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Christmas Trees are coming! Be Prepared this December

Types of Christmas Trees

There are various types of Christmas trees available, and you must choose the one that is perfect for your home during the holiday season. There are various types, as you will see below:

Nordman Fir

The Norman Fir Christmas Tree barely drops its needles, making it the most popular choice in Modern times, due to the safety issues related to children and pets, and the sharp Christmas tree needles. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, and their needles are a lot fleshier.

Norway Spruce

The Norway Spruce Christmas tree, brings the classic smell of childhood to your home. Its needles do drop a lot more than other varieties, but it more than makes up for that with its beautiful smell, and really traditional tall and narrow shape.

Potted Christmas Trees

The Potted Christmas tree is a great choice if you would prefer your tree to last longer than just a few weeks, as potted trees are more likely to live on through the year, and be fine to use again a year later. The come in both varieties, the Nordman or Norway Spruce, and are often a little cheaper.

Where to buy a Christmas Tree

You can normally buy Christmas trees at your local garden centre, or check online for your nearest Christmas tree farm. Sapcote Garden Centre, Leicester, LE94LG, 01455 274049, (http://www.sapcotegc.co.uk/christmas/christmas-trees) has a range of Nordman Fir, and Norway Spruce Christmas trees for sale, and the price is the same as 2012.

Fertility calculator which warns against leaving motherhood too late 

  • Advice comes from analysing fertility data on more than 58,000 women
  • New guidance tells a woman the best age to start a family
  • And makes it clear that IVF is not a guarantee for those who wait
  • Experts: ‘The blunt reality is you can’t wait… this tool proves that’ 

By

Fiona Macrae Science Editor For The Daily Mail


Published:
12:48 EST, 29 July 2015

|
Updated:
09:09 EST, 30 July 2015

Ticking: Women who want to have a big family should start trying for a baby by 23, experts warn

Ticking: Women who want to have a big family should start trying for a baby by 23, experts warn

Women who want to have a big family should start trying for a baby by 23, experts have warned.

Even those who only want one child shouldn’t wait past the age of 32, if they really want to become a mother.

The advice comes from scientists who crunched together fertility data on more than 58,000 women to create an at-a-glance calculator.

It tells a woman the best age to start a family – and makes it clear that IVF is not a guarantee for those who wait.

British experts said that the table is so useful that it should be shown to sixth formers and university students to underline the risks of delaying motherhood.

Professor Allan Pacey, a Sheffield University fertility expert, said: ‘We haven’ t got a time machine we can put people in….that’s just a blunt reality.

‘Everyone thinks you can wait – this shows you can’t.’

The advice comes as growing numbers of British women delay motherhood until they establish their career, become financially stable or find ‘Mr Right’.

Around half of all babies are now born to women aged 30 and older, and the number of children born to women aged 40-plus has trebled in the last 20 years

To use the fertility calculator, a woman decides how many children she wants and whether she is going to try to conceive naturally or with IVF.

The table then tells her at what age she would need start trying for a family to have a 90 per cent, 75 per cent or 50 per cent chance of success.

For instance, a woman who starts trying at 23, will have a 90 per cent chance of having three children, if that’s what she wants.

If she waits until she is 31, her odds of becoming a mother-of-three fall to 75 per cent.

And if she holds on until 35, they drop to just 50 per cent, this week’s New Scientist reports.

WHEN TO GET STARTED: THE FERTILITY CALCULATOR

 CHANCE OF SUCCESS

Natural conception 

90% 

75% 

50% 

 With IVF 

90% 

75% 

50% 

 1-child family

 

 

Age 32 

 37

41 

 

35 

 39

42 

 2-child family

 

 

27

 34

38 

 

 31

35

39 

 3-child family

 

 

23

 31 

35

 

 28

 33

36 

 Source: New Scientist

Professor Pacey said that while 23 may seem young, the figure is sensible.

He said: ‘You’ve got to factor in that people don’t necessarily have children in quick succession.

‘What it is saying is that if you’re relaxed about having three children, you can wait until you are 35, but you’ve got to start early to be certain.’

A woman who wants two children should start by 27, to have the best chance of success, while 32 is advised for those who would be happy with just one baby.

Importantly, IVF offers little guarantee.

Factoring in information women who have had test-tube babies shows that IVF generally only gives a woman an extra year or two.

There are other surprises. For example, pregnancy remains an option for women in their early 40s – albeit with odds of 50 per cent.

‘Everyone thinks you can wait – this calculator shows you can’t,' said leading fertility expert Professor Allan Pacey (file picture)

‘Everyone thinks you can wait – this calculator shows you can’t,’ said leading fertility expert Professor Allan Pacey (file picture)

The figures are averages and so won’t apply exactly to every woman but doctors say they could still be very helpful.

David Keefe, of New York University, said: ‘It makes explicit certain statistics that don’t sink in for many people.’

One of the calculator’s creators, Dik Habbema, of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, said: ‘We have tried to fill a missing link in the decision-making process.

‘My son is 35 and many of his friends have a problem deciding when to have children because there are so many other things they want to do.’

Professor Pacey said: ‘The table ought to be photocopied and put on the clinic wall.

‘We should be aiming this at sixth formers and university students, so that they’re aware of how to plan their life.’

Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, said that family planning should not be just about avoiding pregnancy, it must also tell women about the risks of delaying motherhood.

Society must also do its bit.

Professor Balen told New Scientist: ‘Couples need support so they can start their families early.

‘Women who have children in their 20s are more likely to achieve their desired family size but can also expect lower lifetime earnings than women who start later.

‘We need to ensure women aren’t disadvantaged at work and sort the lack of childcare facilities so we can enable young people to establish their careers and families at the same time.’

Earlier this summer, the broadcaster and IVF broadcaster Robert Winston was criticised for saying good to delay motherhood. Lord Winston said older mothers, who have had time to gain skills and education, as well as build strong relationships, can provide children with a more stable upbringing.

But others warned that age-related declines in fertility mean older women could remain childless.

And pointed out that those who do become pregnant have a higher risk of miscarrying or having a baby with Down’s syndrome. 

Xmas Holidays

Amazon signs deal with Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond for new show

  • Former BBC Top Gear presenters sign three-season deal with Amazon
  • Top Gear’s former executive producer Andy Wilman will be involved
  • Official title is unconfirmed but Amazon used hashtag #Drive2Prime
  • Announcement ends months of speculation about presenters’ future

By

Mark Duell for MailOnline


Published:
04:57 EST, 30 July 2015

|
Updated:
09:06 EST, 30 July 2015

Top Gear viewers today expressed their anger at how they will have to pay £79 a year to watch Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May’s new show on Amazon’s streaming service.

The ex-BBC hosts announced a deal with the online giant this morning to present three seasons of the as-yet untitled programme, with work on the first series expected to begin this autumn.

The hotly-anticipated show will be available to Amazon Prime customers worldwide, but Top Gear fans took to Twitter to voice their fury at how the show will no longer be on terrestrial television.

Scroll down for video 

Signed for Amazon: Former BBC Top Gear presenters James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond

Signed for Amazon: Former BBC Top Gear presenters James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond

Hosts on tour: Hammond, Clarkson and May at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia, last Saturday

Hosts on tour: Hammond, Clarkson and May at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia, last Saturday

One of the many unimpressed fans of the show was Becky Twynham, who tweeted: ‘So you now have to pay to watch Jeremy Clarkson and crew. Nah, I’ll stick to reruns of Top Gear, thanks.’

And maths student Alan Brook added: ‘Can we keep signing up for new 30-day free trials of Amazon Prime whenever the new Top Gear is on? Don’t really want to pay £79/month to be honest.’

Meanwhile Adam Minford, from Antrim in Northern Ireland, tweeted: ‘I love Top Gear but not enough to pay Amazon £80 for it. I’m sure I’ll find another way.’

But Jack Lazarski then compared the situation to watching on BBC Two: ‘Basically have to pay £79 for Amazon Prime just to watch the new Top Gear. Still cheaper than a TV licence I suppose.’

Hammond, Clarkson and May will be working with ex-Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman.

Clarkson – whose contract was not renewed by the BBC earlier this year after the infamous ‘fracas’ with producer Oisin Tymon – said: ‘I feel like I’ve climbed out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship.’

The announcement ends months of speculation about the trio’s future after they left the BBC amid much controversy following the incident at a hotel in North Yorkshire in March.

Turned off: One of the many unimpressed fans of the show was Becky Twynham, who tweeted: 'So you now have to pay to watch Jeremy Clarkson and crew. Nah, I'll stick to reruns of Top Gear, thanks'

Turned off: One of the many unimpressed fans of the show was Becky Twynham, who tweeted: ‘So you now have to pay to watch Jeremy Clarkson and crew. Nah, I’ll stick to reruns of Top Gear, thanks’

Thinking about it: Adam Minford, from Antrim in Northern Ireland, tweeted: 'I love Top Gear but not enough to pay Amazon £80 for it. I'm sure I'll find another way'

Thinking about it: Adam Minford, from Antrim in Northern Ireland, tweeted: ‘I love Top Gear but not enough to pay Amazon £80 for it. I’m sure I’ll find another way’

Joke: Maths student Alan Brook added: 'Can we keep signing up for new 30-day free trials of Amazon Prime whenever the new Top Gear is on? Don't really want to pay £79/month to be honest'

Joke: Maths student Alan Brook added: ‘Can we keep signing up for new 30-day free trials of Amazon Prime whenever the new Top Gear is on? Don’t really want to pay £79/month to be honest’

In a press release, May joked: ‘We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn’t it?’ And Hammond added: ‘Amazon? Oh yes. I have already been there. I got bitten by a bullet ant.’ 

Sources told MailOnline in March that ITV may have been preparing a £10million ‘golden handcuffs’ bid to lure Clarkson away from the BBC for at least one series of a new motoring show.

So you now have to pay to watch Jeremy Clarkson and crew. Nah, I’ll stick to reruns of Top Gear, thanks
Becky Twynham, Top Gear fan

But it later emerged that Clarkson, 55, Hammond, 45, and May, 52, had been blocked from working for a rival British broadcaster for two years by a clause in their BBC contracts.

However, despite the BBC’s ‘non-compete’ clause, the hosts reportedly believed any new show could be shown online or, if an overseas production company was used, UK terrestrial channels.

Clarkson, whose net worth is reportedly £30million, earned £14million after the BBC purchased the commercial rights to Top Gear three years ago.

Top Gear is the BBC’s biggest global brand and is believed to be worth around £50million to the corporation’s commercial arm thanks to sales of the programme, DVDs, books and live shows.

Tweet: Clarkson announced the deal on Twitter today, saying he was 'very excited' about the new show

Tweet: Clarkson announced the deal on Twitter today, saying he was ‘very excited’ about the new show

'Good news' May joked in a tweet that 'the other two' have also got a job on the show with Amazon Prime

‘Good news’ May joked in a tweet that ‘the other two’ have also got a job on the show with Amazon Prime

'I've got a job': Hammond appeared excited that he would have a haircut and be wearing clean jeans again

‘I’ve got a job': Hammond appeared excited that he would have a haircut and be wearing clean jeans again

The Daily Mail reported last month how the BBC had offered May and Hammond a £4.6million deal for up to three years to continue hosting Top Gear for another two or three series. 

It was thought they would have earned between £760,000 and £1.15million per year in the deal, which would have been an increase on the £500,000 per series they were previously paid.

I feel like I’ve climbed out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship

Clarkson earned nearly £1.5million a year as a Top Gear presenter. The new host was eventually announced five weeks ago as Chris Evans, whose three-year contract is said to be worth £3million.

While the official title is still unconfirmed, Amazon Prime used the hashtag #Drive2Prime in its announcement on social media today – leading to speculation that this could be the name.

Responses to this were unenthusiastic, with ‘Super Chris’ tweeting: ‘#Drive2Prime … not the best name but if it’s the same format as Top gear you can call it whatever you want. #HappyChris.’

Jay Marine, vice president of Amazon Prime Video EU, said: ‘Customers told us they wanted to see the team back on screen, and we are excited to make that happen. 

Presenting trio: Hammond, Clarkson, and May during their live tour at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast in May

Presenting trio: Hammond, Clarkson, and May during their live tour at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast in May

Joke: Clarkson said he Amazon had blocked him from becoming their 'chief drone pilot '- a reference to the Amazon Prime Air delivery system proposal which will use drones to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less

Joke: Clarkson said he Amazon had blocked him from becoming their ‘chief drone pilot ‘- a reference to the Amazon Prime Air delivery system proposal which will use drones to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less

‘Millions of Prime members are already enjoying our ground-breaking original shows. We can’t wait to see what Jeremy, Richard, James and the team will create in what is sure to be one of the most globally anticipated shows of 2016.

‘This is a golden age of television, a great time for TV makers and storytellers.

We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn’t it?

‘Our approach is to give programme makers creative freedom to be innovative and make the shows they want to make. This is just the start, you should expect to see more world-leading talent and the biggest shows on Prime Video.’

Clarkson left the show after assaulting producer Mr Tymon after reportedly hearing there was no hot food available at hotel in North Yorkshire after a day of filming.

The attack lasted for around 30 seconds and Tymon was subjected to ‘derogatory and abusive language’ for a sustained period of time, according to the BBC investigation. 

The move is a major step into TV by Amazon who previously resurrected Ripper Street after it was axed by the BBC. However, the new show will not feature Top Gear’s mystery driver The Stig.

Punched: Clarkson's contract was not renewed by the BBC after a ‘fracas’ with producer Oisin Tymon (above)

Punched: Clarkson’s contract was not renewed by the BBC after a ‘fracas’ with producer Oisin Tymon (above)

Last week Seattle-based Amazon, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, surpassed Asda owner Wal-Mart Stores to become the world’s biggest retailer by market value. 

Kathleen Brooks, research director at broker City Index, told MailOnline today: ‘This is a big acquisition for Amazon Prime and makes it a real player in the streaming video/TV service sector.

This is a mutually beneficial agreement. It sidesteps Clarkson and co’s clause in their BBC contracts that made it hard to work for a UK broadcaster for the next few years
Kathleen Brooks, City Index

‘Although Amazon Prime has already launched some critically successful TV shows in recent years, this is the most populist move yet and groups Amazon Prime together with Netflix as a true threat to traditional TV channels and networks.

‘This is a mutually beneficial agreement. It sidesteps Clarkson and co’s clause in their BBC contracts that made it hard to work for a UK broadcaster for the next few years. 

‘It also gives the Top Gear team the freedom from advertiser demands that is crucial for the independence of the show, which it also enjoyed at the BBC.’ 

And XCar magazine Drew Stearne said: ‘Top Gear had evolved over the past 14 years to not only attract a colossal global audience but also to push the limits of what could be done on the BBC.

‘Clarkson, Hammond and May need a carte blanche from a broadcaster with the pockets to support what they need to do and Amazon should be able to provide both.’

HOW AMAZON PRIME IS MUSCLING IN ON THE BROADCASTING WORLD

Amazon’s deal with the former Top Gear team is another example of how internet firms are carving out their own corner of the broadcasting world.

The firm – which started life in 1995 as an online book shop – and rivals such as Netflix are going beyond streaming other broadcaster’s shows and moving into their own content.

Clarkson, Hammond and May are not the first big names to join forces with Amazon – legendary filmmaker Woody Allen signed up with them to make his first ever TV series.

Online access: The new, as-yet untitled, show will be available to Amazon Prime customers around the world

Online access: The new, as-yet untitled, show will be available to Amazon Prime customers around the world

It also resurrected period crime drama, Ripper Street, after it was axed by the BBC and its comedy series Transparent has been a critical hit winning two Golden Globes.

Amazon also uses its customer base to push its Prime service – earlier this week it announced a new music streaming app with more than a million songs available to users.

And it celebrated its 20th birthday with the inaugural Prime Day, a global shopping event designed to drive subscriptions to its membership programme.

Analysts believe Prime could be the first retail membership club to reach 100million, with the firm reporting worldwide year-on-year growth of the service of 53 per cent last year.

Taken on: Amazon resurrected period crime drama Ripper Street (pictured), after it was axed by the BBC

Taken on: Amazon resurrected period crime drama Ripper Street (pictured), after it was axed by the BBC

Anyone can sign up for Amazon Prime for £79 a year, although you can also get a 30-day free trial. Members can then watch films and TV shows using the Amazon Video app.

This is available on hundreds of devices including Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Roku, smart TVs and Blu-ray players, the Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii game consoles.

It can also be downloaded onto mobile devices such as Fire tablets, iPhones, iPads and Android tablets and phones. Customers of Prime can also watch online.

It is more expensive than Netflix, which has plans from £5.99 a month, but the popularity of the Top Gear hosts gives Amazon an exclusive that Netflix cannot currently match.

Racism rows, being forced to flee Argentina and the infamous ‘fracas’ with a producer: A 27-year timeline of BBC’s Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson became the famous face of Top Gear – a motoring show he first appeared on almost 27 years ago. Following months of speculation about what his next career move would be after he was dropped, here is a series of events on Clarkson’s path to Amazon. 

Clarkson in an early undated episode on Top Gear

Clarkson in an early undated episode on Top Gear

  • October 1988: Clarkson makes his first appearance on Top Gear, with a visibly more reserved on-screen persona than he later became known for. He commented on the Michael McIntyre chat show several years later that his accent in the early series was ‘incredible’.
  • November 1999: MPs criticise the increasingly controversial show for being ‘too macho’ and for encouraging ‘irresponsible’ driving, but it continues to regularly pull in several million weekly viewers.
  • February 2000: Clarkson leaves after more than a decade working on the motoring show, having described it in Top Gear magazine as ‘tedious’ in 1999.
  • October 2002: A revamped Top Gear is launched on the BBC with Clarkson returning to the helm.
  • 2003: Clarkson drives a pick-up into a horse chestnut tree in a car park in Somerset, to test the strength of a Toyota. The BBC apologises to the parish council.
  • November 2008: Clarkson makes a joke during an episode about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes, which attracts more than 1,000 complaints to the BBC.
  • January 2011: Jokes made during the show about Mexicans, which include them being branded ‘lazy’, ‘feckless’ and ‘flatulent’, spark controversy and prompt an apology from the BBC to the Mexican ambassador.
  • December 2011: During a 90-minute India special a car fitted with a toilet in the boot is described by Clarkson as ‘perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots’.
  • February 2012: Clarkson compares a Japanese car to people with growths on their faces. He is later found to have breached BBC guidelines.
  • May 2014: Clarkson is embroiled in controversy when it is claimed he used the n-word while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe during filming.
  • July 2014: Top Gear is ruled to have breached broadcasting rules after Clarkson used the word ‘slope’ to describe an Asian man.
  • October 2014: The Top Gear crew is forced to flee Argentina after trouble erupts when it emerges they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some suggest could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982.
  • March 4, 2015: Following a day of filming in North Yorkshire, Clarkson assaults BBC producer Oisin Tymon after reportedly hearing there was no hot food available. The attack lasted for around 30 seconds and Tymon was subjected to ‘derogatory and abusive language’ for a sustained period of time, according to the BBC investigation. Tymon goes to A&E to have his injuries checked.
  • March 9, 2015 Clarkson first reports to the BBC that he was involved in the incident.
  • March 10, 2015: The BBC suspends Clarkson and an investigation is launched, while all three remaining episodes of the series are postponed.
  • March 11, 2015: Prime Minister David Cameron weighs into the row, calling Clarkson a ‘huge talent’ and saying he hopes the situation can be resolved so his children will not be left ‘heartbroken’.
  • March 15, 2015: The BBC’s decision to postpone the remaining episodes of Top Gear sees it lose millions of viewers. A Red Arrows documentary which is shown in place of the planned episode pulls in just one million viewers – compared with the five million who regularly tune in for the popular motoring show.
  • March 19, 2015: Clarkson launches an expletive-laden broadside against BBC executives who he claim are about to sack him. He reveals he wants to do ‘one last ever lap’ of the Top Gear test track. In video footage obtained by the Daily Mirror, Clarkson says: ‘I’ll go down to Surrey and I’ll do one last lap of that track before the f****** b******* sack me.’
  • March 20, 2015: A million-strong petition calling for Clarkson’s reinstatement is delivered by tank to the BBC’s headquarters. Someone dressed as the motoring show’s enigmatic professional driver The Stig is on board as the military vehicle arrives outside New Broadcasting House, central London.
  • March 22, 2015: Four Top Gear live shows that were scheduled to take place in Norway are postponed.
  • March 24, 2015: The BBC denied it had made a decision following its internal investigation into what happened during the ‘fracas’ with Mr Tymon – and Clarkson’s future – as reports suggested he would be sacked by the corporation.
  • March 25, 2015: BBC director-general Tony Hall announces he will not be renewing Clarkson’s contract, saying ‘a line has been crossed’ and that ‘there cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another’, but praises Clarkson’s ‘huge talent’. He also confirms that the BBC will attempt to make another series of Top Gear in 2016.
  • June 16, 2015: Chris Evans is revealed as the new host of Top Gear.
  • June 28, 2015: Top Gear’s finale with Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May fails to break records when it bows out with 5.8 million viewers.
  • July 30, 2015: It is announced that Clarkson, Hammond and May have signed a deal for a new motoring show with Amazon.

Over and out: Top Gear’s final episode with Clarkson, Hammond and May bowed out with 5.8million viewers

HEAD-TO-HEAD: CLARKSON v EVANS IN CARS, DRIVING, CASH AND CAREERS

With a new motoring show in town, it will be a case of Jeremy Clarkson v Chris Evans. But how do the two petrol-heads compare? Here is a look at the rivalry in numbers:

CARS

Evans takes the chequered flag for the most expensive. In 2010, the DJ shelled out £12 million for a 1960 Ferrari GTO, one of just 36 built. The Radio 2 presenter added to his Ferrari collection last year, paying £2.27million at auction for a 1971 Daytona Spyder. In comparison, Clarkson’s Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder only cost him a measly £147,000.

DRIVING

Both men have been handed driving bans for speeding. In 2001, Evans was banned from the road for 56 days for driving his Ferrari 550 Maranello at 105mph in a 70mph zone in Esher, Surrey. Clarkson was given a three-month ban by the French authorities in 2013 for driving his Aston Martin Vanquish at 88mph.

Rivalry: With a new motoring show in town, it will be a case of Chris Evans (left) v Jeremy Clarkson (right)

Rivalry: With a new motoring show in town, it will be a case of Chris Evans (left) v Jeremy Clarkson (right)

MONEY

Clarkson’s net worth is reportedly £30million. He earned £14million after the BBC purchased the commercial rights to Top Gear back in 2012. But Evans trumps that with a fortune in the region of £50million. He made a fortune with the sale of his Ginger Media Group.

BBC CAREERS

Evans first worked for the BBC in 1995 when he joined the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. He quit two years later, before returning to Radio 2 in 2005. Clarkson’s career with the corporation stretches back 27 years to 1988 when he first joined Top Gear. In 2002, Clarkson and executive producer Andy Wilman re-launched the show in its current format.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Clarkson has a powerful social media presence with 5.42million followers on Twitter. Evans lags behind with 1.94 million.

NUMBER OF TIMES FIRED

The pair draw 1-1 for this round. Clarkson was let go from Top Gear in March for punching a producer. Back in 2001, Evans was sacked by Virgin Radio for a ‘breach of contract’ after he failed to turn up for his presenting slot for six consecutive days.

Xmas Holidays

Retired headmaster Nigel Weekes admits sexually abusing girl but judge spares him jail

  • Former primary school teacher Nigel Weekes was previously jailed for abusing seven young girls around 40 years ago
  • He admitted abusing the eighth victim, who was just eight at the time
  • Judge Philip Statman told Weekes he had ‘ruined’ girl’s childhood and should have ‘gone to prison for a long time’
  • However, Weekes who has dementia and other health problems, was given a suspended sentence

By

Lucy Crossley for MailOnline


Published:
06:28 EST, 29 July 2015

|
Updated:
09:13 EST, 29 July 2015

Retired headmaster Nigel Weekes (pictured) who admitted sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl has been spared jail because of his ill health

Retired headmaster Nigel Weekes (pictured) who admitted sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl has been spared jail because of his ill health

A retired headmaster who admitted sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl has been spared jail because of his ill health.

Nigel Weekes, who was sentenced to three years in prison 13 years after he admitted abusing seven girls, pleaded guilty to molesting the child during his time as head of St Mary’s Primary School in Ashford, Kent.

Judge Philip Statman said the abuse, endured by the girl almost 40 years ago, had caused her ‘great distress’ and ‘ruined’ her childhood.

However, he gave Weekes an 18-month sentence suspended for two years after hearing he was suffering from dementia and various other health problems.

Maidstone Crown Court heard the victim, who was eight years old at the time, was extremely vulnerable.

Judge Statman told Weekes: ‘You seized the opportunity to take her under your wing, and while in a position of considerable trust and responsibility, slowly but surely you groomed her to perform sex acts upon you for your personal gratification.

‘At that stage in her life she had absolutely no idea as to what she was being asked to do to you, or, of course, that it was wrong.’

The court was told that sex acts with the girl had taken place during game playing while Weekes’s private parts were ‘tied in some way to a candle’. 

Jennifer Dempster, mitigating, said Weekes, of Romney Marsh, Kent, had served a ‘significant’ sentence after he was jailed in October 2002 and not offended since.

His wife sat in the public gallery as Miss Dempster said: ‘She couldn’t be more loyal.’

She added: ‘I am in a position to say he is a rehabilitated man. He has possible Alzheimer’s, type one diabetes, no vision in his left eye, vertigo and hypertension.

Weekes, who was sentenced to three years in prison 13 years after he admitted abusing seven girls, pleaded guilty to molesting the child during his time as head of St Mary's Primary School in Ashford, Kent (pictured)

Weekes, who was sentenced to three years in prison 13 years after he admitted abusing seven girls, pleaded guilty to molesting the child during his time as head of St Mary’s Primary School in Ashford, Kent (pictured)

The offences carried out against the young girls date back to the 1970s, when Weekes was headteacher at the school in Ashford

The offences carried out against the young girls date back to the 1970s, when Weekes was headteacher at the school in Ashford

‘I am in the odd position of saying give him a suspended sentence and don’t send him back in with active sex offenders.’

Judge Statman said: ‘These cases are terribly sensitive.

 The events have haunted your victim for over 38 years, causing her great distress. Her childhood was ruined as a result of what you did to her

‘The public as a whole have grave concerns about sex offending within the community and judges have to be sensitive to the needs of victims, because her life has changed as a result of what happened to her.’

‘The events have haunted your victim for over 38 years, causing her great distress. Her childhood was ruined as a result of what you did to her.’

Judge Statman said the victim had found it difficult to trust in relationships and had sought counselling.

He said: ‘Thirty-eight years later justice has caught up with you.

‘The age of these offences become irrelevant, it seems to me, because she has had to live with what you have done to her over the passage of time.’

Weekes (pictured) was handed a suspended sentence after a judge heard he was suffering from dementia and various other health problems 
Judge Philip Statman (pictured) said the abuse, endured by the girl almost 40 years ago, had caused her 'great distress' and 'ruined' her childhood

Weekes (left) was handed a suspended sentence after Judge Philip Statman (right) heard he was suffering from dementia and various other health problems

Weekes, who admitted two specimen offences of indecency with a child, will be under supervision for two years.

A sexual harm prevention order was imposed for five years and his name remains on the sex offenders’ register.

But sentencing was difficult because of the juxtaposition of dates in both sets of offences and Weekes’s poor health, the court was told.

The maximum sentence for the latest offence was two years imprisonment at the relevant time.

Judge Statman said: ‘It would be wrong now, ten years after your release and subsequent to the commission of these offences, to send you, in poor health, back to prison.’

‘If you had been before me to be sentenced in different circumstances you would have gone to prison for a long time.’  

Xmas Holidays

Pictures capture the moment an otter caught a 4ft-long conger eel in Scotland

By

Mark Duell for MailOnline


Published:
07:05 EST, 29 July 2015

|
Updated:
09:08 EST, 29 July 2015

This is the astonishing moment that a wildlife spotter watched an otter catch a 4ft conger eel off the west coast of Scotland.

Gordon Yates, 69, a photographer from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was on the Isle of Mull last week searching for sea eagles.

But he got a shock when he noticed a female otter splashing at the water’s edge and saw her haul the huge conga eel from the water.

The otter was not even as big as its catch and battled the eel to the death. It is thought she was catching it to feed a kit she had with her.

Mr Yates said: ‘It took her a while to pull the eel out of the water – I thought maybe she had caught a big crab at first.

‘But then she hauled out this 4ft-long conger eel, one of the most vicious creatures in the sea. I couldn’t believe it when she pulled it out.

‘It just kept coming. You could tell she wasn’t letting go of where she had hold of it in case it turned on her with those teeth.’ 

Battle: This the moment that a photographer watched an otter catch a 4ft conger eel on the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland.

Battle: This the moment that a photographer watched an otter catch a 4ft conger eel on the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland.

Spotted: Wildlife photographer Gordon Yates, 69, of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was on the island last week searching for sea eagles

Spotted: Wildlife photographer Gordon Yates, 69, of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was on the island last week searching for sea eagles

Animal fight: The photographer noticed a female otter splashing at the water’s edge and saw her haul the huge conga eel from the water

Animal fight: The photographer noticed a female otter splashing at the water’s edge and saw her haul the huge conga eel from the water

Hunting: The otter spotted on the Isle of Mull in Scotland was not even as big as its catch and battled the eel to the death

Hunting: The otter spotted on the Isle of Mull in Scotland was not even as big as its catch and battled the eel to the death

Got you: The photographer said it took the otter some time to pull out the eel, and he 'thought maybe she had caught a big crab at first'

Got you: The photographer said it took the otter some time to pull out the eel, and he ‘thought maybe she had caught a big crab at first’

Watching on: It is thought the otter was catching the conger eel to feed a young kit she had with her on the island

Watching on: It is thought the otter was catching the conger eel to feed a young kit she had with her on the island

Astonishing moment: Mr Yates said he 'couldn’t believe it when she pulled it out' of the water, and that 'it just kept coming'

Astonishing moment: Mr Yates said he ‘couldn’t believe it when she pulled it out’ of the water, and that ‘it just kept coming’

Locked-on: The photographer said he 'could tell she wasn’t letting go of where she had hold of it in case it turned on her with those teeth'

Locked-on: The photographer said he ‘could tell she wasn’t letting go of where she had hold of it in case it turned on her with those teeth’

Xmas Holidays

IVF fail couple have three healthy babies after injections of soya and egg

  • Rob and Jennie Macphee began IVF in 2008, the day after getting married
  • Over two years they suffered six failed attempts and one miscarriage
  • Later found Mrs Macphee’s strong immune system was attacking embryos
  • She had injections of soy and egg products and became pregnant 
  • Twins Dylan and Niamh were born in 2011 followed by 10-week-old Orla 

By

Lizzie Parry for MailOnline


Published:
06:54 EST, 28 July 2015

|
Updated:
09:04 EST, 28 July 2015

After six failed IVF attempts Rob and Jennie Macphee were delighted to be expecting twins, Dylan and Niamh. Four years later they welcomed their third child, Orla

After six failed IVF attempts Rob and Jennie Macphee were delighted to be expecting twins, Dylan and Niamh. Four years later they welcomed their third child, Orla

A mother desperate to start a family endured six failed IVF attempts  – only to discover her over-active immune system was attacking her babies.

Jennie Macphee and her husband Rob, from Stamford, Lincolnshire, began trying for a baby immediately after they got married in 2008.

The couple had been warned that despite the fact they were still in their 20s, they may experience problems conceiving after Mr Macphee, 35, had surgery as a teenager.

They saved for IVF, but faced the heartache of six failed attempts and one miscarriage over the course of two years – at a total cost of £21,000. 

After researching alternative types of IVF treatment, the couple later discovered Mrs Macphee’s strong immune system had been rejecting the embryos, preventing them from implanting. 

The nurse, who is now 34, began a course of intralipid therapy, where she was injected with soya and egg products to tackle ‘killer cells’ in her immune system.

Months later, the couple were delighted to discover they were expecting.

Twins Dylan and Niamh, now four, were born in 2011.

And they were followed by 10-week-old Orla, who was conceived using the same frozen embryos as her older siblings. 

Mrs Macphee said: ‘For years we knew that we may have trouble conceiving because Rob had an operation when he was younger, but we never imagined that I would be the reason why we were struggling to get pregnant.

‘We had our first round of IVF on the NHS the day after our wedding day. 

‘We were hopeful because we were still in our twenties at the time, but it turned out to be unsuccessful.

‘We saved some money for our next round and moved to a different clinic and we later had another four rounds. I also had a very early miscarriage.’

She said experts told the couple they were producing good embryos, but warned they wouldn’t implant.

‘It was a very difficult time for us,’ the now mother-of-three, said. ‘We were nearing our 30s and our friends began having children.

‘It was difficult to watch at times but it made us more determined.’

The couple began their first IVF attempt the day after their wedding in 2008, while still in their 20s. They feared they would struggle to conceive after Mr Macphee went through surgery in his teens
But after the heartbreak six failed attempts and one miscarriage the couple discovered Mrs Macphee's immune system was attacking the embryos, preventing them from implanting. She is pictured, while pregnant with the twins

The couple began their first IVF attempt the day after their wedding in 2008, while still in their 20s. They feared they would struggle to conceive after Mr Macphee went through surgery in his teens. But after the heartbreak of six failed attempts and one miscarriage the couple discovered Mrs Macphee’s immune system was attacking the embryos, preventing them from implanting. She is pictured right, while pregnant with the twins

Before becoming pregnant with Dylan and Niamh, Mrs Macphee underwent a course of intralipid therapy, where she was injected with soya and egg products to tackle 'killer cells' in her immune system

Before becoming pregnant with Dylan and Niamh, Mrs Macphee underwent a course of intralipid therapy, where she was injected with soya and egg products to tackle ‘killer cells’ in her immune system

The couple welcomed Niamh and Dylan, now four years old, in 2011. Mrs Macphee said: 'When we were told we were having twins everything felt perfect. We had always wanted more than one child and we had been trying for so long'

The couple welcomed Niamh and Dylan, now four years old, in 2011. Mrs Macphee said: ‘When we were told we were having twins everything felt perfect. We had always wanted more than one child and we had been trying for so long’

After two years of difficulties, the pair visited an IVF specialist who told Mrs Macphee her chances of conceiving were less than eight per cent because her immune system was so strong it was destroying the embryos before they had chance to attach.

‘I had never considered that my immune system was preventing me from having a successful pregnancy,’ she said.

WHAT IS INTRALIPID THERAPY AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

The treatment is given to suppress natural killer (NK) cells in a woman’s body, the theory being that some women’s bodies are non-baby-friendly and their immune system attacks the embryo as if it were a foreign body.

Intralipids — a mix of soya-bean oil, egg yolk, glycerine and water — are a fat emulsion used as a source of calories and essential fatty acids for post-operative patients and premature babies requiring nutrition into their bloodstream.

They have also been found to have an immuno-suppressant effect. 

The theory is that the intralipids have a stabilising effect on cell membranes, which makes it harder for the killer cells to attack and go on to cause implantation failure and miscarriage.

The fats are highly calorific — about 200 calories a dose, the equivalent of a Snickers bar — and have been likened to ‘getting an armful of mayonnaise’.

Administered via a drip usually twice before conception, and then three more times after, the treatment is thought to help the embryo implant and grow normally.

Alongside this, women are also recommended to take steroids, which further suppress the immune system, and blood thinners to prevent blood clots, which also can impede embryos implanting.

‘I had never heard of it before and when the consultant told me I had an eight per cent chance of having a live pregnancy I just thought “oh my God”.

‘I couldn’t believe it.’

The couple gathered enough money to fund an alternative course of treatment that would attempt to weaken Mrs Macphee’s immune system.

She began having intravenous doses of egg and soya products every fortnight for three months, and in September 2010 the couple discovered she was pregnant.

‘We took the pregnancy test before we attended a friend’s wedding and we were delighted,’ she said.

‘We didn’t dare feel too excited because we had been there before.

‘The first scan was absolutely mad. My husband and I were looking at each other in complete disbelief. 

‘When we were told we were having twins everything felt perfect. 

‘We had always wanted more than one child and we had been trying for so long.

‘When the twins were born we brought them home in their car seats and put them together in the living room. It was a lovely feeling and we were so ready for them.

‘We asked the clinic to keep some of our embryos in case we wanted to try again but we’d convinced ourselves it wouldn’t happen again.

‘At the end of last year I’d become broody again so we decided to go back and start the treatment.’

The couple said they couldn’t believe it when the treatment worked first time.

Orla was born in May, and the twins are preparing to start school in September.

Mrs Macphee said: ‘Our family is complete now.’  

Miss Maha Ragunath, medical director at CARE Fertility in Nottingham, said: ‘To endure multiple failed implantations or miscarriage is devastating and our experience has shown that some women may benefit from specific blood tests to check for abnormalities in their immune system.

The couple asked the clinic to keep some of their embryos in case they wanted to try again but  convinced themselves it wouldn't happen. After one attempt they discovered Mrs Macphee was pregnant

The couple asked the clinic to keep some of their embryos in case they wanted to try again but convinced themselves it wouldn’t happen. After one attempt they discovered Mrs Macphee was pregnant

Baby Orla, pictured with her parents and older brother and sister, arrived 10 weeks ago. Mrs Macphee added: 'Our family is complete now'

Baby Orla, pictured with her parents and older brother and sister, arrived 10 weeks ago. Mrs Macphee added: ‘Our family is complete now’

‘We are looking for an increase in natural killer cells which are implicated in failure of embryo implantation and miscarriage.

‘We would typically offer these tests to women over 35 who have had two miscarriages or two failed IVF cycles, perhaps previous immune problems such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

‘If a problem is identified, treatment is quite straightforward. In Jennie’s case, we prescribed intralipid therapy which is a solution based on egg and soya products as part of her IVF cycle.

‘Given in drip form by a trained nurse, the infusion is inexpensive, well tolerated and is shown to calm down an over-active immune system, allowing an embryo to implant in the womb. Eating more eggs or soya doesn’t work.

‘If a pregnancy test is positive, intralipid can be given every four weeks until the twelfth week of pregnancy to allow normal development and prevent miscarriage.

‘There are many causes of treatment failure in IVF and miscarriage and each patient needs individual assessment, but if an immune issue is found, we do have treatment available.’ 

 

Xmas Holidays

London’s housing madness means it is cheaper to live in MADRID and commute by plane

  • Rent and council tax in Camden and a tube ticket costs £2,128 per month
  • But a flat in Madrid, flights and connections would cost only £1,725
  • Tessa Jowell says renters were ‘paying the price’ for the housing crisis

By

Matt Chorley, Political Editor for MailOnline


Published:
07:07 EST, 28 July 2015

|
Updated:
08:59 EST, 28 July 2015

Renting in London is now so expensive it would be cheaper to commute every day from Madrid, it was claimed today.

It costs £5,000 more to live in a one-bedroom flat in Camden than to stay in central Madrid and fly to London four days a week.

Tessa Jowell, running to be Labour’s mayoral candidate in the capital, said renters were ‘paying the price’ for the country’s housing crisis.

The Plaza Santa Ana in central Madrid
Shops and cafes in Camden Passage in north London

It costs £5,000 more to live in a one-bedroom flat in Camden (right) than to stay in central Madrid (left) and fly to London four days a week

Soaring house prices mean millions of more people are forced to rent, while the dream of buying their own property disappears.

However, rents in London have soared by 12 per cent in the last year to £1,418 per month – compared to a national average of £867.

Analysis by Miss Jowell’s campaign team shows how low rents and cheap flights mean it would be cheap for someone to live 800 miles away in Madrid.

It shows that a one-bedroom flat in Camden Town in north London will cost £1,893 per month, with council tax adding £111.40.

A zone 1-2 travel card to reach central London costs an extra £123.30 per month.

This takes the total living and travel costs to £2,128 per month, or £25,532 per year.

However, a one-bedroom flat in Madrid – described as being ‘stylish, fully-furnished and air conditioned’ – would cost €750 or £532 per month.

In Spain council tax is paid by the landlord, not the tenant, which means the rent would include these costs.

Tessa Jowell, running to be Labour's mayoral candidate in the capital, said renters were 'paying the price' for the country's housing crisis

Tessa Jowell, running to be Labour’s mayoral candidate in the capital, said renters were ‘paying the price’ for the country’s housing crisis

The analysis includes the cost of trains to Madrid airport and using the London Underground to get into the city centre
The analysis includes the cost of trains to Madrid airport and using the London Underground to get into the city centre

The analysis includes the cost of trains to Madrid airport and using the London Underground to get into the city centre

MADRID 

Flat

One bedroom flat right in the centre of Madrid

Rent: £532 per month

Commute

Flight Madrid to Stansted: £914.30 per month.

Return train ticket Madrid centre to airport: £52 per month. Stansted Express to Liverpool Street: £227.33 per month.

TOTAL: £1,725 per month/£20,707 per year 

LONDON 

Flat

One-bedroom flat in Camden Town

Rent: £1,893 per month

Council tax: £111.40 per month

Commute

A zone 1-2 travel card to use the Underground to reach central London costs £123.30 per month 

TOTAL: £2,128 per month/£25,532 per year

By booking flights in advance, it is possible to get a return ticket from Madrid to London Stansted for £211 a week, flying four days a week Monday to Thursday, costing £914.30 per month.

The team included to £52 per month cost of a return train ticket from central Madrid to the airport, and the £227.33 bill for the Stansted Express train service into Liverpool Street station in central London. 

It means the Madrid option costs a total of £1,725 per month, or £20,707.26 per year.

As a result, Miss Jowell’s campaign claim living in Madrid and commuting to work in London would save £402 every month or £4,828 each year. 

Miss Jowell said: ‘The housing crisis is getting worse all the time – and renters are paying the price. Londoners are now paying so much to landlords that they could be better off commuting from Madrid than staying in London.

‘We’ve talked about London’s housing crisis for too long – now it’s time to deliver the change that London needs. 

‘If I become Mayor, I’ll set up Homes for Londoners on my first day in City Hall to finally bring the housing crisis under control and get our city building again, starting on the Mayor’s own land.’

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Dane Bowers ‘violently attacked ex-fiancée Sophia Cahill leaving her with bloody nose’

  • Bowers is accused of assaulting former Miss Wales girlfriend in January
  • She claims he pulled her by the hair and hit her when he was hungover
  • The pair were still living at his parents’ house despite having split up 
  • Bowers denies assaulting glamour model at Croydon Magistrates Court 

By

Jennifer Smith for MailOnline


Published:
07:12 EST, 27 July 2015

|
Updated:
08:29 EST, 27 July 2015



Dane Bowers violently attacked ex-fiancée leaving her with a bloody nose after she asked him why he had glitter on his face, a court has heard. 

The former singer is accused of assaulting Sophia Cahill in January, a month after the couple parted ways, allegedly pulling her by the hair at his parents’ home. 

Croydon Magistrates’ Court that Bowers was hungover on January 29 when Miss Cahill asked him about glitter on his face at around 6.30am, sending him in to a violent rage.  

Bowers, 35, denies assaulting the 31-year-old mother-of-two. 

Bowers denies assaulting Sophia Cahill, his former girlfriend
Sophia Cahill claims the incident took place in January

Dane Bowers denies assaulting Sophia Cahill, his former fiancee, in January. The pair arrived separately at Croydon Magistrates Court today (above)

The pair split up last winter, a year after becoming engaged in Tenerife, after Miss Cahill alleged to have found photographs of other glamour models on his mobile phone. 

They were living with Bowers’s parents despite having parted ways when he allegedly assaulted her on January 29.  

Crying as she recalled details of the alleged incident in court today, Miss Cahill, who was crowned Miss Wales in 2002, said: ‘I pointed to the glitter on his face.

‘I had caught him in bed with somebody (before) – that obviously gave us trust issues.

‘We were still living together and we said that if we are still living under the same roof we would not do anything to disrespect each other and do anything with other people.

‘He had been out all night and obviously I jumped to conclusions because of other things he has done in the past.’ 

The couple were engaged for a year after Bowers proposed during a sunshine winter break in December 2013. They parted ways last December after she allegedly discovered photographs of other women on his phone 

The couple were engaged for a year after Bowers proposed during a sunshine winter break in December 2013. They parted ways last December after she allegedly discovered photographs of other women on his phone 

Miss Cahill then claimed the singer became aggressive and violent.

‘Dane was grabbing me by the back of my hair and pulling my neck right back. I could not breathe. He was really really aggressive. He was angry. He was just crazy.

‘He was on my back. He was squeezing my throat and my head was still pulled back by my hair. 

‘He was leaning on my face. He was just swearing at me,’ the mother-of-two said. 

Bowers is then alleged to have hit her in the face, causing her nose to bleed. 

‘He hit me in the nose and there was blood everywhere from my nose. The first I remember of the blood was feeling it all over me and the floor.

‘I only had nose surgery about six months before. He had hit me in it and I guess it was still healing. I was in pain.’

Miss Cahill also claimed the incident ended when her former fiancé’s father, Andy, stepped in.  

The pair were living at Bowers’s parent’s house after selling theirs days earlier when the alleged attack took place.    

Following their engagement in 2013 Bowers told fans he was the 'luckiest man alive'. Miss Cahill was said to have been 'devastated' when they split the following year 

Following their engagement in 2013 Bowers told fans he was the ‘luckiest man alive’. Miss Cahill was said to have been ‘devastated’ when they split the following year 

This morning Bowers referred to the trial, telling his 99,000 Twitter followers: ‘Lucky to have great friends and family in my corner. Also lucky to have such an amazing person to talk to whenever I want,’  addressing a hostess at a Las Vegas nightclub.  

At a previous hearing proceedings were halted when it emerged Mr Bowers’s legal team had not seen video testimony given by Miss Cahill’s son. 

Bowers once dated Katie Price while at the height of his fame.

Miss Cahill was crowned Miss Wales in 2000 and went on to have a successful modelling career.

She made appearances in Playboy magazine on both sides of the Atlantic and starred in music videos.

In 2010 she appeared in The Flirting Club, a British version of U.S blockbuster American Pie.

 

 

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Xmas Holidays

David Cameron demands answers over disgraced peer Lord Sewel after video of him snorting drugs with call girls emerges as pressure mounts for him to be expelled from parliament 

  • Lord Sewel, 69, filmed snorting cocaine with prostitutes at his London flat 
  • Video shows him taking it with rolled-up £5 bank note off woman’s breasts
  • Married peer responsible for ‘overseeing standards’ in the House of Lords
  • He has now quit deputy speaker role as police investigate sordid footage
  • But he has not quit Lords, allowing him to claim £300-a-day in allowances
  • David Cameron demands the ‘full truth’ on Lord Sewel’s conduct 

By

Martin Robinson

and
Matt Chorley


and
John Stevens In Jakarta For Mailonline


Published:
07:00 EST, 27 July 2015

|
Updated:
08:28 EST, 27 July 2015

Lord Sewel today refused to quit Parliament over a video showing him snorting cocaine off the breasts of a prostitute, leaving him free to claim £300-a-day in parliamentary allowances.

The disgraced peer, 69, who was reported to police, quit as deputy speaker of the Lords and suspended by Labour, is said to have vowed to ‘tough it out’ and resist calls to resign his peerage.

It came as David Cameron today demanded the ‘full truth’ on his conduct and said there are questions over whether Sewel is fit to sit in the Lords.

Lord Sewel’s reputation and political career are in tatters after a video emerged of him cavorting with two sex workers in his central London flat, behind the back of his third wife Lady Jennifer.

The married father of four was filmed necking champagne and vodka before using a £5 note to snort lines of cocaine from a table and later from the breasts of a sex worker 45 years his junior.

Drug lord: Sewel is secretly filmed snorting a line of cocaine at his Westminster flat with  £200-a-night call girls

Drug lord: Sewel is secretly filmed snorting a line of cocaine at his Westminster flat with £200-a-night call girls

But a source told the BBC today he would not be quitting over the scandal. 

Speaking in Jakarta this afternoon David Cameron said: ‘These are very serious allegations, I think it’s right he has stood down from his committee posts and I’m sure further questions will be asked about whether it is appropriate to have someone legislating and acting in the House of Lords if they have genuinely behaved in this way. It’s still going to take some I suspect to get to the full truth’.

DISGRACED PEER SEWEL SUSPENDED BY LABOUR SO CAN’T VOTE IN ‘HOPELESS’ ELECTION

Lord Sewel has been suspended from the Labour Party following allegations that he took drugs with prostitutes.

The peer remained a member of the party despite giving up the whip under parliamentary conventions when he became deputy speaker of the Lords.

Scotland Yard has been called in to investigate the former minister after The Sun on Sunday published video allegedly showing him snorting cocaine while romping naked with two women.

An investigation by the House of Lords’ sleaze watchdog that could lead to his expulsion from Parliament is also expected to be launched.

A Labour spokesman said: ‘Lord Sewel has been suspended from the Labour Party.’ 

It means he can no longer vote in the upcoming election to replace Ed Miliband. 

During his cocaine-fuelled romp with sex workers Sewel had slammed  the Labour leadership race as ‘a f****** mess’.

He called Jeremy Corbyn ‘a romantic idiot’, The Sun said, adding: ‘This guy is in favour of immigration, high welfare spending. He’s a typical romantic idiot. Useless’.

He claimed Andy Burnham has been ‘terribly contradictory’ and ‘goes whichever way the wind is blowing’. 

His judgement of Yvette Cooper was that she is ‘okay but not strong’, while he appeared to forget Liz Kendall’s name, describing her as ‘a Blair supporter who is just too naive’.

And on the election in general he said: ‘So, an absolutely hopeless set of choices. There’s nobody bright enough, or who has the leadership qualities, to bring it off.’ 

Lord Sewel’s wife of 10 years Lady Jennifer, was in their million pound house near Aberdeen today.

A friend answered the door and told MailOnline: ‘Lady Jennifer will not see you and she has no comment to make’.

Asked if Lord Sewell was coming back she said: ‘Lord Sewel is not here and is not expected’. 

Sewel’s decision not to quit the Lords means he will be free to claim up to £300 a day in parliamentary allowances while any investigation is carried out. 

This money can only be claimed when the Lords is sitting, meaning he will only be able to claim the cash when the House returns in September, but any probe into his conduct is likely to last much longer than that. 

Today a new picture showing him smoking while wearing a prostitute’s bra and leather jacket emerged.

Until yesterday he chaired a committee on the conduct of peers and has said: ‘The actions of a few damage our reputation. Scandals make good headlines.’  

Outraged watchdogs and politicians say the married father of four should be booted out of Parliament. New laws brought in on July 16 now allow peers to expel colleagues for misconduct.

Betty Boothroyd, the former Commons Speaker, said the revelations were a ‘terrible shock’ and called on Lord Sewel to take a ‘quiet way out of the back door of the House of Lords’. 

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I thought it was unbelievable. It was a story you just couldn’t make up.

‘I’m totally embarrassed and ashamed of somebody in public life, a member of my House of Parliament, would behave in that situation.’

The crossbench peer said it was right that Lord Sewel had given up his role as deputy Speaker, but added: ‘I think he should take a quiet way out of the back door of the House of Lords, quite frankly.

‘I don’t know his family, but my sadness is for his family.’

Asked about the impact on the reputation of the House of Lords, she added: ‘It doesn’t leave it in tatters but you only need one bad apple in a barrel.

‘But I’m afraid he has been the bad apple in this barrel and I’m really acutely aware of what the public think about members of parliament and those that represent them whether it’s in the Commons or the Lords.’

She said the fact that Lord Sewel was in charge of upholding standards in the Lords ‘doesn’t leave us with a very good smell under the nose of the public quite frankly and I’m very ashamed of what he’s done because he has brought the House into some disrepute’.

Obtained by a Sunday newspaper, the video shows John Buttifant Sewel – a minister under Tony Blair – romping with two women at his rent-protected flat near Parliament.

He snorted cocaine from one of the prostitutes’ breasts after turning a photo of his wife face down on a desk. The women were paid £200 each.

Scotland Yard is under pressure to investigate the video, arrest the shamed peer and search his apartment. Cocaine possession attracts a maximum sentence of seven years.  

Support: The Sun's front page today featuring Lord Sewel wearing a ladies bright orange bra

Support: The Sun’s front page today featuring Lord Sewel wearing a ladies bright orange bra

Baron Sewel, who has two children and two more step-children, was made a minister by Mr Blair in 199

Baron Sewel, who has two children and two more step-children, was made a minister by Mr Blair in 1997

Yesterday morning Sewel resigned as chairman of the privileges and conduct committee and as deputy speaker. The roles gave him a salary of £84,500 and an annual housing allowance of £36,000.

Lords Speaker Baroness D’Souza is holding urgent talks with senior parliamentary officials this morning to discuss how to respond to the crisis. 

‘It’s definitely a top priority,’ said a House of Lords source.

LORD SEWEL: HOW HIS OWN FINE WORDS CAME BACK TO HAUNT HIM

‘The actions of a few damage our reputation. Scandals make good headlines’

July 16: Sewel announcing new powers to expel Lords if they are caught misbehaving

‘Happy days are here again’

July 22: Sewel as he welcomes the call girls into his London flat

‘They sort of look innocent but, you know, they’re whores’

On Asian women

‘I just want to be led astray’

To one of the call girls

‘Members of her Lordship’s House who are right thieves, rogues and b******* at times. Wonderful people that they are’

On his fellow peers

‘They do f*** all work in the Lords’

More on his fellow peers

‘It’s only £600 a week… you live on £50 a day’

Moaning about the Lords attendance allowance

‘What about trying the big one… it comes in a can… it’s Coca-Cola – forget the cola’

Sewel offers the call girls cocaine

She is understood to be surprised that Lord Sewel has not already quit. ‘He certainly has not written to the House to indicate that he is going to resign,’ the source added.

An official complaint is expected to be made imminently, which would trigger a probe by Lords Commissioner for Standards Paul Kernaghan, a former Chief Constable of Hampshire police.

It could lead to Lord Sewel’s suspension or permanent expulsion after tougher rules were introduced this month. 

But with the case already referred to police, it could be months before a verdict is reached. 

Sewel was also a British delegate to Nato’s parliamentary assembly – a situation that now raises security fears. And in the 800-strong House of Lords, he has been involved in passing legislation on sexual offences acts, brothel-keeping and prostitution. 

Alistair Graham, former head of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said Sewel’s behaviour was staggering and he could have no ‘credibility with the public as a legislator’.

‘You can argue that there are too many peers in the House of Lords already, so standing down would be in the public interest in two ways,’ he said. 

‘He should consider stepping down because the public have got to have trust in the people who are legislating on their behalf. How can they have trust in someone who is alleged to have broken the law?

‘It is difficult to have trust in somebody who has had such a conflict between his role as the chairman of the conduct committee and his personal behaviour. 

‘As an ordinary member of the House of Lords, he will be entitled to a basic subsistence allowance of £300 a day. The public will be appalled that given his personal behaviour as deputy speaker, he should continue to receive public funds.’

Call for answers: David Cameron, speaking in Jakarta, said there should be a full investigation into the conduct of the disgraced peer

Call for answers: David Cameron, speaking in Jakarta, said there should be a full investigation into the conduct of the disgraced peer

LORD SEWEL: ‘THERE IS A REAL PROBLEM WITH MPS AND BOYS’ 

Lord Sewel told prostitutes that there was a ‘real problem’ with MPs sleeping with ‘boys’.

One of the sex workers is heard asking whether he is the only politicians meeting with sex workers in his spare time.

He said: ‘I think there’s all sorts of things going on. Not in a great way — not with women. I think the real problem is with you know, erm, boys’.

The flat where Lord Sewel hosted his drug and sex party is in a building at the centre of the police investigation into a VIP child sex ring.

Officers began looking into claims last year that for years, prominent figures including VIPs, Whitehall officials and MPs plied young boys from local care homes with alcohol before ferrying them to flats at Dolphin Square where they were abused.

Lord Sewel has a studio apartment at the 7.5-acre estate in Pimlico, central London, which is popular with MPs and peers because it is a short walk from Westminster. There is also a restaurant, spa and fitness centre.

One victim of the historic abuse allegations, which date back to the Seventies, told police he had visited Dolphin Square at least ten times.

Former home secretary Leon Brittan, who died in January, was accused of hiding a dossier naming eight MPs as members of the sex ring. Cyril Smith, the former Liberal MP, and Sir Peter Morrison, Margaret Thatcher’s private secretary, have been implicated. 

Sparsely furnished, with an old-fashioned TV and a single daybed against the wall, Sewel’s flat is one of 1,250 built in 1937 for those ‘notable in public life or society’.

In the footage filmed at the flat, he claimed to have slept with 13 women at the studio, including a Labour member with whom he had an affair. He boasted about living in the same flats as Keeler, and said: ‘A Tory MP was found dead in his flat. I think he strangled himself to get a sexual high.’

Kevin Barron, a Labour MP and chairman of the Commons committee on standards, said: ‘I welcome his decision to resign from his committee. Under the circumstances, he’s hardly in a position to sit in judgment on people.’ 

Asked whether he should consider resigning his Lords seat, Mr Barron replied: ‘It does look bad. It’s a matter for the individual but I think maybe he should consider that.’

Former anti-sleaze MP Martin Bell said: ‘His position in the House of Lords is untenable.’

John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, said: ‘He should immediately retire and never be seen in the Lords again. Public respect for Parliament couldn’t be any lower as it is.

‘If he doesn’t resign, his own committee will have no choice but to suspend him. He’ll end up in front of his own committee, which is absurd.

‘He has been a real barrier to transparency. His committee refuses to act on virtually anything, and notoriously so.’

The Lords code maintains that members must ‘always act on their personal honour’. 

Sewel was elected chairman of committees in 2012, and he also served as chairman of the conduct committee. 

In that job he drew up a code of conduct that insists on ‘selflessness, integrity, accountability, openness, honest and leadership’.

Baroness D’Souza, the Lords Speaker, branded his behaviour ‘shocking and unacceptable’ and said she would be calling in Scotland Yard.

Police sources indicated they would assess the evidence but pointed out that drug-taking allegations were notoriously difficult to prove when there is only video evidence.

The peer was caught on the film, which was given to the Sun on Sunday, snorting lines of white powder – believed to be cocaine. He is also heard complaining that he struggles to afford the £1,000 a month rent on his flat.

He is asked whether he receives expenses, and suggests that he gets a flat-rate allowance of £200 a day. In fact, the allowance for Lords is £300 a day, and did not apply to Sewel as he was a salaried member. 

He may have been talking about the officeholder’s allowance, which is worth £36,000 a year. He was entitled to this payment, which covers housing costs, because he had declared his main residence to be in Aberdeenshire.

Sewel was made a life peer by Mr Blair and helped push through an important convention relating to Scottish devolution. He is now non affiliated.

Before the new legislation of July 16, lords could only expel colleagues sentenced to more than a year in jail – or impose a suspension for the remainder of the parliamentary term.

But the new powers means suspensions can be imposed for any period and, for the first time, the upper house can boot out peers at will.

I just want to be led astray, Labour Lord begged his £200-a-night prostitutes

Hunched over a table with a rolled banknote stuffed up his nose, these pictures show Lord Sewel snorting a line of cocaine during an orgy with a pair of £200-a-night call girls.

The photos – from film secretly taken by the prostitutes at his flat near Parliament – lay bare the peer’s depravity.

The sequence begins with Sewel removing a blue packet of white powder from inside a drinks bottle.

The substance – believed to be the Class A drug cocaine – is then cut into neat lines on a table littered with wine glasses and cigarettes. 

Drugs: Lord Sewel, 69, removes a packet of white powder believed to be cocaine from a drinks bottle with a pile of rolled up bank notes in his Dolphin Square flat 

Drugs: Lord Sewel, 69, removes a packet of white powder believed to be cocaine from a drinks bottle with a pile of rolled up bank notes in his Dolphin Square flat 

Wearing his wedding ring and spectacles, the 69-year-old peer then bends forward and inhales deeply. ‘There we are,’ he says, leaning back and laying his £5 note back on the table.

The married father of four, is also seen downing champagne and vodka before snorting another line from one of the women’s breasts. Both call girls are 45 years his junior.

The two prostitutes handed their 45-minute footage to the Sun on Sunday and it is now at the centre of a police investigation.

A further extraordinary picture was published by the newspaper today, showing Sewel wearing the orange bra and leather jacket of one of the prostitutes.

His sex party kicked off at 10pm last Wednesday when, wearing just a towel, he answered the door of his studio flat in Pimlico, to the two women.

‘Bloody hell I’d given up. S***. Bloody hell you’re late,’ he says, before smacking one of them on the bottom and declaring: ‘Happy days are here again.’

Inside the sparsely furnished studio apartment at the notorious Dolphin Square complex, the trio can been seen sitting round a table smoking and drinking.

In the background is an old-fashioned television, DVD player and a modest, single day bed.

When one of the women asks him ‘How bad do you want to be tonight then?’ Sewel replies: ‘I just want to be led astray’ before turning a framed photo of his wife, Jennifer, 54, face down on a table.

He allegedly snorts three lines of cocaine even though he claims to be ‘taking it easy’ because of a blood test the next day.

The video was filmed in Nelson House in Dolphin Square, which lies in the shadow of Westminster
The photos – from film secretly taken by the prostitutes at his flat near Parliament (pictured) – lay bare the peer’s depravity

Sex party: The video was filmed in Nelson House in Dolphin Square, which lies in the shadow of Westminster

Sewel begins the night by saying: ‘What shows up in blood tests? I can’t do substances because it can kill me.’ One of the girls says: ‘You were really naughty the other night. You really, really were.’ He responds: ‘I know.’

As the three chat in his studio, Sewel can be heard asking: ‘What about trying the big one?’ One of the girls replies: ‘What’s the big one?’

Sewel, who at this point is wearing an open-collar shirt and beige trousers, says: ‘Um, it comes in a can and it’s got, has it got Pepsi?

‘No, it’s not Pepsi, it’s another word rather than Pepsi cola. It’s Coca-Cola – forget the Cola.’ This is an obvious reference to the slang term for cocaine, ‘coke’. ‘So you want to get some coke?,’ one of the women asks. ‘Well, I mean, if people would enjoy a little,’ he replies, gesturing and wandering around the room.

He can then be seen sitting down at the table and pulling out a small blue package containing white powder from the top of a soft drinks bottle. A cigarette in hand, he unwraps the package while moaning about receiving only a £200-a-day allowance for attending the House of Lords.

One of the call girls then cuts the powder into neat lines and he says: ‘I’ll only have the smallest’ before launching into a rant about how he usually takes his drugs with a £10 banknote.

‘Have you ever noticed before, when this has occurred previously, I have provided usually a ten pound note?’ he asks. ‘It’s rolled up and so in the morning at least I’ve got enough to buy me some breakfast. The rolled-up note disappears, it goes.’

When one of the women asks if he is accusing them of theft, Sewel replies: ‘Yes.’

One of the prostitutes then calls his line ‘ridiculously big’ but Sewel replies ‘I’ll do that.’ He can then be seen, hunched over a dining table with a rolled-up £5 note in his left hand – his wedding ring on display – sniffing the white powder up his left nostril.

Sewel, who is Chairman of the Privileges and Conduct committee, announced the House of Lords' (file photo) new powers to expel Lords if they breached the code of conduct. He may now be expelled under his own rules

Sewel, who is Chairman of the Privileges and Conduct committee, announced the House of Lords’ (file photo) new powers to expel Lords if they breached the code of conduct. He may now be expelled under his own rules

‘There we are’ he says afterwards, leaning back in his chair. In a shocking racist outburst, Sewel, who has two children and two stepchildren, then starts moaning that he does not have any ‘nice little young Asian’ women at the party. ‘They sort of look innocent but you know they’re whores,’ he says before laughing and adding: ‘That’s a really nice combination isn’t it?’

‘Oh, we could do with some nice little young Asian lady tonight I would’ve thought. But never mind.’

One of the women asks the peer: ‘What is your deal with the Asian ladies? What do you like about them?’ He replies: ‘Well, I don’t know. As I go around London on the Tube from time to time, I think that they’re slim. Many of them are quite attractive I thought. Not that I’ve ever sort of dabbled.’

He then appears to snort another line off the table before stripping off and parading around the small flat. Minutes later, he is seen lying naked on the bed and calls one of the women over. He then pulls down her top and snorts another line off her breast before stroking and pawing at both women. The video shows Sewel sitting back with the rolled-up banknote still up his nostril.

He pays one of the women £200 in cash. Still pictures from the footage show him sitting topless at the table writing out a £200 cheque to the other woman.

EX-BLAIR CRONY WHO MARRIED THREE TIMES: THE LIFE OF LORD SEWEL

Baron Sewel insisted on turning a framed photo of his wife face-down during his sex games with two call girls, it is alleged.

The thrice-married peer, 69, also kept his wedding ring on while snorting drugs during sex sessions at the London flat he jointly leases with his third wife, Jennifer, aged 54.

The couple, who live in Aberdeen, married in 2005. A former civil servant, Lady Sewel is now a director at Aberdeen University.

Her bespectacled husband has seemingly enjoyed a colourful love life.

Lady Jennifer
Baron John Sewel, who has been married three times, apparently insisted on turning a framed photograph of his third wife Lady Jennifer face-down before engaging in the alleged drug-fuelled sex romp

Baron John Sewel (right), who has been married three times, apparently insisted on turning a framed photograph of his third wife Lady Jennifer (left) face-down before engaging in the drug-fuelled sex romp

He married his first wife, Rosemary Langeland, now 69, in Malvern, Worcestershire, in 1968, and the couple went on to have two children, Thomas, 38, and Kate, 36. In 1988, Sewel married second wife Leonora Harding, 70, a clinical psychologist, in Aberdeen.

He lives with his third wife at a £1.2million home in the town of Banchory, 18 miles west of Aberdeen.

His wife’s two children from a previous marriage appear to have taken Sewel’s name. A woman who answered the door at the Banchory house yesterday said the couple were in London.

Until yesterday’s revelations, Lord Sewel was a respected academic and politician instrumental in helping Tony Blair push through Scottish devolution. In 1997 the then prime minister made him a Labour minister for Scotland to help draft plans for the new Scottish Parliament.

This is how he gave his name to so-called Sewel Motions, which dictate that the national Parliament cannot pass laws affecting Scotland without the Scottish government’s agreement.

After guiding the Scotland Act through he failed to win a seat in the Scottish parliament. He was dropped from government and left to languish in the House of Lords.

In an interview he once joked that even his mother wanted him to get a ‘proper job’. ‘I’ve been an academic and a politician all my life. But even when I became a lord my mum used to say, ‘Why can’t you get a proper job?’ ‘

Family home: Sewel lives with his third wife at this £1.2million house in Banchory, 18 miles west of Aberdeen

Family home: Sewel lives with his third wife at this £1.2million house in Banchory, 18 miles west of Aberdeen

In 2012 he was made chairman of committees, responsible for overseeing standards of behaviour among peers.

He recently announced new powers to expel peers if they misbehave. Ironically, these same rules could now be used to banish him. Writing about these changes on the Huffington Post website this month, he said; ‘The actions of a few damage our reputation. Scandals make good headlines.

‘All members now sign a declaration to obey the code and the seven principles of public life. The requirement that members must always act on their personal honour has been reinforced.

‘No system of regulation can be perfect, but the House of Lords has come a long way since 2010 in improving its regulation of its members and punishing the small number who misbehave. 

Today’s new sanctions strengthen the regime further.’ The peer was born John Buttifant Sewel in Hackney, East London, in 1946. His parents, Leonard and Hilda, were social workers.

He studied politics and sociology at Durham University and carried out research at Swansea University before joining Aberdeen University as a professor.

He became involved with the local Labour Party and was on Aberdeen District Council for ten years from 1974, three as Labour leader.

He went on to become vice principal and dean of the faculty of social sciences and law at Aberdeen University and was made a Labour peer in 1995.

How disgraced peer savaged top politicians branding Cameron ‘superficial’, Boris ‘an upper class twit’ and Salmond a ‘pompous prat’

Lord Sewel turned on Britain’s top politicians after his cocaine-fuelled session with £200-a-night prostitutes, it was revealed today.

The disgraced peer was filmed drinking vodka as he told the sex workers that David Cameron is branded ‘the most facile, superficial Prime Minister there’s ever been’.

He added: ‘He just shoots from the hip. He is false. He makes one-off commitments and cannot deliver’.

Verdicts: Sewel said David Cameron is ‘the most facile, superficial Prime Minister there’s ever been’ and Boris Johnson is ‘a joke’ and a ‘public school upper class twit’

Critical: Sewel then went on to call former First Minister Alex Salmond as a 'silly, pompous prat'

Critical: Sewel then went on to call former First Minister Alex Salmond as a ‘silly, pompous prat’

The conversation was captured on camera at Lord Sewel’s flat in Dolphin Square, Pimlico, a couple of miles from Parliament. 

A bottle of what appears to be vodka sits on the table while Lord Sewel drinks from a glass at various points during his conversation with the women.

He labels Mayor of London Boris Johnson ‘a joke’ and a ‘public school upper class twit’.

He said: ‘Can you present Boris Johnson in Preston, in Burnley, in Manchester? No, they just think he’s an a******’.

He said that Scottish MP and former First Minister Alex Salmond as a ‘silly, pompous prat’, in footage from The Sun.

He said: ‘I saw him on a flight recently and the sill pompous prat was holding court’.

Asked by one of the women, whose voice is disguised, about former Labour prime minister Tony Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq, Lord Sewel says the ex-party leader did so ‘because he fell in love with George Bush’.

He said his former boss has made ‘lots and lots of money’ since leaving office and believe his wife Cherie is the driving force behind it.

He said: ‘He’s made tens of millions. I think it is a very strange relationship between him and Cherie. She is very ambitious. She is the one obsessed with money’. 

The newspaper also reports that Lord Sewel said the Labour leadership race is ‘in a f****** mess’.

He called Jeremy Corbyn ‘a romantic idiot’, the paper said, adding: ‘This guy is in favour of immigration, high welfare spending. He’s a typical romantic idiot. Useless’.

He claimed Andy Burnham has been ‘terribly contradictory’ and ‘goes whichever way the wind is blowing’.

Damning: Sewel, who helped Tony Blair with Scotland's devolution, said the candidates for the Labour leadership election 'an absolutely hopeless set of choices'

Damning: Sewel, who helped Tony Blair with Scotland’s devolution, said the candidates for the Labour leadership election ‘an absolutely hopeless set of choices’

His judgement of Yvette Cooper was that she is ‘okay but not strong’, while he appeared to forget Liz Kendall’s name, describing her as ‘a Blair supporter who is just too naive’.

And on the election in general he said: ‘So, an absolutely hopeless set of choices. There’s nobody bright enough, or who has the leadership qualities, to bring it off.’ 

He also said Labour needed to ‘minimalise the influence’ of the unions, including Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, who he regards as a ‘f****** idiot’.

 He added he believed ‘consummate politician’ George Osborne will be the next Prime Minister.

Xmas Holidays

Jeremy Corbyn with Tom Watson as his deputy would make Labour the Tom and Jerry party

By

Stephen Pollard For The Mail On Sunday


Published:
19:41 EST, 25 July 2015

|
Updated:
05:49 EST, 26 July 2015

Cartoons aren’t usually the best guide to politics. No one looks to Road Runner for guidance on transport policy. And Mary, Mungo And Midge isn’t much of a primer for family policy.

But it now looks as though the most classic cartoon series of them all is going to prove the exception.

Because if you want a guide to how the Labour Party is going to operate when it elects its new leadership on September 12, you could do worse than watch Tom And Jerry.

If the polls are right, the next leader of the Labour Party is going to be Jeremy Corbyn, and his deputy Tom Watson – that’s Tom and Jerry.

According to a YouGov poll of people with a vote in the Labour leadership election, a man who calls Hamas terrorists ‘friends’, who thinks we should nationalise the banks, who believes profit is a dirty word, and who makes Greece’s Syriza party seem rational is about to win the Labour leadership.

If the polls are right, the next leader of the Labour Party is going to be Jeremy Corbyn (left), and his deputy Tom Watson (right) – that's Tom and Jerry, according to political biographer Stephen Pollard
If the polls are right, the next leader of the Labour Party is going to be Jeremy Corbyn (left), and his deputy Tom Watson (right) – that's Tom and Jerry, according to political biographer Stephen Pollard

If the polls are right, the next leader of the Labour Party is going to be Jeremy Corbyn (left), and his deputy Tom Watson (right) – that’s Tom and Jerry, according to political biographer Stephen Pollard

'He [Corbyn] is now a near-certainty to become deputy leader, and Labour to be ruled by its own Tom and Jerry,' writes Pollard

‘He [Corbyn] is now a near-certainty to become deputy leader, and Labour to be ruled by its own Tom and Jerry,’ writes Pollard

If that really does happen, it’s not merely that Labour would not stand any chance of winning the 2020 Election, it’s that the party would probably cease to exist, at least in anything resembling its present form.

No wonder Tony Blair was so utterly scathing last week about those who support Mr Corbyn: ‘When people say, ‘My heart says I should really be with that politics,’ well, get a transplant.’

It’s not as if Mr Blair knows much about how Labour can make itself electable, after all. It was only three landslide victories that he won.

But although the party’s impending Corbyn nightmare may be less than 50 days away, there’s another aspect to the leadership contest that has received almost no attention but is, in its own way, almost as awful a prospect.

The same poll that showed Corbyn ahead on 43 per cent of the votes, with Andy Burnham on just 26 per cent and the other two candidates even further behind, also looked at the deputy leadership contest.

And that poll revealed Tom Watson is on 42 per cent, miles ahead of fellow MP Stella Creasy on 21 per cent.

You might not think that the deputy leadership matters all that much. But in politics it’s the fixers who operate behind the scenes who are often the most powerful figures. Sometimes they exercise that power for good or for their boss; usually they use it for their own ends.

Corbyn (pictured) described the Hamas terror group as his 'friends' and thinks we should nationalise the banks

Corbyn (pictured) described the Hamas terror group as his ‘friends’ and thinks we should nationalise the banks

The American version of the BBC drama House Of Cards is about a vice-president played by Kevin Spacey who plots and manoeuvres his way to power. The president is effectively there in name only, as the Machiavellian wiles of his deputy run rings round him.

Life may not imitate art, but art can certainly illustrate life – and the combination of Tom and Jerry will be toxic for Labour.

For most of his career, Tom Watson was the epitome of the smoked-filled room operator who rarely emerged from the shadows. In recent years he has been a much more public figure.

He has – rather admirably – pushed the issue of child abuse, highlighting in Parliament allegations of an Establishment paedophile ring and helping force an inquiry. But it was as a member of the Culture Select Committee that he made his real impact, pushing the issue of phone hacking.

There does, however, appear to be a more sinister side to his view of the press – his views go beyond simply clearing up and punishing criminal behaviour. Mr Watson supports the Royal Charter that would, in effect, censor the press, and turn a vibrant, effective and campaigning industry into a docile shadow of what a free press really means.

But for all the public campaigns, the word fixer might have been coined just to describe Tom Watson, a man who lives and breathes political plots.

As a former trades union organiser, who once shared a flat with Len McCluskey – the Unite boss whose union gives more money to Labour than any other donor and who behaves as if the party is his personal fiefdom – Tom Watson has plotted and fixed for his entire working life.

According to a YouGov poll of people with a vote in the Labour leadership election, Corbyn (left) is will be the party's next leader - beating the likes of Andy Burnham (right) and Yvette Cooper (second from left)

According to a YouGov poll of people with a vote in the Labour leadership election, Corbyn (left) is will be the party’s next leader – beating the likes of Andy Burnham (right) and Yvette Cooper (second from left)

But at first sight his record appears to be one of almost total incompetence. In 2006, he resigned as a Minister in order to call for Tony Blair to quit so that Mr Watson’s man, Gordon Brown, could take the helm.

Mr Watson had long been one of the agitators who worked unofficially for Brown to undermine Blair. After he resigned, it emerged that he had visited Brown at his home in Scotland, just before stepping down. He denied any plot – somehow keeping a straight face as he did so.

Under Ed Miliband, he was made campaign organiser, in which job he managed to lose one of the party’s safest seats, Bradford West, to George Galloway.

And then he was forced to resign in a scandal over the selection of a candidate in Falkirk, as Unite was accused of hijacking the process to impose its favourite – who happened to be Mr Watson’s office manager. In his resignation letter he wrote that some in the party had not forgiven him for resigning in 2006, and added: ‘I fully accept the consequences of that decision and hope my departure allows the party to move on.’

Move ON! He is now a near-certainty to become deputy leader, and Labour to be ruled by its own Tom and Jerry. If you recall, every Tom And Jerry cartoon is a variation of the same plot. And that plot is not so much a metaphor for Labour under Tom Watson and Jeremy Corbyn as something that will come to be seen as a piece of contemporary history.

Tom the cat chases Jerry the mouse. Wily Tom comes up with all sorts of plots and manoeuvres to trap Jerry, who is something of an innocent.

For all Tom’s tricks, Jerry manages to cling on to life – and Tom never gets his way. But in trying, the two of them get into all sorts of scrapes. Utter disaster is always imminent.

As for the grown-ups – the adults who could put a stop to all this chaos if they chose to –they’re just not involved.

We sometimes see their legs or their shadows, so we know they do actually exist. But they might as well not be there, since they have no impact on the chaos that Tom and Jerry keep causing in their house.

And then, at the end, when Tom and Jerry have done their worst, the whole show stops. Finished. It’s over. They’ve reached the point of no return.

As the classic finale to many cartoons of that era put it: ‘That’s all, folks!’

Xmas Holidays