Mind the Gap(s): why the Brexit debacle has put both Labour and the Tories under threat from new parties

This article first appeared in the Mail on Sunday on 31 March 2019.

Ten years ago, when I was responsible for the Tories’ private polling as the party’s Deputy Chairman, we often asked voters to choose from a selection of words and pictures those which they most associated with the main parties. The Conservative selection would invariably include a picture of an aristocratic family standing outside an enormous house, and other indications that the party was for the rich and out of touch with ordinary people. Labour’s often featured a fat man lazing on a sofa, usually signifying those who lived this way rather than going to work.

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Lord Ashcroft gives his backing to the CWGC’s new “Voices of Liberation” project

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has given his backing to today’s launch of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC’s) “Voices of Liberation” project to mark the 75th anniversary of key events in the Second World War.

As part of the new project, Lord Ashcroft and others were interviewed about their thoughts and experiences on liberation in relation to 1944 and other significant Second World War events. These interviews will form part of an important archive that the CWGC will keep and maintain. (more…)

A reminder of how Britain voted in the EU referendum – and why

Following the week’s parliamentary drama, here is a reminder of how – and crucially, why – the UK voted in the EU referendum in June 2016.

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24 June 2016

The UK has voted to leave the European Union. On referendum day I surveyed 12,369 people after they had voted to help explain the result – who voted for which outcome, and what lay behind their decision.

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See the March 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 March issue of magazine has four pages on the life of Captain Richard Annand, who was affectionately known as the “wheelbarrow VC’ for his bravery during the Second World War.

Annand was born in Westoe, South Shields, Co Durham, in November 1914. His father, Wallace, was killed at Gallipoli when Richard was just seven months old and an uncle became his guardian.

He was awarded the Army’s first VC of the 1939-45 war for his gallantry defending the River Dyle in Belgium against advancing German soldiers on May 15/16 1940. (more…)

‘There’s not going to be a single Democrat that can go toe-to-to with the President’ – my interview with Trump press chief Kayleigh McEnany

If you enjoyed the last presidential election, you’ll be delighted by the thought that we’re only 20 months away from the next one. Characteristically enough, Donald Trump declared his intention to seek a second term earlier than any previous incumbent, and his campaign is already in what Americans like to call “the staffing up process.” One of the earliest senior appointments is Kayleigh McEnany, the former CNN commentator named earlier this month as the campaign’s national press secretary.

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Ashcroft in America podcast – my interview with Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany

In the latest edition of the Ashcroft in America podcast I speak to Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary on Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, about the President’s record, the prospects for 2020, his likely opponent, and communicating with sceptical voters in an age of fake news.

Listen to podcast …

See the February 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 February issue of magazine has four pages on the life and bravery of Major-General Sir Christopher Charles Teesdale, who was awarded the VC for bravery during the Crimean War.

Teesdale was born in Grahamstown in the Cape Colony of South Africa on June 1 1833 and was only two when he travelled to England with his family. In 1848, he was accepted as a gentleman cadet in the Royal Artillery and he was commissioned into the regiment in June 1851, shortly after his 18th birthday. (more…)

“It’s not the apocalypse. Calm down” – my Brexit limbo focus groups

Last week’s pause in the parliamentary shenanigans over Brexit provided an opportunity to hear what the voters made of it all. This I did with a round of focus groups, conducted in London, Plymouth, Leeds and Newcastle. Though few have the time or patience to digest every morsel of Westminster news, their summary of the state of play was always succinct: “Theresa has had to go back to Europe, but they’ve said ‘non’,” was a typical summary. “She’s just collecting air miles. She’s going round in circles;” “As a country we now look very weak and very silly to the rest of the world. It’s come to the point that it’s almost embarrassing.”

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How the UK voted on Brexit, and why – a refresher

On 23 June 2016 I conducted a survey of over 12,000 people who had just voted in the EU referendum. With the politicians still talking and the 29 March deadline looming, it is worth reading again how the country voted, and why.

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Victoria Cross hero who joined the IRA: the WW1 soldier whose awesome courage during the conflict has been forgotten by history

First published in the Mail on Sunday on 27 January 2019.

At first glance, his simple grave at Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin appears no different to those of the other 622 fallen soldiers from two world wars.

Only the inscription etched in the pale grey gravestone indicates that this is the last resting place of a highly decorated war hero: ‘Coy. Sgt. Major Martin Doyle, VC, MM, Royal Munster Fusiliers Died 20th Nov. 1940.’ (more…)

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