of the George Cross (GC), few men have done more to earn the prestigious award than Wilson “Bombs” Charlton. Not only did he deal with an estimated 200 unexploded bombs in just two months but, after his GC was announced, he also showed great courage as a prisoner of war. (more…)

Trump is gone but Trumpism lives on: Hopes of a new age of unity under Joe Biden are surely forlorn

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 17 January 2021.

When Joe Biden takes the oath of office this week, he will go down in history: having won more votes than any previous candidate, he will become the oldest person ever to become the country’s Commander-in-Chief. He will also, perhaps, be the first President to fulfil his mandate on the day of his inauguration.

For millions of Americans, Biden has one job – to remove Donald Trump from the White House – and he will complete this mission by lunchtime on Wednesday. Much of the country will sigh with relief as the twice-impeached Trump leaves Washington to await the Senate’s verdict on charges of high crimes and misdemeanours and its decision on whether he will be allowed to run for office again.

Biden’s problems will begin with whatever he decides to do for an encore. As I found in my research throughout the campaign, his 81 million-strong electoral support is not a monolithic bloc. Much of the Democratic base yearned for a more liberal, progressive direction and found the compromise of nominating an elderly, white, moderate, career politician quite agonising. (more…)

Lord Ashcroft steps down as ARU’s Chancellor

After nearly 20 years in role, he is succeeded by former surgeon Lord Ribeiro.

Lord Michael Ashcroft KCMG PC is stepping down after nearly 20 years as Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), with Lord Bernard Ribeiro CBE FRCS appointed as his successor.

During his time as Chancellor, Lord Ashcroft has made a significant contribution to the growing success of ARU, including donations totalling £10 million to build two state-of-the-art Lord Ashcroft International Business School facilities in Chelmsford and Cambridge.

While serving as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Veterans’ Transition from 2012-18, Lord Ashcroft played an important role in establishing ARU’s Veterans & Families Research Hub. (more…)

Lord Ashcroft talks to The Critic about his latest book, Going For Broke.

Only a year ago, Rishi Sunak was a name known only to close followers of Westminster politics. Now the Chancellor of the Exchequer is the most important figure in the government after the prime minister and the man talked about as the most likely future leader of the country, or at least the Conservative party.

But who is he? Has he risen so quickly that his views are not fully formed and how broad are his interests and his appeal? (more…)

See the December 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 December issue of the magazine has four pages on the life and career of Assistant Section Officer Noor Inayat Khan, who was awarded the George Cross (GC) for bravery during the Second World War.

Khan, known to so many simply by her codename “Madeleine”, was the first woman secret agent to be infiltrated into Nazi-occupied France. Born in Moscow and from a truly international family, she was recruited to join the secretive Special Operations Executive (SOE). (more…)

The rise and rise of Rishi Sunak laid bare in new biography

First published in the Daily Express on Saturday 14 November 2020.

IN THE summer of 2019, Rishi Sunak was a junior minister in the local government department writing on his constituency website about council tax and disabled lavatories. A year later he was Chancellor of the Exchequer – a role second only in importance to that of Prime Minister – and at the forefront of the fight to defend the British economy from the devastating effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The speed of his ascent and the magnitude of the crisis meant Sunak – dubbed “Dishy Rishi” and enjoying approval ratings Boris Johnson could only dream of – went from relative unknown to household name almost overnight. Tipped as a future Prime Minister, his rapid rise means the public knows little about the man who has become the undoubted political celebrity of 2020, yet his is an extraordinary story of a family’s rise to prominence through hard work. (more…)

“He will be remembered as the bravest man in history to never be awarded the Victoria Cross”

First published in the Telegraph Magazine on Saturday, 14 November 2020.

Fearless, wild and brilliant – Paddy Mayne, founding father of the SAS, is reputed to have destroyed more German planes during the Second World War than the RAF’s top ace.

So why was his bravery never fully recognised in his lifetime?

Ahead of a new BBC drama, military historian Lord Ashcroft examines the extraordinary life – and premature death – of the most controversial Special Forces hero in history.

On a granite plinth in Conway Square in the centre of Newtownards, Co Down, there is a near life-size bronze statue in memory of the town’s most famous son. The inscription beneath it reads: ‘Lt Col Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne 1915-1955.’

With a modesty that was typical of the man himself, there is no mention that he was a founding father of the SAS, no mention of his astonishing four Distinguished Service Order (DSO) awards from the Second World War, and no mention that Paddy Mayne was arguably the UK’s greatest-ever front-line soldier. (more…)

Lord Ashcroft’s interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio

INTERVIEW WITH TALK RADIO ABOUT GOING FOR BROKE: THE RISE OF RISHI SUNAK – 0930hrs
Three years ago, Rishi Sunak was an unknown junior minister in the Department of Local Government. By the age of thirty-nine, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, grappling with the gravest economic crisis in modern history.

In the middle of 2019, Rishi Sunak was an unknown junior minister in the local government department. Seven months later, at the age of thirty-nine, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, grappling with the gravest economic crisis in modern history.

Michael Ashcroft’s new book charts Sunak’s ascent from his parents’ Southampton pharmacy to the University of Oxford, the City of London, Silicon Valley – and the top of British politics.

BUY NOW: https://www.bitebackpublishing.com/books/going-for-broke

Rishi Sunak’s grandmother sold all her wedding jewellery for a one-way ticket to the land of Oxford and Shakespeare

Serialisation of Going For Broke: The Rise of Rishi Sunak, published in The Mail On Sunday on 08 November 2020.

If there is such a thing as a perfect childhood, all the evidence suggests that Rishi Sunak was lucky enough to have had one.

Loving parents and siblings, a stable home environment, a big house with a garden in the sort of leafy English neighbourhood where children can play in the street, and an education at one of the country’s leading public schools. (more…)

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