The Government should focus on preparing for extreme risks rather than trying to predict them

The UK has a dangerous level of self-confidence in its ability to predict and mitigate the risks that we face. The coronavirus pandemic is an archetypal example of our misplaced conviction in risk assessment and identification.  We knew that a... Read more

Free speech must be protected

The case of HRH the Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Ltd has been running for almost three years and may not be over yet. At the Court of Appeal on Thursday, the Duchess won the second round of her... Read more

Hang on a minute … Jacob Rees-Mogg has the blighters on the run

Watching Jacob Rees-Mogg in full flow at Business Questions sometimes feels like tuning in for an episode of Just A Minute – but with the rules in reverse.  In this version of the fast-talking panel show, repetition and hesitation are... Read more

Europe’s omicron panic has left the Continent in a very dark place

It may be tempting fate to say it, but Britain is perhaps the best place in Europe to spend this Christmas. Bavaria’s winter markets have closed, France’s bistros won’t let anyone in without a pass sanitaire, Belgium has banned private... Read more

48 best Christmas shows to book during winter 2021 in the UK — from theatre to films, plays to pantomimes

‘Tis the season to don your gladrags, pack some popcorn (or mini chocolate santas, perhaps) and skip off to a show – whether that be a theatrical adaptation of a favourite novel, an enchanting candlelit concert or a chuckle-inducing pantomime. ... Read more

You have a right to elect a racist or misogynist, former Tory minister tells voters

Voters have a right to elect racists and misogynists as MPs – and politicians should not be forced to “promote certain attitudes” by a behavioural code in Parliament, a former Tory minister has said. Sir Desmond Swayne said he hoped... Read more

Behind the scenes of Boris and Macron’s fractured double act

Over the following months, the two leaders regularly exchanged messages over WhatsApp, sharing private jokes and infuriating officials who wanted all communication done through proper channels. “On a personal, individual level, they get on fine,” says Adam Plowright, author of... Read more

Snog whoever you wish at Christmas, says Sajid Javid

Mr Javid was forced to clarify official advice on the issue on Thursday, insisting that it was up to individuals who they embraced.  “I’ll certainly be kissing my wife under the mistletoe. It’s a Javid family tradition,” he told ITV.... Read more

British travellers will not be asked to take Covid tests before going away, says Grant Shapps

Tourists will not be asked to take Covid tests before they arrive in the UK because the Government does not want to “kill off the travel sector without knowing that you need to”, Grant Shapps has said. The Transport Secretary... Read more

Boris beating Labour is no foregone conclusion — it all depends on Keir Starmer

Two years ago today, Jeremy Corbyn launched something of a fashion bombshell: a bespoke suit with the words “For the many, not the few” stitched into it in red pinstripe. It was exactly a week before the general election, and... Read more

Mark Francois self-publishes Brexit memoir, claiming Remainer publishers turned it down

A leading Conservative Eurosceptic MP is on Friday self-publishing his memoir covering the epic struggle to deliver on the 2016 referendum claiming that Remain-biased publishers refused to touch it. Mark Francois was one of 28 Tories who refused all entreaties... Read more

Tory rebels back amendment to allow young Hong Kongers to move to UK

Nearly 30 Tory MPs are backing a rebel amendment to allow young Hong Kongers to come to Britain. The MPs, led by Damian Green, are seeking to open up the British visa scheme to those aged 18 to 25, many... Read more

Letters: The omicron response is based on a flawed understanding of risk

Log-burner lifeline SIR – Phil Mobbs (Letters, December 1) outlines many of the pitfalls surrounding the push for the country to run on electric power, as illustrated by the recent havoc wrought by Storm Arwen. One additional problem that affected... Read more

The new Covid rules set out to curb spread of the omicron variant

England was placed under tighter restrictions from Tuesday in a bid to tackle the omicron variant of Covid-19 that is causing significant concern among scientists, with increasing cases detected across the UK in recent days. Flanked by England’s Chief Medical... Read more

Joe Biden backs off US travel quarantine in favour of negative pre-departure Covid test

The US move adds to the restrictions travellers face as new border rules come into force across France, Spain and Portugal this week amid concerns over the spread of the omicron variant. From Thursday, Spain banned all non-vaccinated Britons from... Read more

BP needs a big deal to become Britain’s wind power champion

BP made its first move into the UK’s offshore wind sector in only February this year. Its joint venture with a German partner will invest less than £1bn in an option to develop 3GW of capacity in the Irish sea.... Read more

Planet Normal: We should never have been panicking over omicron — or any Covid strain

For Professor Sunetra Gupta, there’s a parallel between December 2021 and March 2020: “Uncertainty regarding this virus was overplayed, as it’s being overplayed now with this new variant.” The Oxford University epidemiologist and co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration, which... Read more

Treasury shunts Boris Johnson’s rail revolution into the sidings

Peter Wilkinson, director of rail passenger services at the Department for Transport, did not mince his words on an internal industry call in October. According to others on the call, he is alleged to have said that Great British Railways... Read more

Michel Barnier out, hard-Right backer of Eric Zemmour in for final run to lead French conservatives

The winner of Saturday’s runoff will complete the field of candidates looking to take on the incumbent centrist Mr Macron – who has yet to officially announce his re-election bid – in April 2022. Initially seen as a rank outsider,... Read more

What happens to premium bonds when you die, can they be transferred after death?

The executor will need to fill in a claims form and submit a registrar’s copy of the death certificate. NS&I will not accept a photocopy. The account holder’s will must also be included with the form, or a photocopy certified by... Read more

Is my state pension being underpaid? How to check if yours is correct

The state pension is at the core of retirees’ income but hundreds of thousands of women have not been receiving the amount they are due every week, it has emerged.  Many have been underpaid tens of thousands of pounds over... Read more

How to make your pension last 20 years – and pay less tax

Longer life expectancy, higher costs of living, and the collapse in annuity rates mean careful planning is needed to make even substantial pension pots last. A single pensioner needs on average £10,200 a year to live a “minimum level” lifestyle... Read more

Buy-to-let mortgage: is it illegal to rent a house out without one?

For every professional landlord with a thriving (and sizeable) property portfolio, there is another who fell into the sector by accident. Frequently those who are upsizing or moving in with a partner will choose not to sell their original property,... Read more

Help your children buy a home – and dodge inheritance tax in the process

The “Bank of Mum and Dad” will help half of all first-time buyers onto the property ladder this year, with parents gifting or loaning an average of £58,000.  Family members are expected to hand out a record £9.8 billion to... Read more

Help your children buy a property with this tax-efficient plan

However, some lenders will allow borrowers to make monthly payments which effectively freeze the loan size.  Ms Clapton said: “I am paying interest of £55 a month on the loan and would certainly recommend equity release, especially if you have... Read more