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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.

TEN new animals and plants arrive in Britain each year

  • Invasive foreign animals and plants are costing the economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year
  • Watchdog says ten new alien species arrive in Britain each year causing catastrophic problems
  • Japanese knotweed and killer shrimp are among those damaging ecosystems

By
Ben Spencer


Published:

17:24 EST, 15 April 2014


|
Updated:

03:29 EST, 16 April 2014

Invasive foreign animals and plants such as oak processionary moths, Japanese knotweed and killer shrimp are a spiralling problem that the Government is failing to deal with, a panel of MPs has found.

Ten new alien species are arriving in Britain each year and many cause catastrophic problems, according to Parliament’s green watchdog.

The Environmental Audit Committee today publishes a report on the problem, which is costing the economy hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

The worst foreign intruders that are causing 'catastrophic' problems for he Government to deal with

The worst foreign intruders that are causing ‘catastrophic’ problems for he Government to deal with

Some 1,875 non-native species were counted in the UK in 2012, of which 282 had become ‘invasive’, the report found.

Newcomers including North American signal crayfish, killer shrimp and zebra mussels are having a huge impact on native species, as well as human health and business, the MPs said.

Joan Walley, the committee’s chairman, said there are more non-native species than ever before.

Japanese knotweed is causing damage costing £165million to tackle

Japanese knotweed is causing damage costing £165million to tackle

She said: ‘Not all of these species will become “invasive”, but the ones that do can harm native wildlife, clog up our waterways, cause costly problems for homeowners and sometimes even harm human health.

‘It is too expensive to control or eradicate all invasive species, so we have to be smart and pick fights we know we can win.

We may just have to live with grey squirrels and rhododendrons in much of the UK, but we can and must control other invasive species – like the killer shrimp devastating eco-systems in rivers and lakes.’

The committee is calling for a change in the law that would give the Government new powers to eradicate invasive species before they become established.

The oak processionary moth caterpillar's toxic hairs cause breathing problems

Killer shrimp are eating native shrimp and are spreading though the south from the Caspian Sea

The oak processionary moth, left, and killer shrimp, right, are among those species having a huge impact on speices native to Britain

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prohibits releasing non-native species to the wild, but no one has been prosecuted under the law.

The MPs believe that ministers should follow the example set by Scotland’s Government, which has passed laws allowing environment officers to enter any land where they suspect invasive species are creating a problem.

Some non-native animals have caused profound change, such as the replacement of red squirrels by grey squirrels in most of Britain.

'Next door's knotweed has annexed our back garden'

Grey squirrels do £10million of damage to trees a year, the report found, while it costs £165million a year to battle Japanese knotweed.

The European Environment Agency estimates invasive species cost EU countries £10billion a year, while it cost £11million to clear just one national park in Wales of invasive rhododendron.

Some species also affect health. Giant hogweed has given anglers skin inflammations, while common ragweed pollen causes asthma. The Asian hornet, yet to enter Britain, has killed six people in France.

Austin Brady, of the Woodland Trust, said: ‘Continued targeted management of invasive species such as rhododendron and grey squirrels must be supported at government level.’

The invaders can damage ancient woods and carry disease, he said.

‘To leave them unchecked in the long term would be a real failure to safeguard our natural heritage.’

Xmas Holidays

Christopher Stevens on last night’s TV: Why llama dung should have been Churchill’s secret weapon

By
Christopher Stevens


Published:

19:55 EST, 15 April 2014


|
Updated:

03:28 EST, 16 April 2014

THE BIG ALLOTMENT CHALLENGE BBC2



Rating: 3 Star Rating

You can bet a pea to a pound of King Edwards that the Beeb’s latest
cut-throat hobbyist competition began under the banner of The Great
British Allotment Challenge.

And somebody rebelled. Somebody in a
backroom stood up for creativity, and protested that every third
programme on Auntie’s schedules is dubbed the Great British
Something-or-other.

The phrase has passed beyond cliche and into the
realm of laughing stock.

But with that protest made, the spark of
originality spluttered and died.

The series is just called The Big
Allotment Challenge (BBC2)
.

Fern Britton was a perfect choice for presenter, no-nonsense but kindly, the living template of a nice lady from the WI

Fern Britton was a perfect choice for presenter, no-nonsense but kindly, the living template of a nice lady from the WI

It’s a missed opportunity, because any
headline writer will tell you there’s a ready-made title begging to be
stamped on this contest, where nine pairs of gardeners battle it out to
grow prize fruit and veg — Dig For Victory!

That name is particularly
apt, and not only because one pair of growers is eliminated each week,
as a civilised pastime descends into ruthless marquee-tent combat.

Our
passion for allotments started during World War I, when families were
urged to feed themselves instead of relying on imports.

Self-sufficiency
was even more vital during World War II, with U-boats attacking the
Atlantic convoys.

‘We must plough up the land,’ urged Churchill in
1940, ‘we must organise our agriculture, we must grow our own food.’
Winston didn’t add that we should fertilise our furrows with llama dung,
but as one pair of competitors explained last night, there’s nothing
better for instant compost.

Less messy than horse manure, and far
cheaper than those liquid chemicals on sale in garden centres, llama
droppings are apparently ideal for your rosebeds.

Any show that can
deliver tips like that ought to have us riveted to our sofas.

It got
better, with shots of butterflies flitting through a Victorian walled
garden in Mapledurham, Oxfordshire, where the allotments were laid out.

The nine plots soon began to flourish — one duo even imported their own
earthworms.

Fern Britton was a perfect choice for presenter,
no-nonsense but kindly, the living template of a nice lady from the WI.

Ed and Alex who are contestants on BBC2's new programme The Big Allotment Challenge

Ed and Alex who are contestants on BBC2′s new programme The Big Allotment Challenge

And the judges were an engaging bunch, especially royal gardener Jim
Buttress, who used to grow the Queen Mum’s flowers at Clarence House.

This
was looking like near-perfect television — but then that creativity
failure struck again.

The producers decided to stick doggedly to the
Bake-Off format, with three challenges per show and one eviction.

That
works with a spectacular four-storey chocolate cake.

It doesn’t work
with radishes, because even the firmest, reddest radish is, frankly, an
unappetising sight.

The judges were an engaging bunch, especially royal gardener Jim Buttress, who used to grow the Queen Mum¿s flowers at Clarence House

The judges were an engaging bunch, especially royal gardener Jim Buttress, who used to grow the Queen Mum¿s flowers at Clarence House

There was too much emphasis on the judging, and not
enough on the growing. The second half passed in a blur of rosettes,
though there were flashes of a killer competitive instinct from a couple
of growers.

Film buffs will know this wasn’t the first time
Mapledurham has seen cold-blooded war.

The Eagle Has Landed, a thriller
with Michael Caine about the plot to assassinate Churchill, was shot
here.

Perhaps Nazi high command decided to target the old bulldog while
he was tending his allotment.

Churchill was an inspiration to Maurice
Forsyth Grant, a Scottish landowner who sold his family castle to a
developer and then watched in frustration as it went to ruin.

He told
his story on The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door (C5): ‘We shall never
surrender,’ he rumbled, like Winnie, but you couldn’t help feeling he’d
lost that particular war the day he sold the castle.

Worse was
suffered by Richard and Philomena, in Streatham Village, London, whose
retirement was wrecked when squatters moved in next-door.

Richard and Philomena Chadwick standing outside the house next door to where squatters are living

Richard and Philomena Chadwick standing outside the house next door to where squatters are living

They couldn’t
open their bedroom curtains without confronting yobs taking shortcuts
across their garden wall or sitting on the rooftop playing the bongos.


They can’t even move — their property is unsaleable, thanks to the
squatters.

While we’re on the subject of Great British traditions . . . whatever happened to the right to a bit of peace and quiet?

Xmas Holidays

Stolen prize Chihuahuas worth £32,000 are FOUND abandoned in dog cage

  • The five stolen dogs were found in Culcheth, Cheshire
  • Xena was named Best Puppy in Breed at Crufts 2014 last month
  • She was snatched with four other dogs from a house in East Yorkshire
  • They include Xena’s grandmother Angel and mother Io
  • Xena is worth £20,000 while the others are worth £3,000 each

By
Leon Watson


Published:

21:45 EST, 14 April 2014


|
Updated:

04:12 EST, 15 April 2014

Five stolen chihuahuas including a Crufts champion worth £20,000 have been reunited with their owners after being found 130 miles from home.

Valenchino Chihuahua Xena, who was named Best Puppy in Breed at Crufts 2014, was snatched with four other dogs from a house in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, on Thursday.

After a nationwide hunt was launched to track them down they were finally found in a portable dog cage in Culcheth, Cheshire.

Back home: Xena was named Best Puppy in Breed at last month's Crufts and is worth £20,000

Back home: Xena was named Best Puppy in Breed at last month’s Crufts and is worth £20,000

Unhurt: Xena may have been targeted for breeding because her puppies would be worth thousands of pounds

Unhurt: Xena may have been targeted for breeding because her puppies would be worth thousands of pounds

Owners Mal Hilton and his partner Lucy Hilton were left devastated by the theft of Xena, her grandmother Angel and her mother Io, as well as two others called Pandora and Evie.

Last night the Hiltons told of their relief when they heard the prized pets had been found unhurt, but ‘traumatised’.

Mr Hilton said: ‘We’ve not slept since the burglary – fearing we’d never see them again. Our kids cried non-stop.’

Mrs Hilton told The Sun: ‘We’ll never leave them again.’

The dogs were found in Cheshire, 130 miles away from their home in Bridlington, East Yorkshire

The dogs were found in Cheshire, 130 miles away from their home in Bridlington, East Yorkshire

Expensive: Xena's mother Io is worth £3,000 and was one of five chihuahuas stolen in the raid

Expensive: Xena’s mother Io is worth £3,000 and was one of five chihuahuas stolen in the raid

The grandmother of Crufts champion Xena, Angel, who was also stolen by the thieves in East Yorkshire

The grandmother of Crufts champion Xena, Angel, who was also stolen by the thieves in East Yorkshire

Jogger Mark McCombe, 29, heard them barking by a farm track and took them home. He then rang police.

The raiders broke into the Hiltons’ house in the village of Lissett, near Driffield, by smashing a window with an iron bar.

Xena is worth £20,000 while the others are worth £3,000 each.

Fourteen-month-old fawn longcoat Xena, whose show name is Valenchino Made of Candy, has won at many shows but her crowning glory was being named Best Puppy in Breed at Crufts last month.

She has also qualified for Crufts 2015.

Humberside Police said investigations will continue.

Mystery: Pandora, a Russian tri smooth coat, one of the chihuahuas stolen in the raid in Yorkshire

Mystery: Pandora, a Russian tri smooth coat, one of the chihuahuas stolen in the raid in Yorkshire

Abandoned: A white long coat chihuahua called Evie which was was snatched with four other dogs

Abandoned: A white long coat chihuahua called Evie which was was snatched with four other dogs

Xmas Holidays

Drivers hit with £150k in CCTV spot fines a day

  • Authorities gave out £310m in fines over last five years
  • Number of councils using CCTV has risen by 90 per cent
  • MP says using CCTV to catch parking violations should be ‘banned’

By
Daily Mail Reporter


Published:

19:55 EST, 14 April 2014


|
Updated:

04:11 EST, 15 April 2014

Ministers are expected to curb the use of CCTV cameras that 'raise money in industrial volumes' within months

Ministers are expected to curb the use of CCTV cameras that ‘raise money in industrial volumes’ within months

Motorists are hit with £150,000 a day in spot fines from council CCTV cameras, a report reveals.

Fixed and vehicle-mounted cameras, often justified on the grounds that they deter crime, are instead being used to fleece motorists, campaigners said.

Some 400 town halls gave out £310million of traffic and parking fines in the last five years – equivalent to more than 6.5million tickets, said campaign group Big Brother Watch.

It named Camden in North London the worst offender and said the number of councils using CCTV cars had now risen by 90 per cent.

However, councils accused the group of ‘peddling myths’ and said cameras improve safety.

Tony Porter, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, said the use of traffic cameras should fall as councils have to comply with a new code of practice for CCTV.

Ministers are expected to curb the use of CCTV cameras that ‘raise money in industrial volumes’ within months.

There are at least 36 local authorities using static CCTV to capture traffic offences and at least 58 local authorities using CCTV cars, Big Brother Watch found.

The number of local authorities using CCTV cars has increased by 87 per cent since 2009. MP Nick de Bois, who wrote the report’s foreword, said: ‘CCTV should only ever be used in exceptional circumstances, and therefore I agree with the Government that local authority use of CCTV for parking enforcement should be banned.’

London boroughs accounted for around 90 per cent, or £285 million, of revenues raised through CCTV cameras, Big Brother Watch said.

The top five highest revenue-raising councils were Camden, Ealing, Lambeth, Westminster and Harrow.

A Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, published by the Government, highlights the need to use CCTV for traffic offences ‘sparingly’, the campaigners said.

London boroughs accounted for around 90 per cent, or £285 million, of revenues raised through CCTV cameras, Big Brother Watch said

London boroughs accounted for around 90 per cent, or £285 million, of revenues raised through CCTV cameras, Big Brother Watch said

The report also highlights that some tickets may be potentially illegal, in circumstances where they have been issued by a traffic warden in a CCTV control room without the proper legal process being followed under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act for directed surveillance.

Emma Carr, deputy director of Big Brother Watch, said: ‘The Government rightly wants to reign in this unjustified surveillance, so councils are turning to desperate arguments about public safety to justify their cameras, despite having absolutely no evidence to back up their claims.

‘The use of CCTV and spy cars for parking enforcement should be banned. The fact that no councils publish proper statistics about how these cameras are used highlights that many know that their CCTV operation is about raising money, not about public safety.

A parking enforcement car at London's Kings Cross

A parking enforcement car at London’s Kings Cross

‘The Government should urgently investigate whether or not the use of cameras to snoop on motorists breaches surveillance laws, particularly where a traffic warden sits in a control room looking for motorists to ticket.’

Brandon Lewis, Minister for Local Government, said: ‘It is clear that CCTV is being used to raise money in industrial volumes for town halls, breaking the constitutional principle that fines should not be used as a source of revenue.

‘Unreasonable parking charges and fines push up hard-working people’s cost of living. If parking is too expensive or difficult, shoppers will drive to out of town supermarkets or just shop online, undermining the vitality of town centres and leading to ‘ghost town’ high streets.

Councillor Peter Box, chair of the Local Government Association’s Economy and Transport Board, said: ‘It is frustratingly familiar to hear Big Brother Watch again peddling the myth that councils are enforcing parking regulations just to raise money.

‘However, it is wholly inaccurate and misleading for them to claim councils are alone in warning about the dangers of banning the use of CCTV for parking enforcement.

‘Road safety campaigners, schools, disability and pedestrian charities and councils have all come together to warn the Government that banning CCTV parking enforcement will put school children and disabled pedestrians at risk and worsen road safety.’

Xmas Holidays

OAP burned after her e-cigarette ignites oxygen at Manchester hospital

  • Jean Booth is fighting for her life after setting fire to her oxygen tubes at Wythenshawe Hospital
  • An investigation has been launched into how it happened
  • This is not the first time e-cigarette use has resulted in injury
  • There are also concerns about the health impacts of the tobacco subsititue

By
Daily Mail Reporter


Published:

19:51 EST, 13 April 2014


|
Updated:

05:42 EST, 14 April 2014

A pensioner was seriously burned after her e-cigarette is thought to have ignited her oxygen supply in hospital.

Jean Booth, 65, was engulfed in flames on a ward at the Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, it was reported, and is fighting for her life after suffering severe burns to her scalp and face.

Mrs Booth was only in the hospital for a routine hip operation and hospital chiefs are investigating how the incident occurred in the early hours of Friday morning.

Scroll down for video

Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, when Jean Booth set fire to her oxygen tubes with the e-cigarette

Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, when Jean Booth set fire to her oxygen tubes with the e-cigarette

A recent study raises concerns that the 'healthier' option of e-cigarettes may still causes cancer in users

A recent study raises concerns that the ‘healthier’ option of e-cigarettes may still causes cancer in users

A relative of the retired cleaner told The Sun: ‘We’re all in total shock. Her face is completely burnt.

‘It’s covered up with bandages. She might be blinded. It’s absolutely horrendous.

‘We are not sure she will pull through. If she does she’ll have to go through loads of skin grafts.’

A spokesman for the hospital said last night: ‘We can confirm that an incident involving one patient in our care took place in the early hours of Friday.’

Last week a barmaid was slightly injured when an e-cigarette blew up while it was being charged near the bar of a pub in Richmond, North Yorkshire. Laura Baty, 18, turned away from the flames but was left with a burnt dress and a singed arm.

Around 1.3million people in the UK are thought to use e-cigarettes as consumers look for ‘healthier’ ways to continue smoking. Sales rose 340 per cent from £44million in 2012 to around £193million in 2013.

However, a recent study claimed that e-cigarettes may not actually be healthier than their tobacco counterparts.

Around 1.3million people in the UK are thought to use e-cigarettes as consumers look for 'healthier' ways to continue smoking

Last week, barmaid Laura Baty, was burnt when her e-cigarette exploded while it was charging

Last week, barmaid Laura Baty, was burnt when her e-cigarette exploded while it was charging

Scientists found ‘strikingly similar’ gene mutations in lung cells of those exposed to e-cigarettes and those of traditional smokers.

‘[E-cigarettes] may be safer, but our preliminary studies suggest that they may not be benign,’ said study author Avrum Spira, a genomics and lung cancer researcher at Boston University.

Mr Spria, who presented the study’s findings at the American Association of Cancer Research’s annual meeting last week, said he could not confirm or deny that e-cigarettes cause cancer, as the research is in its early stages. Further experiments are planned.

 

Xmas Holidays

London Marathon runner Mami Konneh Lahun goes missing before flight home

  • Mami Konneh Lahun, 24, was last seen after finishing 26.2 mile course
  • Scotland Yard says she is due to fly back to Sierra Leone today

By
Martin Robinson


Published:

02:15 EST, 14 April 2014


|
Updated:

05:40 EST, 14 April 2014

Missing: Mami Konneh Lahun, 24, who finished 20th in yesterday's London Marathon, has disappeared, Scotland Yard has said

Missing: Mami Konneh Lahun, 24, who finished 20th in yesterday’s London Marathon, has disappeared, Scotland Yard has said

A female athlete who finished 20th in the London Marathon before disappearing may have fled to avoid flying back to Sierra Leone.

Mami Konneh Lahun, 24, was last seen after finishing the 26.2 mile course yesterday and is due to return home today.

Police have put out an appeal after Miss Lahun failed to return to her temporary accommodation  in Greenwich yesterday.

MailOnline understands she was allowed into Britain to compete on a temporary visa.

The athlete, who is Sierra Leone’s fastest-ever 5,000 metre and 10,000 metre runner, last year won her country’s marathon and in neighbouring Liberia.

She is the first woman from Sierra Leone to have represented the country at the London Marathon.

Scotland Yard said she arrived in Britain a week ago to prepare for the marathon, and finished in just over 2 hours 46 minutes.

Detectives looking into her disappearance say she has no known links to the UK and does not have a mobile phone.

It came after the London Olympics in 2012, where dozens of athletes and coaches disappeared or claimed asylum after the Games.

The Mail revealed that seventy claimed political asylum after the Olympics and more than have were given refugee status.

Last year police admitted they were still looking for 21 people who just vanished, with one official saying that some had competed then ‘simply wandered off to make a better life’ in Britain.

Those who failed to return home were from countries including the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Cameroon and Sudan.

Start: Miss Lahun was part of the elite women's race, pictured here sprinting at the start on Blackheath yesterday

Start: Miss Lahun was part of the elite women’s race, pictured here sprinting at the start on Blackheath yesterday

Inquiry: The athlete was last seen after crossing the finishing line in The Mall yesterday and failed to appear at her accommodation in Greenwich

Inquiry: The athlete was last seen after crossing the finishing line in The Mall yesterday and failed to appear at her accommodation in Greenwich

Talented: Mami Konneh Lahun was part of the front pack in the elite women's race yesterday, finishing a creditable 20th in 2hrs 46mins

Talented: Mami Konneh Lahun was part of the front pack in the elite women’s race yesterday, finishing a creditable 20th in 2hrs 46mins

Among those believed to have claimed asylum were the Congolese judo coach Ibula Masengo, athletics director Guy Nkita and boxing trainer Blaise Bekwa.

The Eritrean athlete Weynay Ghebresilasie, 18, was one of four from his country to claim asylum before the Games finished. He said he was doing so because of ‘harsh conditions’ and ‘lack of basic human rights’ in Eritrea.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of  Mami Konneh Lahun asked to call 101, quoting reference 14MIS012462.

Home: Mami Konneh Lahun, 24, is the first female runner from Sierra Leone to represent her country in the London Marathon

Home: Mami Konneh Lahun, 24, is the first female runner from Sierra Leone to represent her country in the London Marathon

Xmas Holidays

The burning rage of Nigel Evans: In an emotional interview, cleared MP reveals his torment over ‘public execution’ in court

By
Simon Walters


Published:

16:25 EST, 12 April 2014


|
Updated:

02:53 EST, 13 April 2014

Exactly 24 hours since he burst into
tears in the dock when he was acquitted of charges of rape and sexual
assault, Tory MP Nigel Evans is still riding an emotional rollercoaster.


As we sit in the lounge of a large house owned by a friend of Evans,
overlooking the rolling Lancashire hills of his Ribble Valley
constituency, the mood of the former Commons Deputy Speaker veers from
anger to relief, levity, bitterness and reflection.

But
prod him gently and the fury soon rises to the surface again, as it
does when I suggest that if he had not behaved like a reckless fool late
at night in the gay drinking haunts of Westminster surrounded by
impressionable young men, he would never have got into all this
trouble.

'It didn't stack up': Nigel Evans talks to Simon Walters, Political Editor of the Mail on Sunday, about his trial

‘It didn’t stack up’: Nigel Evans talks to Simon Walters, Political Editor of the Mail on Sunday, about his trial

His piercing brown eyes
narrow as he replies: ‘What I faced during this trial was a very public
execution attempt. Totally callous.’

He
points at the window towards the hills on the horizon. ‘I live over
there in the foothills of Pendle Hill which was known for one thing:
witch-hunts.’

The word
is stabbed not spoken. ‘The witches of Pendle were captured there,
transported to Lancaster and executed in public. That is how I feel.’

His
rage is understandable after becoming the latest public figure to be
accused of sex crimes (some of which dated back a decade), to face
personal and financial ruin – and to be declared totally innocent at the
end of it all.

Mr Evans believes that the prosecution against him was a 'very public execution attempt' in addition to being 'totally callous'

Mr Evans believes that the prosecution against him was a ‘very public execution attempt’ in addition to being ‘totally callous’

Coincidentally, he is close
friends with several Coronation Street stars, including William Roache,
who survived a similar ordeal in the very same Preston Crown Court just
two months ago.

Evans would
never claim to be a statesman. ‘Good egg’ is the description most people
use to describe the affable, youthful, 56-year-old. It was support from
Labour MP pals that saw him elected as Deputy Speaker.

Evans knew that in all likelihood, it was the pinnacle of his career. Giving it up to clear his name broke his heart.

Being
cleared won’t win him back the job, or the £30,000 extra salary and
prestige, that went with it. It is a political life sentence.

Evans
doesn’t fit the Conservative stereotype. It’s partly his background –
he’s from a family of Swansea shopkeepers, and has a Welsh lilt rarely
heard from Tory lips.

After having his name cleared, Mr Evans launched a scathing attack on the Crown Prosecution Service

After having his name cleared, Mr Evans launched a scathing attack on the Crown Prosecution Service

You
can imagine him weighing the spuds behind the counter in a brown apron
as a lad, with a cheeky chappy smile, as indeed he did.

And he is among a minority of Conservatives his age who prefers denim at weekends to garish, public school pink cords.

Few
of his Westminster friends could tell you whether he is on the Tory
Right or Left. He is defined by his personality not his politics.

Hours
after the not guilty verdict, Evans was outraged to see the alleged
rape victim, in silhouetted form, repeating his claims on BBC2’s
Newsnight.

‘I couldn’t
believe it! This is the little wallflower who wouldn’t say boo to a
goose, whingeing about being asked questions by my barrister.’

Briefly,
it is as though his accuser is in the room, with Evans shouting him
down. ‘If you didn’t change your story so much .  .  . after a full
bloody trial Newsnight lets him go on TV and say how hard done by he
was.’

Evans’s ‘nightmare’
started at 7.30am on May 4 last year with a knock on the door of his
home in Pendleton.

Evans
opened the door, to be told by four policemen he had to go to Preston
police station to answer allegations of sexual assault. He went upstairs – followed to by the police – to tell a friend, Mark, who was staying with him.

‘Mark said to the policeman, “Is this an April Fool?” I said, “Mark, this isn’t an April Fool, it’s May”.’


Evans’s conversation is peppered with laughter. As the months went by,
the police uncovered more allegations and accusers, even though some did
not consider themselves victims.

‘The zealotry with which the police pursued it shocked me,’ he says.

Did he contemplate suicide during his 11-month ordeal? ‘Yes, in my darkest moments. The pressure and despair were so great.

When he was first approached by the police, the former Deputy Speaker was so taken aback by the accusations he thought the police presence was an April Fools joke

When he was first approached by the police, the former Deputy Speaker was so taken aback by the accusations he thought the police presence was an April Fools joke

Everything
had gone that was dear to me. The moment you get out of bed you are hit
by an Eddie Stobart truck over and again, every day.’

The MP is one of a generation of older Tories caught by the sea change in attitudes towards gays.

Growing up in the 1960s, ‘it was bad enough being the only gay in Swansea, never mind the only Tory’.

He recalls: ‘I knew I was gay from the age of about 11. Other boys had girlfriends, I wasn’t interested.’ 

When he decided to become an MP, it was impossible to be openly gay, certainly in the Conservative Party.

To
avoid lying to local Tory selection panels when he was asked if there
were ‘any skeletons’ in his cupboard – code, he says, for ‘are you gay?’
– he decided to stay in the closet, celibate.

He
was  suffocated by the overwhelming psychological and physical
frustration. But as gay rights improved Evans gradually ‘came out’ – or
‘edged out’ as he prefers to describe it.

‘Celibate’
Evans gave way to ‘liberated, uncloseted’ Evans who held court,
surrounded by young men, in the metropolitan environs of the Commons
Strangers Bar, where many of the grubby alleged encounters described at
Preston Crown Court were said to  have started.

When at his lowest point, Mr Evans found solace in his grandfather's Welsh Bible, even though he doesn't speak any Welsh

When at his lowest point, Mr Evans found solace in his grandfather’s Welsh Bible, even though he doesn’t speak any Welsh

He finally came out in an
interview with me in The Mail on Sunday. ‘December 18, 2010,’ he says
with pride, the date engraved on his soul.

‘The
prosecution tried to paint a picture of me as a repressed homosexual
going from Benny Hill to chief rapist. I mean! Bloody hell!’

He
was livid at being called a ‘highly functioning alcoholic’ by one
accuser, a former aide. ‘I’m a gregarious social drinker – my dad was an
alcoholic,’ he says with feeling, and precision.

He
admits being drunk occasionally around Westminster. ‘From time to time,
yes. But not plastered almost every night as was claimed.’ Does he have
a drink problem? ‘No,’ he barks before I have finished the question.

‘Nor have I been to Alcoholics Anonymous,’ he adds, unprompted.

Despite his courtroom victory, Evans’s Strangers’ Bars days are over. He is chastened as well as defiant.

He has given up drink, celebrated on Thursday with Diet Coke, and vows to be ‘more careful, less trusting’ in future.

Pressed about claims that he ‘preyed’ on young men, he lets fly.


‘Twelve independent people looked at the evidence and said it just
didn’t stack up. I am not going to stand trial by the Press with
anonymous people throwing any allegations they like.’

But there will have to be more Diet Coke and less hands down trousers? 

Evans
masks his scorn with his customary grin, but his disgust is clear. ‘I
have not admitted putting my hands down anyone’s trousers,’ he thunders.


‘They painted the blackest picture they could about me, just like they
did about Bill Roache and the jury decided it wasn’t true.’

Evans
may dislike the Press, but he hates fellow Tory MP Sarah Wollaston.
Extraordinarily,  she played a key role in  triggering the trial by
reporting allegations against him to  Speaker John Bercow.

When
I mention her name, Evans’s reply has a menacing calm. ‘It was
mentioned to her as a throwaway remark yet she pursued it. For whatever
reason, she decided to have it in for me.

‘I don’t know why anyone would want to do that.’ 

OTHER HIGH PROFILE CASES ENDING IN A ‘NOT GUILTY’ VERDICT

 

Jim Davidson

Le Vell

Jim Davidson, the comedian and Michael Le Vell, the soap actor were cleared of sex offences charges

Tarbuck
  

Roache


Jimmy Tarbuck, the comedian and Bill Roache, the soap actor was also cleared

Oh, to be a fly on the wall when the pair bump into each other in the Commons tea room.

When Evans was at his lowest point, he found comfort in a copy of a Bible owned by his grandfather, in Welsh.

‘I prayed on it every morning and every evening – and I don’t speak any Welsh,’ he laughs.

It was his faith and friends that helped him pull through, and now he yearns for a more stable private life.

‘I’m
not in a settled relationship, but I’d love to be,’ he says. I ask if
he would take advantage of new gay marriage laws? ‘Yes, I hope it
happens to me.’

He delayed coming out partly to avoid upsetting his beloved mother, Betty, who died in 2009. How would she feel today?

‘She was in the dock with me yesterday looking after me,’ he says, his eyes misting over.

‘I don’t want to sound bonkers, but it’s true.’

Xmas Holidays

My dad the King of Bling and the rage of his jealous lover: As police question model over millionaire’s murder, his daughter reveals how far his ex would go to keep her man

  • British jeweller Andy Bush, 48, was shot at Costa del Sol villa on April 5
  • Millionaire was killed as he arrived home with his most recent girlfriend
  • Police arrested his model ex Mayka Kukucova, 24, in Slovakia on Tuesday
  • His daughter Ellie today told how Ms Kukucova was ‘extremely jealous’
  • 19-year-old gives the inside story on her father’s turbulent relationship
  • Ms Kukucova was ‘obsessed’ with Mr Bush and had allegedly been abusive
  • Miss Bush said: ‘Mayka definitely wasn’t normal. It still doesn’t feel real’

By
Ben Ellery
and Nick Craven


Published:

16:03 EST, 12 April 2014


|
Updated:

02:43 EST, 13 April 2014

Everything in Andy Bush’s life was designed to impress: a stable of expensive cars, a string of trophy girlfriends half his age, and a luxury villa on the Costa Del Sol. No wonder the 48-year-old British gold dealer and pawnbroker was known to his envious customers as the ‘King of Bling’.

Last week’s brutal murder of this modern-day Midas and the arrest of his ex-girlfriend 2,000 miles from the crime scene has sent shockwaves through the Spanish tourist hotspot – with many details regarding the circumstances of the killing still a mystery.

Today, speaking for the first time, Mr Bush’s 19-year-old daughter Ellie and his sister Rachel, 42, reveal to The Mail on Sunday the inside story of the millionaire’s turbulent relationship with Slovakian Mayka Kukucova.

As police quiz model Mayka Kukucova over the death of British millionaire jeweller Andy Bush (left) in Spain last week, his daughter Ellie Bush (right) gives a chilling glimpse of how far her father's ex was prepared to go to keep her man

As police quiz model Mayka Kukucova over the death of British millionaire jeweller Andy Bush (left) in Spain last week, his daughter Ellie Bush (right) gives a chilling glimpse of how far her father’s ex was prepared to go to keep her man

Speaking for the first time since her father's death on the Costa del Sol, Ellie (right) and Rachel Bush, Andy's sister (left) told the Mail the inside story of the millionaire's turbulent relationship with the Slovakian 24-year-old

Speaking for the first time since her father’s death on the Costa del Sol, Ellie (right) and Rachel Bush, Andy’s sister (left) told the Mail the inside story of the millionaire’s turbulent relationship with the Slovakian 24-year-old

Ms Kukucova (pictured) reportedly admits shooting Mr Bush in the head soon after he arrived back at his £1.5million villa in Estepona, Spain with his new Russian girlfriend Maria Korotaeva, who turns 21 today

Ms Kukucova (pictured) reportedly admits shooting Mr Bush in the head soon after he arrived back at his £1.5million villa in Estepona, Spain with his new Russian girlfriend Maria Korotaeva, who turns 21 today

The stunning 24-year-old reportedly admits shooting him in the head soon after he arrived at his £1.5 million property in Estepona, Spain, with his new Russian girlfriend Maria Korotaeva, who turns 21 today.

Mr Bush’s family paint a disturbing picture of Ms Kukucova as an irrational woman whose jealous rages destroyed her relationship with Mr Bush.

Ellie, who worked for her father in his small empire of shops around Bristol, said Ms Kukucova was ‘extremely insecure’ and ‘could not control her anger’. She claimed Ms Kukucova was obsessed with her father and would follow him to make sure he was not cheating on her.

The jealousy and paranoia became so pervasive, the swimwear model even began to feel threatened by Mr Bush’s relationship with Ellie.

Mr Bush began dating Ms Kukucova in 2012 when she got a job as an assistant in one of his Gold Trader shops in Bristol.

Ellie said: ‘She was always worried about him being with other women.’ She added that Ms Kukucova would throw tantrums on the shopfloor, check computers Mr Bush had used, and go through his phone.

Mr Bush’s sister, Rachel, who also worked in his shops, said: ‘It got to the stage where Andy had to ask Mayka to find a new job because her anger became uncontrollable. She would come in the shop and create big scenes, shouting in front of the staff.’

Mr Bush's family paint a picture of Ms Kukucova as an irrational woman whose jealous rages destroyed her relationship with Mr Bush

Mr Bush’s family paint a picture of Ms Kukucova as an irrational woman whose jealous rages destroyed her relationship with Mr Bush

Ellie Bush leaves her father's villa on the Costa del Sol in Spain

Mayka Kukucova and Mr Bush

Ellie (pictured left leaving her father’s villa with a bunch of flowers) said Ms Kukucova (pictured right with Mr Bush) was ‘extremely insecure’ and ‘could not control her anger’. She said the Slovakian model was obsessed with her father and would follow him to make sure he wasn’t cheating on her

But Ellie said Mr Bush saw the model ‘as a project – and was determined to bring out the best in her’.

Ms Kukucova’s erratic behaviour began to seriously trouble Ellie when they visited Dubai in September 2012 to celebrate Ellie’s 18th birthday. ‘She was really distant and Rachel and I both felt it was because it wasn’t about her,’ she said.

Ellie, whose mother, radio presenter Samantha Mason, split from Mr Bush six years ago, recalled: ‘My dad and I bought matching trainers and Mayka hated it. She wanted to be back in the limelight.’

Rachel also revealed that during the Dubai trip, Ms Kukucova admitted to her that she felt threatened by Ellie’s strong bond with her father.

‘Mayka cannot control her anger. She was like a child’

- Rachel Bush, Andy’s sister

She said: ‘Mayka told me, “I am jealous that Andy has got a daughter.” She walked off in the middle of the night for about five hours and when she got back she told me someone had tried to kidnap her but this was obviously a lie. It was pathetic.’

In a striking illustration of Ms Kukucova’s violent temper, she became abusive to Mr Bush when he refused to buy items in a Dubai shopping mall.

His daughter said: ‘She went into a blind rage, screaming, and threw a handbag at him. She did it purposely to hurt him and then stormed off. We didn’t see her for a few hours.’

Towards the end of the holiday, Ms Kukucova also destroyed her boyfriend’s laptop in a temper. Rachel said: ‘She stamped all over it. Then she put it underneath a tap and put it back in the case.

‘When we got back to England, Andy realised but he tried to ignore it. He thought he could change her.

‘Mayka cannot control her anger. She was like a little child.’

Ellie said Ms Kukucova became abusive towards her father while they were on holiday in Dubai. When he refused to buy some items in a shopping mall, Ellie said: 'She went into a blind rage, screaming and threw a handbag at him'

Ellie said Ms Kukucova became abusive towards her father while they were on holiday in Dubai. When he refused to buy some items in a shopping mall, Ellie said: ‘She went into a blind rage, screaming and threw a handbag at him’

Ms Kukucova lay in wait for Mr Bush to return to his villa before allegedly shooting him and fleeing in his £60,000 Hummer. She then handed herself into police in Slovakia, more than 2,000 miles away. She is pictured being escorted by police from the Regional Court in Trencin, Slovakia

Ms Kukucova lay in wait for Mr Bush to return to his villa before allegedly shooting him and fleeing in his £60,000 Hummer. She then handed herself into police in Slovakia, more than 2,000 miles away. She is pictured being escorted by police from the Regional Court in Trencin, Slovakia

In September 2013 Ms Kukucova allegedly staged a robbery at the home she shared with Mr Bush. He arrived home to the house in Chepstow, Gwent, to find his girlfriend handcuffed and with a pillow over her head. A family friend said the stunt came after the pair rowed about Mr Bush going on a business trip to the Middle East

In September 2013 Ms Kukucova allegedly staged a robbery at the home she shared with Mr Bush. He arrived home to the house in Chepstow, Gwent, to find his girlfriend handcuffed and with a pillow over her head. A family friend said the stunt came after the pair rowed about Mr Bush going on a business trip to the Middle East

And these were no isolated examples of Ms Kukucova’s insatiable demand for attention, according to Rachel.

‘It was regular behaviour every time we were together.

‘I was in hospital once and she pretended that the taxi crashed on the way so that everyone was asking if she was OK when she got there. But there was no taxi crash. She has to be the main attraction.’

‘Mayka definitely wasn’t normal. How would you know someone was capable of something like this? It still doesn’t feel real’

- Ellie Bush

Mr Bush’s sister revealed Ms Kukucova’s jealousy of his relationship with his family even led her to remove photographs of them from his house. She recalled: ‘I said to Andy, “Where have the pictures gone?” She had taken them. She’s not stable.’

Mr Bush had lived with his daughter and Ms Kukucova for ‘a short time’ but his girlfriend ‘pushed them apart’ and Ellie moved out.

In September 2013, Mr Bush’s family were given a chilling glimpse into just how far Ms Kukucova was prepared to go to keep her man.

Mr Bush arrived at his large farmhouse in Chepstow, Gwent, to find his girlfriend handcuffed, with a pillow over her head.  

She told him three or four armed men had overpowered her and robbed the house. Police were called, yet there was no appeal for witnesses, no description of the gang, and no Crimewatch reconstruction.

Ms Kukucova was arrested after giving herself up to police in her home town of Nova Bosaca in Slovakia. The town is 3,102km (1,928 miles) from the crime scene in Estepona, Spain

Ms Kukucova was arrested after giving herself up to police in her home town of Nova Bosaca in Slovakia. The town is 3,102km (1,928 miles) from the crime scene in Estepona, Spain

In October 2013 Mr Bush broke up with Ms Kukucova, soon replacing her with a younger model, Maria  Korotaeva, a student he met in Bristol

In October 2013 Mr Bush broke up with Ms Kukucova, soon replacing her with a younger model, Maria Korotaeva, a student he met in Bristol

Miss Korotaeva, who turns 21 today, was with Mr Bush when he returned home to be confronted by his ex

Miss Korotaeva, who turns 21 today, was with Mr Bush when he returned home to be confronted by his ex

A family friend recalled: ‘She said
she had been tied up by armed robbers. The family suspected her from the
outset because it happened shortly after the pair had rowed when she
hid Andy’s passport to try to stop  him going on a business trip to the
Middle East.’

Ellie added:
‘The robbery came at a time when their relationship was basically over.
She was psychotic. I said to her, “You’re mental, you need to be locked
up.”

‘She suddenly became
very clingy and would say, “Oh, Andy, I can’t sleep at night, I’m so
scared.”  It was all very strange. She was the only person in the house
when it happened. It’s an ongoing investigation and we’re hoping to get
some answers.’

The following month, Mr Bush broke up with Ms Kukucova.

Desperate
for them to get back together, she posted a series of bizarre YouTube
videos featuring screen-grabs of loving text messages they had exchanged
set to a soundtrack of music by Celine Dion.

But soon Ms Kukucova had been replaced in Mr Bush’s affections by an even younger model.  

Maria Korotaeva, a student he met at a branch of Costa Coffee in Bristol, is only a year older than Ellie herself.

Mr Bush owned a string of jewellery shops in Bristol

Mr Bush owned a string of jewellery shops in Bristol

Whatever misgivings Maria might have had about dating a man who is ten years older than her own mother were soon swept away by a surprise Valentine’s Day trip to Paris, as well as other foreign jaunts.  

Maria’s mother Elena Dmitrieva, 38, who lives in Tenerife, said she was very happy with her daughter’s new suitor, who she described as ‘a very nice and brilliant man’. He had even discussed marriage with Maria and bought a diamond engagement ring, claimed Mrs Dmitrieva.  

Within a short time, Maria too had taken to the internet to boast of her devotion to Mr Bush on the social networking sites Instagram and Facebook. Ellie believes it was these messages that pushed Ms Kukucova over the edge and led her to hatch her plan to confront Mr Bush with his new girlfriend when the couple arrived at his villa for a break.

According to Maria, Mr Bush found Ms Kukucova lying in wait and she shot him twice before fleeing in his £60,000 Hummer.

Ms Kukucova handed herself in at a Slovakian police station three days later. But did she act alone?

Apparently police have ruled out any involvement by Ms Kukucova’s new boyfriend, Peter Kucharik, a muscle-bound 20-year-old security guard who reportedly took sudden leave from his job in Slovakia last week.

So how was Ms Kukucova able to get herself more than 2,000 miles across Europe alone following the killing when she had left her passport, cash and credit cards at Mr Bush’s villa?

Rachel said: ‘We were shocked when we heard how far she got. We’re not sure how she did that on her own.’

Three weeks ago Ms Kukucova reportedly told friends in the Slovakian capital Bratislava that she had dumped Mr Bush.

A 24-year-old friend told The Sun: ‘She didn’t enjoy her relationship with Andy any more. I was just about parties and dinners. She wanted to end it and move on.’

She claims she shot Mr Bush in self-defence. According to some reports, she told police that she was pregnant with Mr Bush’s child – a claim that his family vehemently deny.

In a blind panic following Ms Kukucova’s escape, Maria called Mr Bush’s sister. Rachel said: ‘I was surprised at how late she was calling me and she was very distraught, saying they had turned up at the villa, walked in and Kukucova was there. Andy was obviously shocked and he told Maria to go and wait in the car.

‘She said there was lots of banging and arguing but she hadn’t heard Andy’s voice.

‘Then
she said Kukucova ran out and told her, in a few choice words, to get
out of the car. She was on the phone saying to me, “I can’t get in the
house”, so I told her to smash one of the windows.

‘Maria
had called the police and said she had to go because she was talking to
them. She didn’t know the address because she had only been there once
before. This was going on for so long, about two hours.

‘She then told me that Andy had been shot dead.’

Ellie (right) lays flowers at her father's villa, with her mother Samantha Mason (centre) and aunt Rachel Bush (right)

Ellie (right) lays flowers at her father’s villa, with her mother Samantha Mason (centre) and aunt Rachel Bush (right)

Ironically, police and paramedics were hampered as they fought to get past the high-tech security system Mr Bush had installed to protect himself. Ms Kukucova’s extradition from Slovakia to Spain is expected soon, and only then might the full truth of Mr Bush’s life and death be revealed.

Rachel and Ellie dismiss claims by Ms Kukucova that she is pregnant and had come to the villa to confront Mr Bush about child-support arrangements.

Ellie added: ‘Mayka definitely wasn’t normal. How would you know someone was capable of something like this? It still doesn’t feel real.’

Mr Bush’s family are now planning to fly his body home for a funeral. Rachel said: ‘Andy’s saying was “I told you I was unbelievable” – he lived up to that every single minute of every single day.

‘His funeral is going to be an elaborate party. It’s going to be exactly what Andy would want.’

Xmas Holidays

Snowballs Winner and Top 3

Good Morning Everyone, 
Lorraine here, it’s my turn to announce the Winner and Top 3 from last weeks ‘Snowball‘ Challenge

We had some fabulous entries and a big  thank you to everyone who took part.

Our lucky winner this week is chosen by Mr Random Org.

And the winner is….


No 17, that’s you Fabiola, and here is her gorgeous card

Congratulations  Fabiola you have won this fabulous set from Marianne Design
Please email  Marianne to claim your prize before the end of the next challenge. Please make the subject of your e-mail Winter Wonderland Winner.
It’s time to choose a Top 3. This is always really difficult, and there were so many wonderful entries. Here are my Top 3, in no particular order.


No 4 Zippy - I love the background snowflakes


No 8 Michelle – What a cute bear!
No 17 Fabiola – I just love this image

 

Congratulations ladies, gorgeous cards. Please take our top 3 banner to display on your blog.

There is still plenty of time to enter our current challenge, which is…
I’M DREAMING OF A PINK christmas

Enjoy the rest of your week .
Lorraine and the WW Teamies.

Christmas 2013

George Osborne announces measure to help Britain recoup some of £15bn lost tax

  • Britons hiding income in tax havens overseas to be made criminal offence
  • Tough new measure was announced by George Osbourne at U.S. meeting
  • It could help recoup some of £15billion in tax that goes missing each year
  • HMRC estimates that outright tax evasion costs the Exchequer £5billion

By
Alex Brummer City Editor In Washington


Published:

18:42 EST, 11 April 2014


|
Updated:

03:42 EST, 12 April 2014

Tough new measure: Chancellor George Osborne has announced that it will be a criminal offence for residents to hide income in tax havens overseas

Tough new measure: Chancellor George Osborne has announced that it will be a criminal offence for residents to hide income in tax havens overseas

Britain is to declare war on tax dodging by making it a criminal offence for residents to hide income in tax havens overseas.

The tough new measure, announced by George Osborne at a meeting of finance ministers in the U.S., could help recoup some of the £15billion in personal tax and national insurance that goes missing each year.

HM Revenue & Customs estimates that outright tax evasion costs the Exchequer £5billion.

The Chancellor said: ‘We are changing the balance of the law, so HMRC don’t have to prove someone intended to hide their money offshore to evade tax, just that they did so and didn’t pay tax.

The message is clear with this new criminal offence: if you are evading tax, there is no safe haven and we will find you.’ 

The legislation will be attached to the finance bill, currently in the House of Commons, and will be published first thing on  Monday morning.

The decision was unveiled in Washington as part of a clampdown by the powerful G20 group of economies.

At present, UK tax inspectors at HMRC have to show ‘an intent’ to evade taxes when they find earned and non-earned income hidden in overseas havens.

These havens range from what the Chancellor called ‘countries beginning with L in Europe’ – Luxembourg and Liechtenstein – to UK crown territories and remote Pacific Islands.

Courts have been reluctant to impose criminal sanctions in the past because of the difficulty in showing intent.

Costly: HM Revenue & Customs estimates that outright tax evasion costs the Exchequer £5billion every year

Costly: HM Revenue & Customs estimates that outright tax evasion costs the Exchequer £5billion every year

But the changes mean anyone hiding income overseas will automatically have committed an offence.

They will no longer be able to argue that they had not meant to cheat.

It goes well beyond last month’s budget, which gave HMRC the power to take unpaid tax directly from individuals’ bank accounts.

STAY-AT-HOME MUMS LOSE OUT

The extent to which stay-at-home mothers in Britain are penalised by the tax system was exposed last night.

One-earner
couples with children are the only type of household where Britons are
shouldering a heavier tax burden than their counterparts in the
developed world.

The extra tax they are paying is worth almost £160 a year for an average family.

By
contrast, British two-earner families pay far less tax than similar
people in other countries, according to the report by the 34-nation
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The Chancellor said the UK is leading the way by requiring its overseas territories, from the British Virgin Islands to the Isle of Man, to bring in tough new disclosure rules.

It follows growing criticism in the US of Britain’s perceived soft stance on sanctions against Ukraine, which might harm the City of London, and tax avoidance strategies run from the UK.

‘It is totally unacceptable for people
not to pay tax that is due in the UK,’ Osborne said.

‘The vast majority
of wealthy people pay their taxes and their share of tax income has been
going up.’

Tax evasion, which is illegal, involves deliberately not paying the money owed, whilst tax avoidance is within the letter but not the spirit of the law.

The Chancellor has had a higher profile at this spring’s financial meeting than in previous years. 

Yesterday he challenged critics of his austerity policy, pointing out that Britain has the highest growth forecasts of the Group of Seven most advanced nations.

Xmas Holidays