The Telegraph 2024-02-14 06:00:28

Starmer faces fresh crisis over anti-Israel remarks

Sir Keir Starmer faces a deepening anti-Semitism crisis after he was forced to take action against a second parliamentary candidate in 24 hours.

The Labour leader suspended Graham Jones, who was due to stand in Hyndburn, where he was MP until 2019, after it emerged that he referred to “f—ing Israel” at a public meeting and said that British volunteers in the Israel Defense Forces should be “locked up”.

He was pushed into the decision less than a day after he was forced to remove support for Azhar Ali, his candidate for this month’s Rochdale by-election, following an outcry over a string of anti-Semitic remarks made by Mr Ali at the same gathering that went unchallenged.

On Tuesday, Sir Keir insisted that his party had changed and vowed to punish any more candidates accused of making similar comments, saying any allegations would be thoroughly investigated.

However, he was criticised over his “shambolic” handling of the crisis and urged to “get a grip” on anti-Semitism in the party, instead of simply playing “racist whack-a-mole”.

Sir Keir will come under further pressure to investigate five more MPs and candidates who The Telegraph can reveal have been involved in controversies over Israel.

Two shadow cabinet ministers – Thangam Debonnaire and Shabana Mahmood – are among those to have expressed contentious views on Gaza, while Afzal Khan, a former shadow minister, previously compared the Israeli government to Nazis.

Zarah Sultana, the Left-wing MP, liked an anti-Israel social media post last month while a councillor running in Southampton allegedly attended a pro-Palestine rally in November.

Sir Keir is also facing growing demands to reveal which MPs and councillors were at the Lancashire meeting where Mr Jones and Mr Ali made their incendiary remarks.

The issue of anti-Semitism has long plagued the Labour Party, with Sir Keir vowing to “tear out the poison” after taking over as leader from Jeremy Corbyn, who was found to have overseen the spread of racism against Jewish people within the party.

Sir Keir has come under fire from his own party over his refusal to back a ceasefire in Gaza, with Labour MPs privately fearing that some could fail to get re-elected because of a backlash among Muslim voters.

One former Labour official, who was a senior figure in Gordon Brown’s No 10, said Sir Keir needed to swiftly “get a grip” and warned that anti-Semitism was still “rife” within the party.

“If we are going to clean it up, let’s clean it up – the test will be whether Labour keeps playing racist whack-a-mole or actually decides to get a grip,” they said.

Sir Keir faced criticism over his initial decision to stick by Mr Ali for two days after it emerged that the candidate had told a meeting of local activists in Hyndburn, Lancashire, that Israel may have “deliberately allowed” the Hamas terror attacks on Oct 7 to happen in order to justify its war in Gaza.

After Mr Ali apologised, a succession of frontbenchers were sent out onto the airwaves to defend him with Pat McFadden, Labour’s campaign chief, telling Sky News’ Trevor Phillips that Mr Ali had issued a full apology and retraction and he hoped he “learns a good lesson from it”. 

Nick Thomas-Symonds, a shadow Cabinet minister said Mr Ali “fell for an online conspiracy”.

But then on Monday night, a fresh recording of the meeting revealed Mr Ali had also railed against “people in the media from certain Jewish quarters”. Sir Keir learnt of the comments on Monday afternoon and finally withdrew his support three hours later.

The crisis intensified on Tuesday when a recording emerged of Mr Jones, a former Labour MP who had been selected to run again as the party’s candidate in Hyndburn, making his own speech at the gathering.

This time Sir Keir reacted much more swiftly and suspended him within the hour.

Labour sources said Mr Jones had been hauled into a meeting with party bosses on Tuesday evening to explain himself.

Charlotte Nichols, a former shadow minister, questioned why Sir Keir had acted swiftly in his case but had taken so long to drop Mr Ali.

She said the Labour leader had made “the right decision, in both cases” but added: “I’m glad that the second one was quicker than the first.”

Martin Forde KC, a lawyer who led a 2022 review into anti-Semitism within the Labour Party under Mr Corbyn, said it was “very concerning” that nobody present at the gathering appeared to have pushed back against the comments.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism urged Sir Keir to publicly identify the attendees, saying that Labour must “put a line in the sand and declare that it will not tolerate extremist views”.

A spokesman for the group said: “The question remains who else was at that October meeting, what else was said, and who else knew, and why did nobody act?”

The Jewish Labour Movement said the two incidents showed that “the importance of a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism in Labour has become clearer than ever”.

Sir Keir defended his actions on Tuesday, telling reporters that he had taken “decisive action” to “make it absolutely clear that this is a changed Labour Party”.

Speaking before suspending Mr Jones, he added that if any other candidates were found to have made incendiary remarks then “any allegation that needs to be investigated will be investigated”.

Labour backbenchers were angered by how their leader handled the scandal, with one branding the last few days “shambolic crisis management”.

The MP said it would raise questions over whether the party’s vetting of candidates is up to scratch, saying it seemed officials “didn’t do due diligence”.

Left-wing MPs and activists accused Sir Keir of “double standards” by treating candidates on the Right of the party more favourably.

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Andrew Fisher, a former head of policy under Mr Corbyn, claimed that Sir Keir initially gave Mr Ali “the benefit of the doubt”, while Mish Rahman, a Left-wing member of Labour’s governing body, the National Executive Committee, also suggested vetting had been relaxed for allies of the party leader.

“It just shows clearly that the party’s due diligence, which should be done for all candidates, is not done properly, it’s not taken seriously,” he said.

Mr Jones, who was MP for Hyndburn from 2010 to 2019, had been embroiled in two separate anti-Semitism rows while in office.

In 2014 he was forced to apologise and delete a Twitter exchange with Justin Cohen, the then editor of the Jewish News, after he accused Israel of “a series of murders” in Gaza.

When Mr Cohen said that Israel was taking steps to avoid civilian casualties, Mr Jones replied: “You’ve lost any sense of humanity & justice. You’re killing children.”

The former MP was also spoken to by police after calling the Israeli ambassador a “t—er” at a Labour Party conference event in 2018.

Controversial remarks

The Telegraph can reveal that several other candidates, including two members of the shadow cabinet, have previously made controversial remarks about Israel that contradict Labour’s official stance.

Ms Sultana, the Left-wing MP for Coventry South who is running again, liked a post on Twitter, last month which accused Israel of “genocidal intent”.

Satvir Kaur, the Labour candidate for Southampton Test, allegedly attended a pro-Palestine demonstration on Remembrance Sunday last year.

Ms Kaur, who was leader of Southampton city council at the time, was among those gathered in the city centre on Nov 12.

Labour sources insisted she did not take part in the march through the city and had only briefly attended a “multi-faith peace vigil” for around 10 minutes.

Mr Khan, who resigned as a shadow minister last November over Labour’s stance on a ceasefire in Gaza, wrote on Twitter in 2014 that “the Israeli government are acting like Nazis in Gaza”.

Mr Khan, who was an MEP at the time, apologised for the post after being selected to run for the Commons, saying that he “did not endorse the content” of an article he linked to and that he had “made a mistake”.

Ms Debonnaire, the shadow culture secretary, said in 2015 that selling arms to Israel was a “grave concern” and accused the Jewish state of violating international law.

She wrote in a now-deleted blog post that the country appeared to have engaged in “internal repression” in the aftermath of its 2014 war with Hamas.

Ms Mahmood, the shadow justice secretary, urged thousands of people to “boycott Israeli goods” and bombard their MPs at their constituency surgeries back in 2014.

Speaking at a demonstration in Hyde Park, she told activists: “Please educate yourselves about the different boycott campaigns and get involved in them.

“Please keep up the pressure on your Members of Parliament, go to their advice surgeries, take 20 people with you and ask them to justify their views on Palestine and on Gaza.”

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The Tories leapt on the crisis engulfing Labour, saying it showed the party had not really changed and there was still the “cancer” of anti-Semitism at its heart.

Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, told The Telegraph: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that racism against Jewish people remains a cancer in the Labour Party.

“Keir Starmer is only acting now out of political expediency because he has been under media pressure, not out of principle. That’s weak leadership.”

Duchess of Sussex joins podcast company that wants to make life ‘suck less’

The Duchess of Sussex has signed a new podcast deal with a female-founded company that wants to “make life suck less”.

The Duchess, who produced one series of her podcast Archetypes for Spotify before parting ways with the company, has signed with Lemonada Media to develop and host a new series.

The announcement came shortly after the launch of the Sussexes’ new website, which used the Duchess’s old coat of arms to illustrate the words “The Office of Prince Harry & Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex”. 

The revamped website described the Duchess as a “feminist and champion of human rights and gender equity” as well as “one of the most influential women in the world”.

‘Mission to make life suck less’

Critics questioned the suitability of using the coat of arms, with one arguing it could clash with the “spirit” of the couple’s understanding with Buckingham Palace to not trade on their royal status.

The Duchess said she was “overjoyed” to be joining the “family” at Lemonada, which describes itself as an “award-winning, independent, audio-first podcast network, with a mission to make life suck less”.

“I’m proud to now be able to share that I am joining the brilliant team at Lemonada to continue my love of podcasting,” the Duchess said.

“Being able to support a female-founded company with a roster of thought-provoking and highly entertaining podcasts is a fantastic way to kick off 2024.

“Our plan to re-release Archetypes so that more people can now have access to it, as well as launching a dynamic new podcast, are well in the works.

“I’m so eager to be able to share it soon, and am overjoyed to be joining the Lemonada family.”

Lemonada Media’s best-known podcast to date is “Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus”, with more than 50 other audio shows spanning topics from ageing to parenting in crisis, being trans and having “good sex”.

Founded in 2019 by Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs, celebrity signings so far include comedian Sarah Silverman and singer Meghan Trainor.

Steve Wright, ‘truly wonderful’ BBC Radio DJ, dies aged 69

Steve Wright has been praised as a “truly wonderful broadcaster” following the news that he has died at the age of 69.

Wright was one of the BBC’s longest-serving presenters, hosting shows on Radio 1 and Radio 2 for more than four decades.

His family released a statement announcing the death of their “beloved Steve” and spoke of “the millions of devoted radio listeners who had the good fortune and great pleasure of allowing Steve into their daily lives as one of the UK’s most enduring and popular radio personalities”.

Wright was last on air on Sunday with a Valentine’s special, promising listeners that he would be back next week.

Tributes were led by Tim Davie, BBC director-general, who said: “All of us at the BBC are heartbroken to hear this terribly sad news. Steve was a truly wonderful broadcaster who has been a huge part of so many of our lives over many decades.

“He was the ultimate professional; passionate about the craft of radio and deeply in touch with his listeners. This was deservedly recognised in the New Year Honours list with his MBE for services to radio.

“No one had more energy to deliver shows that put a smile on audiences’ faces. They loved him deeply. We are thinking of Steve and his family and will miss him terribly.”

Wright joined Radio 1 in 1980 and presented his Steve Wright in the Afternoon show from 1981-93, pioneering the “zoo format” that would be much copied.

He moved to Radio 2 in 1996 and hosted the afternoon slot for 24 years. But he was removed in 2022 as the station aimed to attract a younger audience.

Wright remained as the host of Sunday Love Songs and became the presenter of Pick of the Pops. He was awarded an MBE in the 2024 New Year Honours list for services to radio.

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Former Radio 1 colleague Mark Goodier said: “He’s gone too young. He always had plans and always had ideas. Nobody ever did anything like Steve did it.”

Danny Baker, Wright’s friend, said: “Steve Wright was a thoroughly good man, a genuine radio star and a loyal chum. This is a dreadful shock.”

Sara Cox paid an emotional tribute to Wright on her Radio 2 drivetime show after the news was announced, saying that all at the station were “absolutely devastated and shocked and blindsided” to hear of his death.

The remainder of Cox’s show was dedicated to Wright and featured his favourite songs, including Wichita Lineman by Glen Cambell and Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty.

Bobbie Pryor, Radio 2’s traffic reporter, fought back tears as she tried to read out her bulletin. She apologised saying: “He would be furious if we were crying now and making a fuss.”

When Wright announced to his listeners in 2022 that he was stepping down, he said that the head of Radio 2 had informed him that she wanted to try something different in the afternoons.

He said: “I’ve been doing this programme for 24 years, so how can I possibly complain? I can’t hog the slot forever.”

Helen Thomas, the head of Radio 2, who informed Wright in 2022 that he would be leaving his afternoon show, said: “Steve understood the connection and companionship that radio engenders better than anyone, and we all loved him for it. He was a consummate professional whose attention to detail was always second to none, and he made his guests laugh, he was fair, and he wanted to showcase them and their work in the best possible light, bringing brilliant stories to our listeners.

“He believed in the BBC passionately during his career which spanned more than four decades, and he was always up for pursuing new ideas.

“He brought joy to millions of listeners with his Sunday Love Songs as well as the legendary Pick of the Pops, which he took on last year and was having fun experimenting with, alongside a host of specials and new BBC Sounds formats which he loved doing.

“For all of us at Radio 2, he was a wonderful colleague and a friend with his excellent sense of humour, generosity with his time, and endless wise words. We were lucky to have him with us for all these decades, and we will miss his talent and his friendship terribly.”

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Lorna Clarke, director of BBC Music, said: “Steve was an extraordinary broadcaster – someone audiences loved, and many of us looked up to. He loved radio, and he loved the BBC, but most of all… he loved his audience.

“From Radio 1 to Radio 2, he was with us for more than four decades, and brought so much joy to our airwaves, whatever he was up to. We were privileged to have him with us for all these years.”

Rheumatoid arthritis can be prevented, study shows

Rheumatoid arthritis can be prevented, a breakthrough Lancet study has found.

Weekly injections of the drug, abatacept, cut the risk of developing the auto-immune disease by 80 per cent during a trial.

Experts hailed the results as they claimed “it is now possible to prevent the onset of rheumatoid arthritis”.

According to the NHS, it is the second most common form of arthritis, after osteoarthritis, which is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis because it develops with age and overuse of the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects half a million people in Great Britain and is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 60. It occurs when the immune system starts attacking healthy cells, causing debilitating pain, swelling and inflammation in the joints, typically the hands, wrists and knees.

It is also incurable. Until now, there had been no way to prevent it.

Researchers from King’s College London recruited 213 participants with early symptoms of RA. They had joint pain and a positive test for specific antibodies in the blood, known as anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA).

Antibody trigger

The presence of these antibodies is the most accurate way to predict a future RA diagnosis, and scientists believe they trigger the subsequent attack of joints by the immune system.

In the trial, half of the participants were given weekly injections of abatacept, while the other half were given a placebo over the course of 12 months.

At the end of the year, just six per cent of those taking the drug had developed RA compared with 29 per cent who were taking a placebo.

Abatacept helps to reduce the activity of the immune system, stopping the body from attacking itself. It is already available on the NHS for patients who have not benefited from other arthritis treatments, such as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.

Prof Andrew Cope, lead researcher from King’s College London, said it was “the largest rheumatoid arthritis prevention trial to date” and the first to show a treatment “effective in preventing the onset of disease in people at risk”.

He added: “There are currently no drugs available that prevent this potentially crippling disease. These initial results could be good news for people at risk of arthritis.”

The next step is to pin down who is most at risk to ensure they receive the drug, he said, although regulators will first need to be convinced of its effectiveness.

He added that it was “promising news” for the NHS given the expense of treating arthritis patients in a growing and ageing population.

The most recent analysis says RA costs the NHS £560 million a year, and almost £5 billion to the wider economy. One in three people are unable to work within five years of a diagnosis.

Sufferers are three times more likely to be women, and more likely to develop other conditions, such as osteoporosis, which is a weakening of the bones.

The treatment, which costs about £10,000 per patient per year, could help to prevent or delay the 27,000 new cases annually.

Prof Lucy Donaldson, director for research and health intelligence at the Versus Arthritis charity, said it “offers hope to thousands of people living with – or at risk of developing – rheumatoid arthritis”.

She said it “highlights how important it is to spot the early signs of arthritis to give us a chance at stopping it in its tracks”, but added that there were currently “unacceptable” delays in diagnosis.

The researchers followed up with the participants a year after treatment had ended and found that 25 per cent who had taken abatacept had developed RA compared with 37 per cent who had not, suggesting there were still benefits from the drug, but it would likely need to be taken longer term by people at risk.

Better quality of life

Professor Sir Ravinder Maini, a rheumatologist and emeritus professor at Imperial College London, said the results show “almost all individuals receiving the biologic drug showed no symptoms or signs” and that it “demonstrates that it is now possible to prevent the onset of RA”.

The trial also found that people taking the drug had a better quality of life, less pain and lower levels of inflammation in the lining of their joints during ultrasound scans.

Philip Day, 35, a software engineer who took part in the trial said the treatment gave him “a ray of hope at a dark time”.

He said the pain caused by RA was “terrible” and “unpredictable”.

“It would show up in my knees one day, my elbows the next, and then my wrists or even my neck. At the time, my wife and I wanted to have children and I realised my future was pretty bleak if the disease progressed,” he said.

“Within a few months [of treatment] I had no more aches or pains and five years on I’d say I’ve been cured. Now, I can play football with my three-year-old son and have a normal life.”

Side effects of the treatment are generally mild, but can include nausea, vomiting, respiratory infections and dizziness.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, which manufactures the drug under brand name Orencia and funded the study, will need to gather and present evidence on the drug’s effectiveness at preventing rheumatoid arthritis before regulators consider its roll out on the NHS.

Home Office pays for 16,000 homes for asylum seekers despite housing shortage

The Home Office has built up a stock of 16,000 properties for asylum seekers, despite acute shortages of homes for young workers and families.

Contractors working for the Home Office are offering landlords five-year guaranteed full rent deals to take over the management of properties as they race to transfer asylum seekers out of hotels.

The properties, drawn from the private rental and social housing markets, are being used to house more than 58,000 asylum seekers across England, Wales and Scotland – double the number in so-called “dispersed accommodation” a decade ago.

Insiders said the Home Office was expanding its use of rented accommodation to meet Rishi Sunak’s pledge to reduce the use of hotels, which have been costing up to £8 million a day. Fifty asylum hotels were due to shut by the end of last month with a further 50 closed by the spring.

Until the end of last year, there were about 50,000 asylum seekers in 400 hotels paid for by the taxpayer. Putting up asylum seekers in dispersed accommodation can cost as little as £30 a day, compared with £150 a day for hotels.

However, experts advising the Home Office have warned that local families and young workers face being deprived of cheaper rented accommodation.

A Home Office insider said: “The department’s strong preference is for dispersal accommodation because it is so much cheaper and much more discreet than hotels. That’s not to say it’s not unpopular.

“Some of the contractors are taking properties in pretty normal streets. You can buy yourself a £300,000 house and suddenly find your next-door neighbour is a house full of asylum seekers. MPs are starting to report problems as a result of this.

Scheme ‘creates ghettos’

“It has also been very heavily clustered in places where property is cheap – Hull, Bradford and Teesside. It is potentially damaging to these places because it creates ghettos which are terrible for integration.”

The Telegraph understands that as many as 30,000 properties may be needed to end the use of hotels unless the Government can substantially reduce the 100,000 backlog of asylum seekers waiting for a decision on whether they can remain in the country.

“There is a shift away from hotels to putting people into housing which on one level is not a bad idea but on another level, on the scale it is being done, is going to have quite a significant impact in areas where it is being done at scale,” said one insider.

“That’s 16,000 properties that would normally be available to families looking for somewhere to rent and live, and often to get themselves off the local housing register.” 

There were 1.2 million people registered on council house waiting lists at the end of 2021-22, up from 1.19 million in 2020-21.

The contractors behind the scheme – Serco, Clearsprings and Mears – have been paid £4 billion over 10 years to provide accommodation to asylum seekers.

Serco promotes the benefits to landlords as five-year leases with “rent paid in full, on time, every month, with no arrears”, as well as full repair and maintenance, except for structural defects.

Utilities and council tax bills are also paid under the contracts, which offer “full Houses of Multiple Occupation and property management” and no letting or management costs.

With more than a third of UK landlords experiencing rental arrears a year, one housing expert close to the project said the deals were highly attractive. “If you’re a landlord, wouldn’t you take a five-year contract where they’re going to pay all the rent regardless,” they said.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We continue to work across government and with local authorities to identify a range of accommodation options to reduce the unacceptable use of hotels which cost £8 million a day. The government remains committed to engaging with local authorities and key stakeholders as part of this process.”

The spokesman refused to comment on the figures but said: “We are working to procure sufficient dispersal accommodation to meet our statutory obligation.”

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “The Government’s gross mismanagement of the asylum system has led to immense human misery, with people left in limbo for years on end in a huge backlog of cases resulting in billions being wasted on hotels and other accommodation.

“It would not be like this if the Government focused on operating a fair, efficient and effective system instead of the Rwanda plan that will only lead to more cost and chaos.”

Theatre bans comedian over ‘abuse of Israeli’

Comedian Paul Currie has been banned from a West End theatre after “subjecting Jewish audience members to verbal abuse”, the venue has said.

Soho Theatre is consulting with police following the incident on Saturday in which he allegedly pulled out a Palestinian flag and shouted at an Israeli audience member to “get the f— out of here”, before leading chants of “Palestine will be free”.

The theatre has investigated and has now banned Currie for what it has termed “appalling” intimidation. It stated said it “will not tolerate intimidation of audience members due to their nationality, race, religion or beliefs”. 

A statement from the venue said it “will not tolerate intimidation of audience members due to their nationality, race, religion or beliefs”.

It added:  “Jewish members of the audience were subjected to verbal abuse and the performer aggressively demanding they leave the theatre.

“Such appalling actions are unacceptable and have no place on our stages, now or ever. We will not be inviting Paul Currie back to perform at our venue.

“Whilst we robustly support the right of artists to express a wide range of views in their shows, intimidation of audience members, acts of antisemitism or any other forms of racism will not be tolerated at Soho Theatre.’’

The venue said it was continuing our investigation, discussing the incident with that evening’s audience, and also consulting with the police.

This follows concerns raised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) about the incident, and the theatre is now working with the group.

The CAA claimed, on the basis of eyewitness accounts, that Mr Currie had orchestrated his own standing ovation following the absurdist non-verbal act, and then questioned why one sector close to the stage refused to stand.

Witnesses inside the theatre claimed that the audience members, who turned out to be Israeli, said he enjoyed the show until the moment that Mr Currie had produced a Palestinian flag from a box or props.

At this point, it was claimed, Mr Currie began what has been described as a “rant”, telling the Israeli man to “Get out of my show. Get the f*** out of here. F*** off, get the f*** out of here”.

Mr Currie is then said to have led chants of “Free Palestine” until the young man left, along with several Jewish audience members who felt disturbed by the incident as the shouting of slogans continued inside the auditorium.

Mr Currie has been contacted for comment.

Seaside second homes hotspot voted ‘UK’s most depressing place to live’

A seaside town in Cornwall where a row about second home owners broke out has been voted the UK’s most depressing place to live.

Falmouth, a coastal town near the Fal estuary, has been awarded the unwanted title of “most depressing” in the UK by iLive Here, which described it as a place which “saps the residents’ will to live”.

In a survey, the first of its kind, people voted for the most “bland, boring, soulless, uncultured middle-England municipalities of mediocrity, that imbue the inhabitants with an almost terminal case of ennui”.

Falmouth trumped Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, by 27 votes, while Aberdeen and Alloa in Scotland came third and fourth on the list.

The news comes after claims that residents of Falmouth were being “forced out” because of its popularity amongst holidaymakers, who were buying second homes and preventing locals from getting on the property ladder.

Oliver Berry wrote in the i newspaper in March 2023: “It’s been four months, and I am still looking for somewhere to live in Cornwall.

“My partner and I spent six years in our Falmouth flat, but we’re moving on, reluctantly. An eye-watering rent increase (18 per cent) is driving us out.

“What’s holding back our move is simple: we can’t find anywhere to go.

“The competition’s fierce. Every property has dozens of applicants. There are too few places, and too many people looking”.

Property prices in Cornwall have soared more than 25 per cent in two years, according to Rightmove.

The average house in Cornwall costs almost 10 times the average wage, according to Cornwall Live, with the average home at £316,045 in 2023 and the average salary at £32,715.

Old Hill and Acacia were named by iLive Here as the “worst places” in Falmouth, with Old Hill being described as a “dumping ground, where most councils from outside Cornwall decide to release their unruly tenants”.

“If you decide to relocate to Falmouth, just avoid this area and you’ll be fine,” the website advises.

Other towns on iLive’s list included Yeovil in Somerset, which ranked sixth on the list and Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, which came in at number seven.

Tiverton in Devon ranked at number five and was described as “the last of our Devon pastoral picturesque places that no doubt papers over an underbelly of oppressive black-dog-humping-your-leg ennui”.

iLive usually releases “the 50 best places to live” and “50 worst places to live in England”, as voted for by its readers.

Last year, Darlington, Aylesbury and Norwich were voted the top three best places to live whilst Luton, Peterborough and Portsmouth were voted the three worst.