We should all cherish the humble hot cross bun

Dr Gavin Ashenden, a former chaplain to the Queen, can always be relied on for a trenchant opinion in matters theological, but now he has ventured into the realm of baked goods. The burgeoning on supermarket shelves of a range... Read more

It is time to reboot Britain’s nuclear programme

Among the many mistakes made by governments down the years to secure the UK’s energy supplies, the greatest has concerned nuclear power. The costs involved, and campaigning by environmentalists against the waste generated, discouraged investment at a time when oil... Read more

Rishi Sunak’s mini-Budget must return security to the economy

An age of comfort, freedom and peace, for those of us in the West at least, is coming to an end. A world many judged to be on a trajectory towards free trade, liberal democracy and human rights has been... Read more

Dynasties II, review: savage catfights worthy of Joan Collins

In the first series of Dynasties, penguins offered comedy and chimps familiarity, lions brought majesty and hunting dogs, novelty. With elephants and cheetahs to come, it was a brave but striking move to launch this second series, Dynasties II (BBC... Read more

The name’s Shelby… Tommy Shelby: have we met our new James Bond?

Cillian Murphy has recently been dragged into the “conversation” about the next James Bond. Presumably, this is because he combines the key attributes of two previous 007s – Pierce Brosnan (Irish) and Daniel Craig (blue-eyed, seems a bit grumpy).  But if... Read more

Defence budget will not rise despite Ukraine war, Rishi Sunak signals

It had previously been suggested that the defence budget may increase amid concerns about the UK’s readiness for war if the conflict in Ukraine draws in Nato countries. Privately, the prospect of Vladimir Putin pushing into other European states has... Read more

Ministerial grace-and-favour homes could be used to house Ukrainian refugees

Chequers, Chevening and other ministerial grace-and-favour homes could house Ukrainian refugees after Boris Johnson ordered officials to review their use to help the humanitarian crisis. Government sources said the Prime Minister had asked officials to “look into” whether the grace-and-favour... Read more

PM and Chancellor signal a fuel duty cut as they pledge to tackle cost of living crisis in Spring Statement

The cost of a litre is up 50p on last year at a record 165.9p per litre for petrol and 177.3p per litre for diesel. The cost of filling a tank with petrol on Britain’s motorways has also passed the... Read more

‘Both sides of the story’ of British Empire should be told, says equalities minister

Ms Badenoch said she was concerned that people who agree with Dr Tony Sewell might feel shut down by the actions of the University of Nottingham. “Ethnic minorities specifically might think, oh, it’s not really worth getting into this discussion.... Read more

Harvey Thomas, political adviser who transformed Tory campaigns and party conferences for Margaret Thatcher – obituary

Lord Thorneycroft, party chairman either side of Mrs Thatcher’s 1979 election victory, kept him on as a consultant to liven up party rallies. His first, at Wembley, starred Lulu belting out: “Hello, Maggie.” Thomas worked increasingly with Mrs Thatcher, but... Read more

Chancellor considering plans to wipe out National Insurance rise for lowest paid workers

The Resolution Foundation will on Monday urge the Chancellor also to raise working age and pensioner benefits by a further five percentage points to 8.1 per cent as the most effective way to support families worst hit by Britain’s cost... Read more

Germany calls for fresh talks over a free trade agreement between the EU and the US

Germany’s finance minister has called for a renewed push on securing a trade deal between the European Union and the United States in light of the invasion of Ukraine. Christian Lindner has said the EU should revive talks over a... Read more

French far-Left presidential candidate pledges amnesty for convicted ‘gilets jaunes’

“My government will repair everything that can be repaired for the victims of authoritarianism,” Mr Mélenchon said. “It will give amnesty to all the convicted Yellow Vests, it will guarantee and ensure the reclassification and compensation of the victims of... Read more

Demand for iodine tablets surge amid fears of nuclear war

Demand for iodine tablets has rocketed in the UK and EU as the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine stokes fears of nuclear war. UK manufacturer Oxford Health Company had a 15,000pc surge in page views for its tablets in March, compared... Read more

Inside Azov, the far-Right brigade killing Russian generals and playing a PR game in the Ukraine war

In 2018, the battalion put out a slickly produced video showing hundreds of young men in fatigues marching in formation to a torch-lit fortress in Kyiv. They swore an oath on camera to “clean” the streets of illegal alcohol, drug... Read more

My Mariupol diary: ‘The basement is all we have left – and now it’s on fire’

The trouble didn’t end there. Fire in the third stairwell. It’s -10C outside and windy. The fire quickly spread from floor to floor. There is nothing to stop it. The entire first and second stairwells are already on fire. The... Read more

Inside the secret government unit returning fire on Vladimir Putin’s ‘weaponised lies’

The cell’s crucial audiences are in Russia and Ukraine. Shortly after the start of the invasion, the unit was responsible for disseminating a video in which Boris Johnson directly addressed the people of Russia, telling them in their own language:... Read more

Putin’s gambit – decoding the Kremlin’s next move

Russia’s forces may indeed be overstretched and underpowered, but that doesn’t mean Putin is at a point where he is forced to quit. As Kotkin warns, a brief respite while optimism rises over peace talks could just give him the... Read more

War, inflation, shortages – but Sunak has space to reverse tax hike

But when it comes to borrowing next year and afterwards the picture is going to be a good deal worse. I suspect that the OBR will be forecasting borrowing next year almost £50bn higher than it suggested in October. Even... Read more

Higher energy bills to force M&S food and clothing costs higher

Marks & Spencer clothes and food is set to become more expensive as the retailer battles increased energy costs, intensified by the war in Ukraine. Chairman Archie Norman said: “We were already seeing pre-Ukraine some big increase in food prices... Read more

Rishi Sunak hints at fuel duty cut: Of course we will help with cost of living

Rishi Sunak has said the Government will “of course” ease the cost of living “where we can”, as he hinted at a cut to fuel duty in next week’s Spring Statement. The Chancellor said he recognised it was “not going... Read more

Gove attacks ‘cartel’ of big property developers

Michael Gove has opened up a new front in his war with Britain’s biggest housebuilders after describing them as a “cartel” in comments to Conservative activists.  The Housing Secretary told the Conservative Environment Network last week that he had become unpopular with... Read more

Rishi Sunak distances himself from Boris Johnson’s comparison between Ukraine war and Brexit

The comments have been condemned by Labour, some Conservatives and European diplomats, including Donald Tusk, the former president of the European Council, who said the speech was offensive. On Sunday morning Mr Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said he... Read more

Liz Truss condemns Russian abduction of Mariupol citizens ‘forcibly taken’ across the border

Mariupol, a strategic port on the Azov Sea, has seen the greatest damage of any Ukrainian city since Russia invaded last month.  Mariupol’s city council said that Russian forces on Saturday bombed an art school where about 400 residents had taken... Read more

Questor: Fever-Tree’s adaptability will enable it to overcome the inflationary challenge

These measures may, of course, fail to fully offset rampant inflation over the coming months. However, the company has a solid balance sheet, which includes net cash of £166m, through which to survive short-term challenges.  Its sound finances enabled it in the... Read more