Connect with us

Main News

‘Model pupil’ took fatal ‘ketamine’ on her SECOND day on campus

Published

on

model pupil took fatal ketamine on her second day on campus

A teenage student who was one of four young people to die in suspected drug incidents over the weekend had been a ‘model pupil’, her former school said.

Jeni Larmour was one of two 18-year-old freshers who died in Newcastle University student accommodation after they were thought to have taken ketamine.

Both women were said to have been on campus for less than 48 hours, with Miss Larmour is thought to have been found unresponsive at 6am on Saturday.

The second unnamed student was discovered at 1pm on Sunday, but it is not known if they were from the same household within the Park View student village.

Students said drugs were readily available through Snapchat and WhatsApp – and there were rumours of a rogue batch of pills being offered around the campus. 

Separately, an 18-year-old man from nearby Washington, who was not a student, and a 21-year-old Northumbria University student died after allegedly taking MDMA. 

Jeni Larmour was a former Deputy Head Girl at the Royal School in Armagh, Northern Ireland

Jeni Larmour was a former Deputy Head Girl at the Royal School in Armagh, Northern Ireland

Miss Larmour was set to study architecture and urban planning at Newcastle University

Miss Larmour was set to study architecture and urban planning at Newcastle University

Newcastle University student Miss Larmour is thought to have taken ketamine

Miss Larmour died on Saturday

Newcastle University student Miss Larmour (pictured) is thought to have taken ketamine

Suspected drug related deaths took place in Newcastle and Tyne and Wear over the weekend

Suspected drug related deaths took place in Newcastle and Tyne and Wear over the weekend

Northumbria Police arrested a total of ten people following the four deaths and carried out searches of student accommodation using drugs dogs.  

Miss Larmour had been deputy head girl at The Royal School in Armagh, Northern Ireland, with headteacher Graham Montgomery praising her as ‘a model pupil, exemplifying many of the values which this school seeks to promote’.

Did freshers’ week in lockdown play a part in the students’ deaths?

Professor Fiona Measham, chair in criminology at Liverpool University and co-founder of The Loop – a harm reduction charity which promotes health and well-being in nightlife venues – said freshers’ week in lockdown may have played a part in the deaths.

‘There’s no nightclubs, and pubs close at 10pm,’ she said. ‘Nightclubs are a semi-safe space, they have registered door staff and security, the bigger clubs often have paramedics, they have chill out spaces. If you don’t have nightclubs open, you lose that safety net.’

But Newcastle University pro-vice chancellor Professor Chris Day disagreed, saying freshers’ week had barely begun, and stressed that there are support services for new students.

‘Whatever difficulties you have gone through, we have ample support both at the university and in the city,’ he said. ‘Whatever those problems are, please do not turn to excessive alcohol or drugs to solve them because you have seen the potential consequences.’ 

Advertisement

She was an enthusiastic pupil who joined in school activities and ‘was blessed with a beautiful singing voice’, he added.

‘Jeni was a spirited and independently-minded girl with clear views which she was happy to articulate in a respectful manner, and she was possessed of a well-developed sense of justice.

‘We have no doubt that, given her academic ability and personality, Jeni had a bright future ahead of her and we are saddened that has been so suddenly cut short.

‘We extend to her many friends, her family, brother, and parents our sincerest sympathy at this tragic time and assure them of our prayers and practical support.’  

Miss Larmour, from Newtownhamilton, County Armagh, a member of her former school’s chamber choir and combined cadet force, had been due to start an architecture and urban planning degree.

Sandra Foster Larmour issued a brief tribute to her daughter on social media which read only: ‘My beautiful princess, my best friend.’ 

The other three individuals have not yet been identified. Newcastle University said it did not write to students until after the second incident.

Vice Chancellor professor Chris Day said: ‘I have written twice to every single student in the last 24 hours.

‘Once yesterday afternoon … to make sure we hit students with a particularly hard message. I have written to them again this morning when we had a bit more detail.’

Mr Day added that the two young women had only recently arrived at the university, saying: ‘They have only been here 24 hours, 48 hours, so this was not about lack of support, this was about a very, very tragic set of circumstances.’

Students at the university said they believed the North East’s coronavirus lockdown may have contributed to the deaths. 

A police specialist search team arrives at the student accommodation on the Richardson Road area of Newcastle yesterday afternoon after two 18-year-old woman were pronounced dead

A police specialist search team arrives at the student accommodation on the Richardson Road area of Newcastle yesterday afternoon after two 18-year-old woman were pronounced dead

Miss Larmour's mother Sandra wrote on Facebook: 'My beautiful princess, my best friend'

Miss Larmour’s mother Sandra wrote on Facebook: ‘My beautiful princess, my best friend’

Police at student accommodation on the Richardson Road area of Newcastle yesterday morning, two days after paramedics rushed to the halls on Saturday morning

Police at student accommodation on the Richardson Road area of Newcastle yesterday morning, two days after paramedics rushed to the halls on Saturday morning

One said: ‘People want the freshers experience but they can’t have it because everything is shutting down at 10pm.

How four young people died in ‘drugs-related deaths’ over the weekend in Newcastle 

Saturday, 6.05am: Police received reports of an unresponsive woman at an address on Richardson Road in Newcastle. Jeni Larmour, 18, who was a student at Newcastle University, is believed to have taken a quantity of ketamine and was pronounced dead at the scene. An 18-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of supplying a Class B drug and has since been released on police bail.

Saturday, 3.50pm: Police are called to a report of a cardiac arrest at a property on Coach Road Estate in Washington, where an 18-year-old had allegedly taken a quantity of MDMA and fallen ill. Officers and emergency services attended but the man, who is not a university student, was pronounced dead a short time after. Seven people were arrested in connection with this incident and have been released under investigation.

Sunday, 8.13am: Police were alerted to a report that a 21-year-old student from Northumbria University had taken ill at an address on Melbourne Street, Newcastle. It is suspected he had taken a quantity of MDMA. He was transported to hospital, but died a short time later. A 20-year-old male arrested on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs has since been released on police bail.

Sunday, 1.10pm: Police received a further call to the same building on Richardson Road, where the first woman was found. Another 18-year-old student had died, and it is believed ketamine had been present at the address. An 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug and has been bailed.

Advertisement

‘Even the local shop closes at 10pm so you can’t get alcohol. People might be trying drugs who wouldn’t do otherwise because there’s nothing to do except go back to your flat at the halls.’

An 18-year-old girl from a neighbouring block said: ‘The word around the student village is that a bad batch of pills has been offered around and some people have got hold of them. Lockdown hasn’t helped the situation.

‘The pubs close at 10pm and people have been going back to their flat in halls to continue the party, which is what I heard happened here.

‘At least one of the others who died are also students. We’re not having what would be a normal freshers’ experience and some people are compensating for that.

‘It’s so sad and I feel really bad for her parents. I haven’t sought out or been offered drugs but I know they’d be easy to come by, I’ve heard people are buying them through Snapchat and WhatsApp.

‘This is everything you are warned about, you don’t know who you’re buying from or what you’re buying.’

Professor Fiona Measham, chair in criminology at Liverpool University and co-founder of The Loop – a harm reduction charity which promotes health and well-being in nightlife venues – said freshers’ week in lockdown may have played a part in the deaths.

‘There’s no nightclubs, and pubs close at 10pm,’ she said.

‘Nightclubs are a semi-safe space, they have registered door staff and security, the bigger clubs often have paramedics, they have chill out spaces.

‘If you don’t have nightclubs open, you lose that safety net.’

But Mr Day disagreed, saying freshers’ week had barely begun, and stressed that there are support services for new students.

‘Whatever difficulties you have gone through, we have ample support both at the university and in the city,’ he said.

‘Whatever those problems are, please do not turn to excessive alcohol or drugs to solve them because you have seen the potential consequences.’

Chief Inspector Steve Wykes said: ‘Illegal drugs are never safe and the danger that they pose cannot be under-estimated.

‘Although our investigations are at an early stage and we continue to establish the circumstances around these tragedies, we want to reiterate our warning to people against taking drugs for recreational use.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Main News

We show you how to make sense of the mortgage mayhem

Published

on

By

we show you how to make sense of the mortgage mayhem

Borrowers are facing mortgage mayhem as banks axe deals and hike rates. Major delays also mean homebuyers are at risk of missing out on generous stamp duty savings. 

But don’t despair — here Money Mail explains everything you need to know to navigate the chaos… 

WHY IS THE MARKET BOOMING NOW?

A stampede of home movers looking to cash in on the stamp duty holiday is wreaking havoc on the housing market. 

Confused?: Borrowers are facing mortgage mayhem as banks axe deals and hike rates

Confused?: Borrowers are facing mortgage mayhem as banks axe deals and hike rates

Many are desperate for more space after months of lockdown, and keen to make the most of the tax saving worth up to £15,000. 

Demand from buyers was already soaring before the property market was temporarily frozen in March and rocketed again when it reopened in late May. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement in July of no stamp duty on the first £500,000 of purchases completed before March 31, 2021, then threw fuel on the fire. 

Last week, official figures revealed house prices had surged in every region in August. But experts warn the rally cannot last now the Government is scaling back financial support for households and businesses. 

IS THERE REALLY A HOME LOAN DROUGHT? 

August was the busiest month for lenders in 13 years, with firms approving more than 80,000 mortgage applications, according to the Bank of England. In a desperate bid to curb demand, overwhelmed lenders are hiking rates and withdrawing deals so often that brokers can’t keep up. 

The number of mortgages available has halved since the start of the year, according to analysts Defaqto. 

The clampdown has particularly hurt those with the smallest deposits, as lenders know that if house prices fall they are at most risk of ending up in negative equity (where they owe more than their house is worth). But even those with down payments of 15 or 20 per cent have far less choice than before the pandemic. Many banks have introduced tougher lending rules so that only the most financially secure can get a mortgage. 

It means self-employed borrowers, those returning from furlough leave or workers who rely on bonus or overtime income are finding it tougher to get a loan. 

Last week the Bank of England warned that all borrowers could soon find it harder to get a mortgage as lenders prepare to raise rates and tighten lending criteria. 

WHAT IF I HAVE A SMALL DEPOSIT?

The pandemic sent mortgage lenders offering deals to borrowers with a deposit of 10 per cent or less running for the hills. 

Lockdown restrictions stopped surveyors from being able to enter borrowers’ homes and banks were unwilling to offer more risky mortgages without a valuation. 

But even when the housing market reopened, not all banks resumed lending to families with small deposits amid fears that rising unemployment could spark a house-price crash. 

One of the few remaining lenders accepting applications from borrowers with a 10 per cent  deposit, HSBC, was forced to withdraw from the market last month — but said the move was temporary. 

TSB, Coventry Building Society and Accord, part of Yorkshire Building Society, run mortgage fire sales where 90 per cent deals are made available for one or two days only. 

Currently, only one deal is widely available to these borrowers, compared with 16 in April, according to Defaqto. This is a five-year fixed rate at 3.99 per cent with Metro Bank. 

Nationwide is offering a two-year fixed rate of 3.49 per cent, or 3.54 per cent for five years for first-time buyers. But they must prove at least 75 per cent of the deposit has come from their own savings, ruling out deposits gifted entirely by parents. 

Regional building societies, including Darlington, Cumberland, Stafford Railway and Buckinghamshire are offering families with local postcodes a 90 per cent mortgage. 

IF I MISS THE CUT-OFF I’LL LOSE MY DREAM FLAT 

Amy Williams is rushing to buy her first home and save £4,000 before the stamp duty holiday ends in March. She says she will not be able to afford the deal if it is not completed in time. 

Amy, 28, had an offer accepted on a one-bedroom flat in Camberwell, South London, in July, but is still waiting to exchange contracts. She hopes to wrap things up by the end of November. 

Struggle: Amy Williams is rushing to buy her first home and save £4,000 before the stamp duty holiday ends

Struggle: Amy Williams is rushing to buy her first home and save £4,000 before the stamp duty holiday ends

Amy adds: ‘I had an offer accepted on the flat at the time the stamp duty holiday was announced. The timing couldn’t have been better. 

‘The process has taken much longer than I’d expected but I’m on the precipice of exchanging. We’re waiting on one final piece of legal paperwork and I’m optimistic I’ll get the keys in the coming weeks. 

‘But if anything goes awry with the sale now, and if the vendor were to withdraw, I’d be very nervous about being able to find a new property and complete in time to beat the stamp duty deadline.’

And Tipton & Coseley has joined Barclays by offering 100 per cent deals to borrowers whose parents agree to deposit savings or have a mortgage-like charge placed on their own properties. Borrowers with specific professions are also being offered 90 per cent deals. 

Teachers Building Society will accept applications from teachers with a 10 per cent deposit, while Reliance Bank will support key workers such as NHS staff, police and postal workers. 

TSB is offering first-time buyers with a 15 per cent deposit a more flexible affordability assessment to increase their chances of being approved for the loan. The bank’s five-year fixed rate is 2.99 per cent.

WHERE ARE THE BEST RATES?

Rates have risen for all but those with the biggest deposits since the beginning of March. 

Borrowers with a 10 per cent deposit are now facing the highest rates since 2015. 

Average two-year fixed rates have risen from 2.57 per cent to 3.76 per cent since the beginning of March, according to Moneyfacts. This means a £150,000 mortgage would cost £2,256 more in interest over two years, excluding fees, than it did at the start of the summer. But for families with a deposit of between 25pc and 35pc, average two-year fixed rates have fallen. 

And for those with a 40 per cent deposit, rates remain relatively unchanged at around 1.8 per cent. 

Monmouthshire Building Society offers the best two-year fixed rate for borrowers with a 25 per cent deposit, at 1.6 per cent, compared with a best buy of 1.19pc six months ago. 

Those who are lucky enough to have a 40 per cent deposit can access Halifax’s top two-year fixed rate of 1.28 per cent and HSBC’s five-year fixed rate at 1.44 per cent.

I COULDN’T GET A LOAN WITH A 10% DEPOSIT 

Wait: Laura Sears has still not received her mortgage offer

Wait: Laura Sears has still not received her mortgage offer

Laura Sears was hoping to complete on a two-bedroom shared ownership flat last week. But she has still not received her mortgage offer after applying for a five-year fixed deal from Barclays weeks ago. 

Laura, 30, who lives in East ­London, says she has been hit by a plethora of hurdles in her quest to get on the property ladder. 

She wanted a two-bedroom flat with a balcony and decent-sized kitchen not too far from her work for around £300,000 using a 10 per cent deposit. 

But lenders began withdrawing 95 per cent and 90 per cent deals leaving her unable to buy the property in Hornchurch. 

Her only option was to use the Government’s Shared Ownership scheme. She applied for a 25 per cent share of a £330,000 two-bedroom flat in Colindale, North-West ­London, and says: ‘I am chasing my mortgage broker for updates every two days — but he says there is a massive backlog.

‘I knew things were going to take a while and I was reluctant to tell people I was buying a flat in case I was tempting fate. Luckily the vendor says he is in no rush. Still, I hope to be in by Christmas.’

COULD DELAYS MEAN I’M LIKELY TO MISS OUT?

Experts say delays are so bad up and down the property chain that movers need to apply for a mortgage no later than November to be in with any chance of beating the stamp duty holiday deadline in March. 

It takes an average of 160 days to go from agreeing a sale to moving in — up from 95 days last year, according to property data analysts TwentyCi. And as the stamp duty deadline draws closer, experts fear delays could spiral further. 

As many staff have been furloughed or are working from home, banks and building societies are now taking weeks rather than days to review mortgage applications. Surveyors and solicitors are also warning of long delays as they struggle to keep up with the buying frenzy. Some legal firms have already stopped taking on new cases. And as solicitors struggle to cope with a 50 per cent rise in transactions, more than 300,000 sales are tipped to miss the deadline. Colin Bradshaw, from TwentyCi, says: ‘Solicitors are trying to deal with nine months’ business in six months.’

WHAT IF I NEED TO REMORTGAGE?

If your current mortgage deal is due to expire in the next two months, start the remortgage process now. Lenders are predicting more than £30billion of deals will be up for renewal at the end of the year, putting even more strain on lenders’ resources. 

A standard remortgage takes six weeks to complete, but brokers are warning it could take a further four weeks because of the bottleneck. To avoid falling on to your bank’s costly standard variable rate, which you pay once your mortgage deal ends, brokers are urging those with loans nearing renewal not to delay. 

The good news is that remortgage borrowers may find their new rate is largely the same as their old one, or it may even have gone down. According to Moneyfacts, the average two-year fixed rate now is 2.44 per cent. 

Compared to average two-year fixes in October 2018, you would be paying 0.05 per cent less. If your five-year fix is about to end, and you want to choose another five-year deal, you are likely to be paying even less. 

34920704 8886013 image m 23 1603831706353

The average five-year fixed rate in October 2015 was 3.31 per cent compared with 2.69 per cent now. 

Lloyds Bank is currently offering the lowest two and five-year fixed rates. At 60 per cent loan to value, they are 1.09 per cent and 1.33 per cent respectively. At 85 per cent, the two-year fixed rate is 1.80 per cent and the five-year is 2.17 per cent. All deals come with a £1,499 fee. 

If your circumstances have changed since the start of the pandemic, such as a reduction in your salary or you were placed on furlough leave, another lender may be reluctant to take you on as a new customer. Don’t panic. Your own bank is likely to offer you a new deal and some lenders give their existing borrowers better rates than new customers.

SHOULD I WAIT TO FIX MY RATE?

The Bank of England base rate is already at a record low of 0.1 per cent, but there are whispers it could be cut to zero or below to stimulate spending and lending. But that doesn’t mean mortgage rates will follow — and it’s highly unlikely you would ever be paid for having a loan. 

However, if the mortgage market starts to cool early next year, as expected, rates could begin to fall. 

Rachel Dixon, mortgage adviser at RH Dixon, said: ‘It has been a crazy few months. As we see demand subside over the coming months, rates will return to more normal levels.’ So it may pay to hold off locking into a fixed-rate deal. 

If you opt for a variable-rate deal in the meantime, these tend to have lower or no early repayment charges if you want to switch later. 

The cheapest 85 per cent two-year variable rate with no exit penalties is with West Brom BS at 2.34 per cent, compared to Lloyds Bank’s fixed rate at 1.8 per cent. 

Both are for remortgage only. 

Mortgage rates are still ultra-cheap compared to a decade ago when a typical borrower with a 10 per cent deposit might have paid 6pc as opposed to 3.99 per cent today. So if you can afford the repayments, you may prefer the peace of mind a fixed deal can offer.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Main News

ANDREW PIERCE: How darkly ironic that free school meals were a TORY idea… shot down by the Left

Published

on

By

andrew pierce how darkly ironic that free school meals were a tory idea shot down by the left

Who dismissed a ground-breaking report on a new initiative to extend free school meals to Britain’s neediest children, saying it was greeted with ‘at best eye-rolling and at worst exasperation’?

Some hard-hearted member of the Tory Party for whom those living in poverty have only themselves to blame?

A diehard critic of the welfare state entirely lacking in compassion?

On the contrary, those words were written by a respected critic on the Left-leaning paper, The Observer. Possibly he was unable to stomach the fact that the author of the report, Henry Dimbleby, happened to be a privileged Old Etonian, Leave campaigner and close friend of senior Tory politicians.

Potentially, it blinded him and other paid-up members of the liberal commentariat to the content.

Henry Dimbleby (above) - a privileged Old Etonian, Leave campaigner and close friend of senior Tory politicians - wrote a ground-breaking report on a new initiative to extend free school meals to Britain's neediest children

Henry Dimbleby (above) – a privileged Old Etonian, Leave campaigner and close friend of senior Tory politicians – wrote a ground-breaking report on a new initiative to extend free school meals to Britain’s neediest children

34921910 8886163 image m 73 1603837706313

Thankfully, someone who had first-hand experience of childhood hunger took Dimbleby’s report seriously. Step forward football star turned food poverty campaigner, Marcus Rashford (pictured)

Take this other barb, for instance: ‘When you get someone from a rich, privately- educated background to comment on issues they’ve never experienced, then the outcome will always be the same. The UK’s poorest people no longer need blunt, crude and top-down measures to alleviate their suffering. They need a system change to banish the scourge of poverty for good.’

That was the view of the Left-wing website The Canary.

Thankfully, someone who had first-hand experience of childhood hunger did take Dimbleby’s report seriously.

   

More from Andrew Pierce for the Daily Mail…

Step forward football star turned food poverty campaigner, Marcus Rashford.

Rashford is once again making headlines, with the Government on the back foot over the emotive issue of free meals during the school holidays.

The 22-year-old Manchester United player has succeeded in making Boris Johnson and his party appear utterly indifferent to the plight of needy children this Christmas.

It is a row that is inflicting huge political damage on the Tories nationally — shades again of the ‘nasty’ party — and causing rebellion among backbenchers. And yet it could so easily have been avoided. Indeed, it could have been a positive for ministers if only they had had the wits to exploit an opportunity.

For the free school meals initiative really was Tory made and minted.

What Rashford has been calling for is simply the implementation of the main recommendations of the Government’s National Food Strategy report, commissioned in 2018 by then Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, one Michael Gove. It was published in July.

Gove asked his close friend Dimbleby, the co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, to write the report.

It was a considered choice, since Dimbleby had co-authored the 2013 government-backed School Food Plan, which led to the implementation of free school lunches for all children in reception and Years 1 and 2, and added practical cooking and nutrition to the National Curriculum.

After consulting with industry experts, academics and various government departments, Dimbleby came up with a succinct recommendation for this new report: the Government’s Free School Meal scheme should be extended to every child in a household where their parent or guardian is in receipt of state benefits during term time and in the holidays (by expanding the holiday clubs scheme).

The 22-year-old Manchester United player has succeeded in making Boris Johnson and his party appear utterly indifferent to the plight of needy children this Christmas. (Above, the PM in a cafeteria at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading yesterday)

The 22-year-old Manchester United player has succeeded in making Boris Johnson and his party appear utterly indifferent to the plight of needy children this Christmas. (Above, the PM in a cafeteria at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading yesterday)

Sound familiar? Currently, the meals are only available to the poorest children living in households with an income of less than £7,400-a-year. His recommendations would mean that 1.5 million more seven- to 16-year-olds could receive free school meals (taking the total to 2.6 million).

Rashford read Dimbleby’s report and re-tweeted the recommendations to his 3.7 million followers — and so a campaign to provide free meals during the summer was born.

He even contacted Dimbleby to praise him for his work and to seek advice on how to exploit the support he had ignited. The result was a government U-turn, an agreement to extend free school meals into the summer holidays and an MBE for Rashford.

Ever since, ministers have been on the defensive— attacked from all sides for appearing not to care about struggling families whose incomes have been hit by the new tiered Covid restrictions.

Last week, Labour was defeated by the Government in a vote to extend the provision of schools meals in the Christmas holidays.

So why on earth did the PM, Gove and co overlook its own recommendations and allow Rashford to seize the momentum — and, deservedly so, the glory — and to enable the Labour Party to champion the footballer as one of their own.

How ironic that those same critics of the Dimbleby report are hailing Rashford and his school meals policy that is rooted in the former’s recommendations.

Henry Dimbleby could hardly conceal his irritation on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday: ‘I haven’t been backward in coming forward with ideas that I have been feeding into the Treasury, to [the Department for] Education and to No 10, ideas of how they could rapidly implement this by Christmas,’ he said. ‘But . . . the dark centre of government is invisible to me and I have no idea exactly what they’re working on as we speak.’

What Rashford has been calling for is simply the implementation of the main recommendations of the Government's National Food Strategy report, commissioned in 2018 by then Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, one Michael Gove. It was published in July. Gove asked his close friend Dimbleby, the co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, to write the report

What Rashford has been calling for is simply the implementation of the main recommendations of the Government’s National Food Strategy report, commissioned in 2018 by then Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, one Michael Gove. It was published in July. Gove asked his close friend Dimbleby, the co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, to write the report

In a withering denunciation of the official government line that needy children can be best helped through Universal Credit alone, he added: ‘This problem [of hunger] is real. It should go without saying that it’s serious. It’s immediate and it’s going to get worse.’

Later, he tweeted, ‘I’ve written a short note explaining why I recommended the three policies that are the focus of Marcus Rashford’s campaign’ and linked a seven-page precis of his National Food Strategy report. The row is the gift that keeps on giving for Labour, with its MPs reporting real ‘cut-through’ with voters in their constituencies.

And it seems that Labour leader Keir Starmer is preparing to embarrass the Government again by forcing a second Commons vote on whether to extend free school meals in the holiday period. While only six Tory MPs voted with Labour last time, the figure is likely to be far higher this time around.

More than 100 Tory MPs have complained that the issue has triggered a series of often unpleasant and violent threats from irate constituents. Many of them are privately seething with Downing Street after they were ordered to vote against the last motion.

At a time when Boris Johnson is at risk of his biggest internal threat — the newly created Northern Research Group of ‘Red Wall’ MPs who are rallying against the economic impact of the imposition of Tier Two and Tier Three restrictions — this fiasco could easily have been avoided if only someone at No 10 had realised what was in the report they had commissioned.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. This is an administration bereft of leadership in many areas, where incompetence is the order of the day and infighting preferable to action.

Cabinet ministers are taking chunks out of each other in an unseemly blame game over how Rashford ‘outsmarted’ them.

On the backbenches the atmosphere is dire, with Tory MPs lashing out. Mansfield MP Ben Bradley did his party few favours by suggesting some of the vouchers for free school meals would end up paying for crack dens and brothels but failed to produce any evidence to back up his claims.

Other Tory MPs argue that with public debt now at £2 trillion and counting, another £150 million for free school meals is surely not too big an ask.

As one senior figure told me: ‘If the Treasury can find £522 million for the Eat Out To Help Out scheme to support restaurants, why can’t it find the £150 million to feed kids to help out?’

Why indeed.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Main News

Woolworths reopening posts from fake Twitter account says Very Group

Published

on

By

woolworths reopening posts from fake twitter account says very group

Very Group today denied claims Woolworths will return to the UK high street after a hoax Twitter account said three shops will open next year.  

A Twitter account claiming to be from the retailer said the trial stores were set to open in late 2021 – prompting excitement on social media. 

However, Very Group – which now owns the Woolworths name – told MailOnline it had not heard of any plans to open stores, scotching the rumours to the dismay of Woolies fans. 

A spokesman said: ‘We own the Woolworths trademark in the UK. The Twitter account UKWoolworths is not connected to The Very Group.’ 

The chain, famous for its pick 'n' mix sweets and homewear range, went into administration in 2008 and closed all its branches in January the following year

The chain, famous for its pick ‘n’ mix sweets and homewear range, went into administration in 2008 and closed all its branches in January the following year

In 2018, Tony Page, a former Woolies director, tried to revive the brand by purchasing the name – even selling his family home to boost funds – but his bid of £10million was beaten by Very. 

Woolworths opened its first UK store in Liverpool in 1909 and became a much-loved fixture in high streets across Britain. 

The chain, famous for its pick ‘n’ mix sweets and homewear range, went into administration in 2008 and closed all its branches in January the following year.   

In the 1980s Woolies focused on entertainment, confectionery and children’s toys and clothing and – at one stage – was Britain’s largest pop music retailer.

Woolworths UK subsidiary was bought in 1982 by Paternoster, the group that is now known as Kingfisher. 

It demerged Woolworths Group in 2001, floating it on the London Stock Exchange.

The company’s financial problems were exacerbated by the credit crunch, which forced shoppers to rein in their spending. 

A Twitter account claiming to be from the retailer said three trial stores were set to open in late 2021. However, Very Group - which now owns the Woolworths name - told MailOnline it had not heard of any plans to open stores, scotching the short-lived rumours

A Twitter account claiming to be from the retailer said three trial stores were set to open in late 2021. However, Very Group – which now owns the Woolworths name – told MailOnline it had not heard of any plans to open stores, scotching the short-lived rumours

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 DiazHub.