The Telegraph 2024-02-26 04:30:27


Sunak facing Red Wall backlash over Anderson sacking

Rishi Sunak is facing warnings from Red Wall Tory MPs of a voter backlash over his sacking of Lee Anderson, according to leaked WhatsApp messages that can be disclosed by The Telegraph.

Some Conservative MPs have privately been telling colleagues that their inboxes have been flooded with supportive messages about Mr Anderson.

The Ashfield MP, who was the Tory party deputy chairman until last month, was suspended after claiming that “Islamists” have “got control” of Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.

On Sunday, Oliver Dowden, the Deputy Prime Minister, left the door to Mr Anderson’s return open, saying he had not been “intending to be Islamophobic”.

Mr Khan accused the Prime Minister of “enabling anti-Muslim hatred in the Conservative Party” as Labour intensified its criticism.

But Richard Tice, the leader of Reform UK, said Mr Anderson’s comments reflected the concerns of “millions of Britons”.

Mr Sunak and Simon Hart, his Chief Whip, suspended Mr Anderson after prominent moderate Tory MPs and party figures went public with condemnation of his comments.

But messages posted by Tory MPs in private WhatsApp groups over the weekend, revealed by The Telegraph, suggest some have concerns about the fallout. Those concerns are being raised by some MPs who, like Mr Anderson, managed to win long-held Labour seats in the Red Wall in 2019 – seats Mr Sunak is batting to keep.

While none of the messages seen by The Telegraph explicitly express support for the former Tory deputy chairman, the MPs’ comments suggest Red Wall constituents have concerns about the decision.

Some of the messages were posted on Saturday on “The 109”, the name of a WhatsApp group for Tory MPs first elected in 2019, although it also includes a few MPs from other intakes.

Jill Mortimer, the Tory MP for Hartlepool – a seat won from Labour in 2021 – shared a voter email that said: “Today’s news of Lee Anderson’s suspension has been the final nail in your party’s coffin.” The MP asked colleagues: “Anyone else getting these in?”

Sarah Dines, the MP for the Derbyshire Dales, said: “Loads. From random constituents, not known supporters. Interesting.”

Sarah Atherton, the MP for Wrexham, won by the Tories from Labour in 2019, said: “I’ve lodged my concerns due to an instant backlash from members.” Peter Gibson, the Tory MP for Darlington, wrote: “Inbox very positive for Lee.”

On a separate Tory WhatsApp group, Mr Gibson wrote that the Tories “are a broad church and Lee has been a huge asset to our party”.

The concerns led to Richard Holden, the Conservative Party chairman who is involved in disciplinary matters, to post an explanatory message. Mr Holden, elected as an MP in 2019, told the group of fellow 2019-ers: “I’m sure you’ll appreciate that the last thing I wanted to see was one of ours lose the whip.”

Some in government positions also raised concerns, such as Paul Holmes, the MP for Eastleigh who is the parliamentary private secretary to Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary.

Mr Holmes wrote in a WhatsApp group for other parliamentary aides that Mr Anderson’s suspension “will drive the agenda that we can’t speak up on things. Especially after last Wednesday and the protests we saw”.

The comments suggest some Tory MPs may privately be less comfortable with the decision to suspend Mr Anderson than the party leadership has put across this weekend.

One Tory MP said of Mr Anderson: “He’s an idiot for saying what he did and should have apologised but he’s not a racist and speaks for the silent majority in this country who feel Westminster has abandoned them.”

The furore started when Suella Braverman, the former home secretary, claimed that “the truth is that the Islamists, the extremists and the anti-Semites are in charge now”.

Her comments, in a piece for The Telegraph about pro-Palestinian protests and how police were handling some extremist behaviour, triggered an immediate debate.

Mr Anderson then said on GB News: “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London… He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

His remarks were condemned as racist by critics, who called for action from the party leadership. On Saturday, it was announced that he had been stripped of the Tory whip.

Mr Dowden explained the decision on Sunday morning by saying that “words matter”, arguing that Mr Anderson had failed to apologise when asked to do so and was therefore suspended.

He added: “I don’t believe that Lee Anderson was intending to be Islamophobic, but nonetheless, I understand the concern, perhaps particularly when it’s in relation to the Mayor of London, how those words had caused offence. That is precisely why he was given the chance to apologise and, when he failed to do so, action was taken.”

He also opened the door to Mr Anderson’s return should he say sorry. Asked by Camilla Tominey on GB News whether he could rule out him having the whip returned, he replied: “I certainly wouldn’t rule that out.”

Mr Dowden’s comments triggered further criticism from moderate Tory MPs who have been horrified by Mr Anderson’s rhetoric and pushed for him to be reprimanded.

Sir Robert Buckland, a former justice secretary, told The Telegraph: “It would have to be a full recantation and an explanation as to why on Earth he did make those ridiculous comments. As Conservative MPs, we all have responsibility in our language to speak carefully and not to stigmatise an entire group of people.”

On Saturday, it was reported that Nigel Farage was trying to woo Mr Anderson to join Reform. Mr Tice played down the possibility but said: “The sentiment of what Lee was trying to say is that millions of Britons are very concerned about these extreme Islamists dominating these marches and creating a sense of fear across the UK.”

The Muslim Council of Britain has called on the Conservatives to launch an investigation into alleged “structural Islamophobia” within Tory ranks, saying anti-Muslim sentiment in the party was “on public display this week”.

A Conservative Party spokesman said the party “has a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of prejudice”.

The MPs who sent the leaked WhatsApps were approached for comment.

Deputy PM: I share Anderson’s concerns over threat of violence to politicians

Oliver Dowden, the Deputy Prime Minister, has said he agrees “more broadly” with Lee Anderson over concerns about the threat of violence towards politicians.

Mr Anderson, a former Conservative Party deputy chairman, was stripped of the Tory whip on Saturday after he claimed that Islamists had “got control” of Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor.

The Ashfield MP had been responding to a Telegraph article by Suella Braverman, the former home secretary, in which she wrote that “the Islamists, the extremists and the anti-Semites are in charge” of the country.

Her comments came after Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, sparked anger over a vote on a ceasefire in Gaza by allowing a vote on a Labour amendment, leading to some accusing him of giving in to extremists. 

Speaking on GB News on Friday, Mr Anderson said: “I don’t actually believe that these Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is that they’ve got control of Khan, they’ve got control of London.

“He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates… If you let Labour in through the back door, expect more of this, expect our cities to be taken over by these lunatics.”

The comments led to widespread condemnation, with Labour accusing Mr Anderson of “appalling racism and Islamophobia”. 

Mr Dowden said it was “appropriate” for the whip to have been removed from Mr Anderson, but that he was “more broadly” voicing concerns about threats of violence towards politicians. 

He told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg: “I think what Lee Anderson was more broadly expressing in his interviews, and others have done, is a deep concern – which by the way I also share – about the way in which politics has been conducted and what has happened over the past week. 

“I never thought in my lifetime as a politician, I would see a situation where what was happening in the House of Commons was influenced by the threat of violence, and that has caused huge anger and frustration, it’s deeply un-British and it’s right that we should call it out”. 

Mr Dowden added: “I don’t believe that Lee Anderson was intending to be Islamophobic but nonetheless, I understand the concern, perhaps particularly when it’s in relation to the Mayor of London, how those words had caused offence.

“That is precisely why he was given the chance to apologise – and when he failed to do so, action was taken.”

He said Mr Anderson would have been able to keep the whip and stay in the Conservative Party if he had apologised.

Meanwhile, Labour also called for Liz Truss to have the whip removed this weekend, after the former prime minister appeared alongside Steve Bannon in the US and he called Tommy Robinson, the far-Right activist, a “hero”.

Mr Bannon, former White House chief strategist under Donald Trump, took part in an interview alongside Ms Truss at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

Mr Dowden said that Ms Truss should have “called out” Mr Bannon’s comments, and that he would have done so in her position.

“What I would say is that when the cameras are on you and you’ve got a big debate going on, you sometimes don’t catch every single word that someone says – but that’s for Liz to explain why she didn’t call it out at that time,” he said. “I certainly would have called it out had I been in that situation and heard it properly.”

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, accused Rishi Sunak of harbouring “extremists in his party” following both Mr Anderson’s comments and Ms Truss’s media appearance.

He told the Observer: “It’s right that Lee Anderson has lost the whip after this appalling racist and Islamophobic outburst. But what does it say about the Prime Minister’s judgement that he made Lee Anderson deputy chairman of his party?

“Whether it is Liz Truss staying silent on Tommy Robinson or Suella Braverman’s extreme rhetoric, Rishi Sunak’s weakness means Tory MPs can act with impunity.

“Rishi Sunak needs to get a grip and take on the extremists in his party. The Tories may be getting more and more desperate as the election approaches, but Rishi Sunak has a responsibility to stop this slide into ever more toxic rhetoric.”

Woman loses £650,000 injury claim after being pictured winning Christmas tree-throwing contest

A woman who tried to claim €760,383 (£649,967) for injuries she suffered in a car crash lost her case after she was pictured winning a Christmas tree-throwing contest.

Kamila Grabska, 36, said she was left with a ‘‘disabling’’ condition following an accident in February 2017 when the vehicle she was in was hit from behind.

She had sued RSA Insurance on the basis that she could not work for more than five years, play with her children or carry out basic chores because of constant back and neck pain.

But the Irish High Court, sitting in Limerick, was shown a photo in a national newspaper of her hurling a spruce tree on Jan 8 2018, during her hearing.

Mrs Grabska argued that while she looked happy in the pictures from the charity event, she was still suffering from her injuries and endured pain to this day.

But Judge Carmel Stewart threw out the case and remarked that the “very graphic picture” of her tossing the tree had helped her make the decision.

The Irish Independent reported the judge as saying: “It is a very large, natural Christmas tree and it is being thrown by her in a very agile movement. I’m afraid I cannot but conclude the claims were entirely exaggerated. On that basis, I propose to dismiss the claim.”

Mrs Grabska, a mother of two from Ennis, Co Clare, told doctors her injuries were so severe after the accident that she could not lift a heavy bag without feeling shooting pain. She said there were times when her husband had to bring medication to her in bed because of her pain.

She quit her job following the crash and took disability payments, writing in court documents that her past and future loss of earnings amounted to £427,340.

But the court heard that just a few days before she had informed doctors of her condition, she had finished top in the charity Christmas tree-throwing event.

During the hearing, some footage was also submitted in evidence from November last year that showed Ms Grabska training her large dog in a park for more than an hour.

She denied the suggestion that she had faked her injuries, telling the court she was simply “trying to live a normal life”, the Irish Independent reported.

Her case was dismissed after the judge ruled her activities following the crash were “completely at odds” with the medical evidence she had given of her injuries.

Foreign criminals face deportation under plans to free up prisons

Foreign shoplifters, thieves and drug dealers are to be deported rather than prosecuted as part of radical plans by the Justice Secretary to free up prison spaces.

Alex Chalk told The Telegraph that lower level foreign offenders will be spared jail and instead given “conditional cautions” under which they will be expelled and banned from returning to Britain.

Chris Philp, the policing minister, has been put in charge of delivering the deportation scheme which aims to reduce the 3,300 foreign prisoners on remand who have been charged but not yet convicted. 

They represent nearly a third of the 10,441 foreign offenders in jails in England and Wales, out of the total 88,000 prisoners.

However, the plans could be frustrated by criminals who mount legal challenges against their deportation.

Mr Chalk revealed he has opened negotiations with Poland and Romania to deport dangerous prisoners to serve their sentences in their home countries.

He is also fast-tracking the expulsion of foreign offenders nearing the end of their sentences and restarting the use of police cells for criminals.

Proposal in the public interest

Ministers have been warned that prison places could run out within weeks as courts ramp up cases and prosecutions are set to increase following the uplift of 20,000 police officers. 

As of Friday there were just over 1,000 spaces available out of 89,041.

Outlining in detail his plans for the first time, the Justice Secretary said removing foreign prisoners instead of prosecuting them was in the public interest.

“There is a power that exists in certain lower-level cases, that in place of prosecution, the Home Office deports someone,” he said. 

“Now there are some cases where it’s absolutely right that you are going to want to go through the criminal justice process to ensure that that person is properly punished.

“But there will be other cases where actually it’s in the public interest to simply get them out of the country.” 

As the power to issue conditional cautions already exists, its extension to foreign prisoners is unlikely to require new legislation.

Speaking to The Telegraph during a visit to HMP Liverpool, where a multi-million pound refurbishment programme will free up more than 350 extra cells, Mr Chalk said his “first, second and third” priority was to increase prison capacity.

“I’ll always do whatever it takes to keep the British people safe,” said Mr Chalk. 

“I will focus absolutely on supply, that is my overwhelming priority. I will always make sure that there are sufficient places to give effect to an order of the court to incarcerate people and to ensure that the British people are kept safe with dangerous people behind bars.”

Mr Chalk admitted that his “intense frustration” at the cost to taxpayers of housing foreign prisoners – £47,000 a year for every inmate – had driven his plans.

He has already struck a deal with Albania to transfer 200 of its most dangerous criminals, who are serving four years or more, to see out the rest of their sentences in their home country. 

Albanians account for 13 per cent of all foreign criminals in UK jails, the largest proportion, with 1,323 currently incarcerated.

The first deported under the scheme was a “serious” drug smuggler jailed for 17 years, Mr Chalk revealed.

Now the Justice Secretary is turning his attention to Poland, which is the second-highest with nine per cent, and Romania, at seven per cent, where he is seeking to establish similar prisoner transfer agreements. He has already written to his Polish counterpart.

Early removal scheme

The expansion of an “early removal scheme” is also expected to have a significant impact on overcrowding. 

Foreign prisoners can now be deported 18 months before the end of their sentences, a year earlier than the six months in the previous policy.

Criminals are freed early from jail as soon as they are deported, but banned from ever returning to the UK. 

However, significant numbers fight deportation, pleading breach of their human rights or that they are victims of modern slavery.

“Some don’t want to leave a British prison or Britain because they will say that they’ve got a child here, or whatever it is,” said Mr Chalk.

On the orders of Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, resources have been “surged” into a new fast-track system for hearing appeals. 

It has been set up under new immigration laws which bar offenders from introducing new evidence or claims at the last minute to delay their deportation flights.

However, Mr Chalk pledged to avoid any expansion of the early release of prisoners – beyond the present emergency scheme – where governors can free prisoners up to 18 days before their scheduled release date. 

This has now been “activated for an undefined period” because of the crisis, according to documents leaked at the weekend.

He has also authorised Operation Safeguard, where police cells are used for the overflow of newly convicted prisoners to avoid having to transport them “at great cost and inconvenience around the country”.

It was suspended at the end of last year, but the crisis is such that it will now be activated.

Mega prisons delayed

Mr Chalk outlined the plans as he admitted the MoJ’s new building programme to create six “world class” mega prisons, with space for nearly 10,000 prisoners, was a year behind schedule because of “sclerosis” or blockages in the planning system.

The MoJ is spending £400 million on 800 rapid deployment “pop-up” cells in prisons. 

Officials are working to create new blocks in existing jails and refurbish Victorian jails such as those in Liverpool and Birmingham to bring hundreds more cells into use. 

The Justice Secretary said: “Prisons as well as prisoners can be redeemed.”

He is facing a race against the courts to ensure prison spaces do not run out before a major sentencing reform this summer.

The legislation would mean hundreds of criminals facing up to one year in prison will be spared jail and instead have their sentences suspended.

Mr Chalk hinted that reforms to the planning system to make it easier to build major infrastructure at pace would have his backing.

“I don’t want to tread on the toes of Michael Gove [the Levelling Up Secretary] on these things,” he said.

“All I can tell you is that from my point of view, it is completely unacceptable for us to be in a position where we cannot roll out essential infrastructure like this because of sclerosis in the planning system.

“I think there is a solution within the existing system. It just means building a pipeline. But of course, if there are other ways we can do it, then we at the MoJ will be all ears.”

In the absence of such an overhaul, his current “solution” is £30 million funding for a team of civil servants to identify sites “years and years” in advance and get planning permission further ahead of development.

The Justice Secretary said the overcrowding crisis stemmed from two principled decisions by ministers in the Covid pandemic – the first to spurn the early release of 16,000 prisoners, recommended in contingency plans by MoJ officials, and the second not to abandon jury trials, “one of the most fundamental freedoms of freeborn Britons.”

While other places such as France and California released thousands of prisoners, Mr Chalk said: “Releasing 16,000 people would have been a mistake because it would have prioritised the protection of the prisoner rather than protection of the public.” 

Now, however, he said “there is a price you pay for principle”.

Church of England tells parishes to set up ‘race action plan’ put forward by pro-BLM bishop

The Church of England has told all of its parishes to draw up “race action plans” after a pro-Black Lives Matter (BLM) bishop urged it to embrace being “woke”.

The General Synod, the Church’s legislative body, passed a motion on Sunday which said it should “encourage parishes and deaneries to develop local action plans to address issues of racial injustice”.

The Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Bishop of Dover, said the Church needed to “further embed racial justice” and should not be afraid of being called “woke”.

“Those who are frightened by the authenticity of this movement want to scare us into thinking that being woke is a sin created by people on the Left,” she said.

Bishop Hudson-Wilkin led prayers at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018 and has been an outspoken supporter of BLM.

She called on the Church to expand the number of bishops, cathedral deans and other senior churchmen who are from ethnic minorities.

‘Pernicious sin’

The Very Rev Rogers Govender MBE, the Dean of Manchester, told Synod that the Church’s failure to do so before now was a “pernicious sin”.

No members stood up to make speeches opposing the motion as it passed by 364 votes in favour to zero against, with two abstentions.

The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, spoke animatedly as he said the Church “has not been good enough” on diversity and inclusion, that “racism and discrimination rupture our body” and asked, “May the Lord have mercy upon us”.

The Rt Rev Martin Gorick, the Bishop of Dudley, said every Anglican who becomes a parish representative in his Diocese of Worcester now has to undertake compulsory unconscious bias training.

Bishop Hudson-Wilkin said in response that every other diocese should follow suit.

The training was axed across government and the civil service in December 2020 because there was “no evidence” that it improved equality.

The Rev Rachel Webbley, team rector in Whitstable, Kent, told Synod she was a “recovering racist” and said she was shocked by “just how much white resistance there is to feeling discomfort about racial injustice”.

Daniel Matovu, a lay member of Synod, added that he had been forced to bear a cross throughout his life “because of the colour of my skin”.

“You white folks have no idea, particularly those of you who are white male, heterosexual and not disabled,” he said. “You’ve only been given small sticks to carry, with which to beat the rest of us.”

David Hermitt, another lay member, said the Church needed to become more anti-racist to reverse its falling membership figures because “young people” are “more radical than we are”.

‘Politics of grievance’

However Dr Rakib Ehsan, the author of Beyond Grievance: What the Left Gets Wrong About Ethnic Minorities, told The Telegraph: “It appears that no sphere of British life is free of divisive identitarian thinking – including the Church of England.

“Abandoning traditional Christian values in favour of the unholy trinity of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the established Church of the land risks alienating conservative ethnic minorities who have little time for the politics of grievance and victimhood.”

The Church’s most recent data shows 4.1 per cent of clergy are from an ethnic minority background, compared to the 18.3 per cent that make up the total population in England and Wales.

The Church does not regularly collect data on the diversity of congregations but in 2014, when the most recent audit was conducted, seven per cent of churchgoers were found to come from ethnic minorities.

Bishop Hudson-Wilkin’s motion also called on dioceses to prioritise the “collection, monitoring and measuring of relevant data” and asked for a “review and strengthening of the role of the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns” to be considered.

The committee advises the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on race and advocates for “positive action to increase the inclusion and representation of BAME people across the Church”.

‘Structural change’

The bishop was born in Jamaica and became the first black female Church of England bishop when she was appointed to the see of Dover in 2019.

In June 2020, she addressed BLM protestors outside Canterbury Cathedral and called for “structural change in all walks of life” in response to the death of George Floyd.

She also said that month that the Church discriminated against black clergy and was “still stuck” in a mindset that “black people couldn’t possibly lead, or can only minister to black people”.

In April 2021, she condemned as “deeply disturbing” a Government-backed review of race in Britain that found this country “should be regarded as a model for other white-majority countries” on race relations.

In February 2020, the Church issued an apology for racism as the Archbishop of Canterbury said there was “no doubt” that it was “deeply institutionally racist”.

Dr Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, the director of Don’t Divide Us, said: “Black people, like anyone else, need the same justice as their fellow citizens, not a special ‘racial’ kind – you’d think a religion that preaches we’re all equal in God’s eyes would get this.”

Abolishing inheritance tax would boost workforce by 300,000, say Truss-backed economists

Abolishing inheritance tax would increase Britain’s workforce by 300,000 because it would encourage people not to retire early, economists backed by Liz Truss have argued.

Analysis by the Growth Commission claimed the number of people in work would increase by 1.1 per cent if the tax was removed.

The commission’s economists argued that people choose to stop work earlier because the top tranche of their savings will be taxed when they die, but may not do so if the tax was scrapped.

Meanwhile, a second Tory-linked group, the Adam Smith Institute, headed by Nadhim Zahawi, the former Conservative chairman, also published a call to axe the tax.

The institute produced a paper, shared with The Telegraph, that found the number of inheritance tax forms that must be filled out has increased five-fold since the 1990s.

The calls for the abolition of inheritance tax, an issue on which The Telegraph has campaigned, comes with the Budget, to be delivered by Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, little more than a week away.

Sources at Number 10 and Number 11 have indicated that an inheritance tax cut will not be considered despite the Government weighing up the move for months.

Tory strategists concluded that a reduction in inheritance tax could be perceived by some voters as a sign that the party was trying to help its supporters in what may be its final months in office.

Inheritance tax is paid on death if an individual’s estate is worth more than £325,000, though special rules increase that amount if a family home is passed to family members.

Around four per cent of estates are hit by the tax, although polling suggests many more voters do not like it and regard it as double taxation.

The Growth Commission, a group of economists endorsed by Ms Truss after she was forced out of Number 10, has claimed axing it would increase GDP per capita – which has been falling for most quarters in the last two years – by 1.4 per cent by 2044 and concluded that some 4,300 of the richest taxpayers could remain in the UK as a result.

Douglas McWilliams, the co-chairman of the commission, said: “Before we ran the analysis, I was not convinced that abolishing inheritance tax was a good idea. But the research is pretty persuasive, showing that the tax has bad effects on savings, which leads to an exodus of high taxpayers and encourages early retirement.

“With an ageing population, and with so many other countries with low or zero rates of inheritance tax, keeping this tax for purely ideological reasons looks to be a luxury the UK cannot afford. It’s not even as if the very rich actually pay the tax – they either go abroad or tie up their assets in trusts.”

The ASI paper found that inheritance tax accounts for a smaller proportion of overall tax take than three decades ago, dropping from 1.7 per cent then to 0.89 per cent now.

The statistic was used to argue that there would be less of an impact to the Treasury’s finances if the tax were scrapped now than there would have been in the 1990s.

The ASI also noted that death duties were abolished in Australia, Canada and much of East Asia and the Pacific in the 1990s. Austria, Portugal, Sweden and Norway have abolished inheritance taxes and death duties since 2003.

Mr Zahawi said: “Conservatives have long understood that the continued existence of inheritance tax is fundamentally antithetical to our instincts.

“The Government has the opportunity in the spring Budget to demonstrate our Conservative values, that we understand that individuals know best what to do with their own money and that we are on the side of family-run businesses. One of the most effective ways to do so would be to abolish the immoral death tax.”

Doritos accidentally puts Chilli Heatwave crisps into Tangy Cheese bags

Doritos has issued an allergy alert and product recall after accidentally putting Chilli Heatwave crisps into Tangy Cheese packets.

Around 885 packs of incorrectly labelled crisps were sold in Tesco and Poundland stores because of a manufacturing error that saw the wrong seasoning applied, Doritos said. The company, owned by PepsiCo, apologised for the mix-up.

It said Chilli Heatwave contains soya, whereas Tangy Cheese does not, and therefore there is an insufficient warning of the risk of allergic reactions on the packaging.

Affected items were shipped to one Tesco distribution centre and one Poundland distribution centre, The Telegraph understands.

‘Quality and safety of paramount importance’

PepsiCo said: “We are recalling a small number of Doritos Tangy Cheese 180g packs sold in Tesco and 5x30g multipacks sold in Poundland.

“Some of the packets may contain Chilli Heatwave seasoning rather than Tangy Cheese, meaning the product is incorrectly labelled and may pose a risk to people with an allergy to soya. No other Doritos products and no other retailers are in scope for this recall.

“The quality and safety of our products is of paramount importance to us and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused. We are working with the Food Standards Agency and allergen groups to inform consumers.”

The product recall said Tangy Cheese packs do have a note that they may contain soya, but it is not listed as an ingredient, meaning the warning is not prominent or strong enough. Affected items have a best before date of June 1, and customers can ring a customer care phone number to get a refund.

The Food Standards Agency said: “Doritos is recalling the above product from customers and has been advised to contact the relevant allergy support organisations, which will tell their members about the recall.”