INDEPENDENT 2024-03-04 10:34:07


Kate Middleton’s uncle Gary Goldsmith ‘to enter Celebrity Big Brother’

Kate Middleton’s uncle Gary Goldsmith is rumoured to be joining Celebrity Big Brother tonight.

The 58-year-old businessman is the younger brother of the Princess of Wales’s mother Carole Middleton.

Tonight’s return of the reality show will mark Big Brother’s first Celebrity edition in six years, and its first run since ITV rebooted the series, with presenters AJ Odudu and Will Best on hosting duties.

While ITV has said that any rumoured names are merely speculation at this point, Goldsmith has reportedly been seen in the hotel where the celebrities are staying and was pictured arriving at ITV studios in London.

In images obtained by The Sun, Goldsmith was seen arriving wearing black sunglasses, a baseball cap and a leather jacket while carrying several suitcases.

He is said to have upset his sister Carole and her husband Michael amid rumours he will participate in the reality show.

A source told the publication that his speculated TV appearance was “infuriating” for the Princess’s parents, adding “Kate doesn’t need this stress”.

“Gary said he’s been read the riot act by Kate’s mum Carole and her dad Michael – they aren’t happy he’s going into Celebrity Big Brother. It is infuriating for them. Kate doesn’t need this stress.”

The Independent has contacted Kensington Palace for comment.

Goldsmith, who owns a recruitment business, was a guest at the royal wedding in 2011 and also attended his niece Pippa Middleton’s wedding in 2017.

His rumoured reality show appearance comes as Kate remains out of the public eye following a major abdominal surgery last month, and Prince William abruptly pulled out of his godfather’s funeral last week.

On Friday, Kensington Palace said that the Princess of Wales is still “doing well” while she recovers from surgery. The palace reiterated that “nothing has changed” as her health became subject to mass public speculation on social media.

Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh, Fern Britton and Strictly Come Dancing pro Nikita Kuzmin are among those rumoured to be taking part in Celebrity Big Brother, which launches on ITV1 and ITVX on Monday 4 March at 9pm.

Have the royals got the right idea about homeopathy?

I have just taken two drops of “Secret Wisdom” directly into my mouth before bed – it was prescribed by a homeopath to give me “deep inner stillness”. I’ve been told it’s derived from orchids, and will apparently help me cope with stress and anxiety. It may be nonsense, but I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed and close to burnout that I’d honestly give anything a go.

I’ve been inspired by King Charles, who has recently – if controversially – appointed a pro-homeopathy doctor with an integrative approach to medicine as head of the royal household’s team of medics. It still remains to be seen how much of a role complementary medicine will play alongside conventional treatment in the monarch’s dealing with an unspecified form of cancer – but the King is a known fan, having openly supported its use in the NHS. He also advocates homeopathy not just for humans, but for animals, too.

Campaigners – such as Michael Marshall, project director of the Good Thinking Society that challenges pseudo-science – claim Dr Michael Dixon’s new role is “inappropriate” and “worrying”. Reports have claimed that Dixon believes Christian healers may be able to help the chronically ill, that the herbal medicine known as “devil’s claw” can fix frozen shoulders, and that nothing is better for impotence than some horny goat weed.

“In any other field, we would expect the products we buy to be proven to do what they say they can do,” says Marshall, whose mission is to make the public aware of the dangers of alternative medicine. “When it comes to complementary and alternative medicine, we find an awful lot of impressive-sounding claims, but no reliable evidence that any of them are true.” He also says that “treatments that don’t work are a waste of time and money – and people who are ill can rarely afford to waste either. On top of that, the redirection away from effective treatments can be harmful”.

Buckingham Palace, however, has moved to clarify Dr Dixon’s beliefs, writing in a statement: “Dr Dixon does not believe homeopathy can cure cancer. His position is that complementary therapies can sit alongside conventional therapies, provided they are safe, appropriate and evidence-based.”

I’m not sure what to believe, so I’ve turned up at Harley Street’s Hale Clinic – a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine that was opened by Charles in 1988 – with sessions booked back-to-back, as if I’m in for emergency resuscitation. Treatments combine conventional medical approaches with other traditional disciplines such as Ayurveda, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Complementary approaches, such as homeopathy and acupuncture, are also used to treat the patient holistically – in mind, body and spirit. It aims to identify the root causes of disease, with nutrition and lifestyle factors also playing a part.

I’m not a novice when it comes to this stuff. I’m aware of the latest craze for Lion’s Mane mushroom pills: supermodel Giselle Buchanan swears by them to help her focus and boost her energy levels. My mum friends are all-in, too, switching from Calpol to Bella Donna. I also once spent an absolute fortune on a famous Chinese acupuncturist and herbalist on Harley Street when I was desperate to get pregnant. I ended up brewing bespoke herbs in a huge Le Creuset pot to drink twice a day to get “good eggs” for IVF. I felt as if I was doing something positive. I can’t help but wonder if it was just the placebo effect at work, though. But who really knows?

Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor at the University of Exeter and author of 2023’s Charles the Alternative King, is an expert on complementary medicine, and points out to me that complementary medicine includes “more than 400 different treatments”. “Most are useless,” he says, “but some have potential. Typically [homeopathic remedies] are so diluted that the end product contains no active ingredient, and that, of course, means they are pure placebos.”

He says there are now several studies that have shown why some people feel better after a homeopathic treatment. “It basically boils down to two elements; firstly, the placebo effect, which means that we often do get better when we expect and hope to get better; secondly the empathic encounter and tender loving care from a homepath.”

Ernst, who said that King Charles’s appointment of a pro-homeopathic doctor showed he was a “promoter of quackery” and “an enemy of progress in healthcare”, says that the danger in promoting these types of complementary treatments is that “a patient takes the often irresponsible claims made for them seriously”. He continues: “Either the patient would not receive the best treatment available, and it would prolong suffering. Or, in the worst case scenario, they might even hasten the person’s death.”

Herbalism, however, is the area where, he claims, “we find the most promising therapies”. “St John’s wort, for instance, is an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression, and several other herbal remedies are supported by reasonably sound evidence.” Faith healing, on the other hand, he says “is biologically implausible”. “There is no scientifically explicable way it can work, and more importantly, the reliable clinical trials that have tested its efficiency have failed to show that it works beyond placebo.”

Whether it’s all just a placebo effect or not, I believe it’s worth a shot. YouGov found in 2021 that around half of Britons were “open-minded” about homeopathy. The practice is largely based on the principle that like cures like. The NHS defines it as the belief that “a substance that causes certain symptoms can also help to remove those symptoms” – but they stopped funding it in 2017, claiming that homeopathic remedies are at best a placebo, and a misuse of scarce funds.

In 2022, the global market for homeopathic products was valued at $11bn (£8.6bn). The late Queen and Queen Mother all had homeopathic doctors. Charles and Camilla are also known to visit the holistic health retreat Soukya in India, a place that integrates the 5,000-year-old practice of Ayurvedic medicine, as well as homeopathy and naturopathy. In Prince Harry’s Spare, he reported that Meghan offered Kate “homeopathic cure-alls… oregano oil and turmeric” to treat William’s cold when Kate announced that her husband had never taken unconventional remedies before. There is, however, something inherently blue-blooded about homeopathy.

Long before King Charles fell in love with homeopathy, his ancestors were behind it. Edward VIII was patron of the London Homeopathic Hospital – it was George VI who added “Royal” to the hospital’s title. It was also reported that the late Queen, who was patron of the institution, now called The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, always travelled with a case of remedies – “she enjoyed the sense of security”, according to the Faculty of Homeopathy, whose patron is now King Charles.

Dr Elizabeth Thompson, a former NHS consultant and homeopathic physician, who founded the National Centre for Integrative Medicine (NCIM) in 2014, is passionate about transforming healthcare “to a broader, more inclusive model,” she tells me. “One that includes conventional, holistic and lifestyle approaches, [and has] wellness and choice at its centre. Change is happening.”

However, there is still a stigma attached to a more integrative approach. “The recent controversy over King Charles’s health choices is part of the problem we have in healthcare,” Dr Thompson says, “where when someone finds holistic approaches useful, they are criticised or dissuaded from using them, even though they might be low-cost, gentle inventions that support rebalancing and activating health.”

I have already been assessed via Zoom by top integrative doctor Dr Rajendra Sharma (at a cost of £435), who treated Tina Turner. He has suggested counselling with a psychotherapist “focusing on a strong spiritual aspect” – among other things like yoga, Tai chi, and Qi Gong. The list of herbal and homeopathic medications that he suggests I consider include L-72, a homeopathic general stress formula for fear, anxiety, and general low mood – and is probably the closest that homeopathy gets to Prozac. I’m also going to take the supplement Adreno Complex, which supports the build-up of cortisol – you need that to help your body cope better with stress. It’s packed with powerful adaptogens such as Reishi mushrooms, licorice, Rhodiola, and Siberian Ginseng.

The homeopath Kamli Kaul (£250 for a first consultation) is fine-tuning his recommendations for me. She was drafted in earlier than scheduled for our in-person appointment, after I suffered a panic attack in their submarine-like Hyperbaric oxygen therapy tank. It pumps out 95 to 98 per cent pure oxygen that is absorbed at the cellular level via a face mask or cannula (from £120 for 60 mins). I’m told this can aid deep sleep and depression – and is a favourite with celebrities for boosting collagen. Kaul could sense the extreme panic I was in, and wants to hold back the L-72 and use “the more gentle” orchid flower essences that “heal on a vibrational level”.

Along with “Secret Wisdom” (Phragmipedium wallisii), which is “best taken with the intention of meditation and self-reflection”, she makes up a combo of orchid essences to help ground me: “Furnace of Life”, “Necklace of Beauty” and “Clarity of Spirit”. “They are like angels to help us deal with the here and now,” she explains.

Within minutes of talking to her, I’m sobbing into a box of Kleenex. She’s worried if I take anything deeper on the homeopathic front, it might “unleash things”. I’m seeing crazy scenes from The Omen. “Part of being a good mum is loving yourself, healing yourself and giving yourself time and space to do that,” Kaul tells me. “When did you last do this?” I tell her it’s been at least seven years – that’s when I had my first child.

I’m already feeling better when I’m ushered in for a one-hour appointment with faith healer John McGrath (£195). He offers in-person and online healing (from £195 for one hour/ £110 online). As he “realigns my seven chakras with the seven layers of my auric field,” I feel deeply relaxed. McGrath is “clairsentient”, he tells me – so he feels energy and what is blocking it. He explains that every person’s auric field – defined as a coloured emanation that’s said to enclose the human body – “extends two metres from the body”. It means that there’s a lot of hand waving above my body as he gets my energy flowing during our session.

I feel like a new person is emerging – it’s me, pre-children. Since I’m having a whole morning of relaxation and spiritual pampering, a foreign activity in itself for a hectic single mum like me, it’s hardly surprising. I even find sitting in a dentist’s chair relaxing nowadays. It may well be the placebo effect – but I’m not here for a life-threatening illness. It’s a bit like having a deep power nap. And, yes, I did doze off.

I can’t sit with the feeling for too long, though, as I’m zipped into a tent-like oxygen chamber for an hour. There is no need to panic if you’re prone to claustrophobia – there are three portholes and a deckchair inside to sit on. Finally, I’m bundled into myofascial release therapy with Corinne Zeiderman (from £115), in which she applies light pressure by hand to release tension within the tissues of the body.

Beena Menon, who took over the Hale Clinic 10 years ago, says her clinic is moving more towards “women’s health”. Even the menopause can be tackled with the integrative approach, she claims, rather than the one-size-fits-all all HRT that is given on the NHS. “[Complementary medicine] has got bad press,” she says. “That it’s so expensive, but that’s because we live in a society that is blessed with free NHS healthcare. If you follow the protocols given from the first consultation, you can keep a homeopathic remedy in your cupboard for years. Many people get better in the first three sessions of a treatment – and can stock up on remedies, or come in for a boost now and again.”

I have only been on homeopathic and herbal remedies for a week, having refused the herbal sleeping drought Dormeasan, but I already feel more focused and less broken. If I had more money than sense, I could indefinitely continue my quest for harmony at the clinic. But without the budget for numerous treatments, this was enough – an intense booster session to get me back on track.

Michael McIntyre cancels show after undergoing emergency operation

Michael McIntyre has been forced to cancel a comedy show due to an emergency operation.

The British comedian, who was one of the most-watched TV stars over Christmas 2023, was set to perform at Southhampton’s Mayflower Theatre on Monday (4 March).

However, an announcement has informed ticket-owners that the date will have to be rescheduled – days after the host of BBC game show The Wheel pulled out playing Plymouth Pavilions on Thursday (20 February) due to “illness”.

A statement shared by the comedy star’s team on Sunday (3 March) revealed that McIntyre is currently “unable to perform” after having “an operation to remove kidney stones”.

The announcement read: “We regret to inform customers that Michael McIntyre will be unable to perform on Monday 4 March at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. Unfortunately, Michael has had an operation to remove kidney stones. The show will be rescheduled to a later date which will be announced shortly.

“Tickets will remain valid for the new date. If you are unable to make the new date you will be entitled to a refund. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

McIntyre’s fans shared well wishes to the comedian, with many who themselves have previously had kidney stones posting particular sympathy for what he must be enduring.

The gig is part of the comedian’s world tour, which commenced in September 2024, and has seen him perform in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Forthcoming dates this month will see McIntyre grace the stage in Newcastle and Manchester.

McIntyre, 48, is one of the BBC’s most-watched TV stars, with his game show The Wheel and entertainment series Michael McIntyre’s Big Night regularly, pulling in huge audiences for the corporation.

In 2014, McIntyre made headlines after walking off stage when an audience member in the front row repeatedly used her phone throughout his set.

The frustrated comedian asked security to “sort it out” and promised the audience at Darlington’s Civic Theatre he would be back, before he left the stage.

According to the Northern Echo, staff spoke to the woman and some members of the audience chanted for her to be removed from the venue.

The comedian returned to the stage several minutes later and carried on his act

McIntyre often uses anecdotes about his marriage as part of his stand-up material but, in 2020, the comedian said there was one joke in particular he regrets making.

Thousands stranded as one of UK’s busiest train lines blocked

One of the UK’s busiest railway lines is blocked due to a serious track fault, causing difficulties for thousands of Monday morning commuters.

It is believed a train hit an object on the track.

South Western Railway (SWR) said it is unable to run any services between Woking and London Waterloo. It urged passengers to avoid attempting to travel on the route.

National Rail Enquiries said: “Due to a serious issue with the track at Walton-on-Thames all lines are blocked.

“Please do not travel as there are no services currently operating.

“Disruption is expected to last until the end of the day.”

A spokesman said: “At around 5.50am this morning, a South Western Railway train travelling towards London Waterloo struck an object in the Walton-on-Thames area.

“No-one was injured and all passengers were safely escorted from the train; however, the lines through the area are currently blocked while we investigate.

“Early investigations show the front wheels of the train are derailed, therefore it’s likely to take us some time to get the railway reopened.

“We’re really sorry for the disruption and will update customers on the repairs and timescale for reopening as we know more.”

Services are expected to be disrupted for the rest of the day.

The disruption comes a day after rail fares across England and Wales rose by nearly 5%.

The increase in fares could add £190 to an annual season ticket from Woking to London, taking the cost from £3,880 to £4,070.

It could also see flexi season tickets for travel between Liverpool and Manchester on two days per week over a year rising by £92.60 from £1,890 to £1,982.60.

ORR figures show the Westminster administration provided £4.4bn of funding to train operators in Britain in the year to the end of March 2023.

Last July’s retail price index measure of inflation, which is traditionally used to determine annual fare rises, was 9 per cent.

The consumer prices index, which is a more commonly used inflation figure, was 6.8 per cent in July 2023 but fell to 4 per cent in January. Westminster and the Welsh government set the cap for rises in regulated fares at 4.9 per cent.

These include season tickets on most commuter journeys, some off-peak return tickets on long-distance routes and flexible tickets for travel around major cities.

The hidden homicides of women being pushed to their deaths

The family of a woman who was murdered by her abusive husband after he pushed her off Arthur’s Seat are backing a campaign to ensure justice for women who die after being pushed from a height.

Fawziyah Javed, 31, and her unborn child died when she was pushed from Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh in September 2021.

Kashif Anwar, 29, from Leeds, was found guilty of the murder after a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh last year and was given a life sentence and ordered to serve at least 20 years behind bars.

Ms Javed’s family has now backed the group Killed Women, which is calling for major change as it seeks to uncover and prevent the “hidden homicides” of women pushed to their deaths.

It coincides with the Channel 4 documentary The Push, which follows the case of Ms Javed, who was from the Pudsey area of Leeds.

Ms Javed’s mother Yasmin, a member of the Killed Women network, said: “Domestic abusers will continue to get away with murder if we don’t ensure the cases of so-called fallen women are rigorously investigated by authorities.

“We must have a system that delivers justice for these women.

“The conviction will never heal the grief of losing our beautiful Fawziyah, but we are campaigning to ensure that all those who murder women in this way are held to account.”

Criminologist Jane Monkton Smith estimates there are around 130 primarily female victims killed every year in England and Wales whose deaths are not investigated or prosecuted as homicides.

Killed Women submitted freedom of information requests to all 44 UK police forces to find out how many incidents of women falling from a height there were between 1973 and 2023.

It said 42 of the forces were not able to provide the data, or said they were unable to access the information due to the required time and cost.

Police Scotland did respond, stating there had been 10 homicides involving women falling from height, while Humberside provided data between 2017 and 2023, stating there were seven incidents, the campaign group said.

Killed Women’s Fallen Women campaign calls for the deaths of all women who have fallen from a height to be reviewed by police to identify whether domestic abuse may have been a feature.

The group wants official data collection to track the number of women who die after falling from a height each year, and said domestic abuse should be a key line of inquiry for police in all such cases.

Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, said: “I strongly support the fallen women campaign to shine a light on this hidden issue.

“Police, forensic specialists and the whole justice system must look seriously at the wider context to these deaths, taking the time to understand any history of domestic abuse, and join the dots.”

Killed Women is a campaigning organisation led by and representing the bereaved families of women killed by men.

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, National Police Chiefs’ Council and Police Scotland have been contacted for comment.

The Algarve… but make it luxury. The ultimate indulgent break guide

What does a luxury break look like to you? Chances are, it involves a picture-perfect beach, with miles of golden sands and crystal-clear waters. Perhaps some secret coves, lush lagoons and picturesque villages too. Add in mouth-watering food, incredible local wine, state-of-the-art spas and a spot of designer shopping, and you’ve got all the ingredients for the ultimate, five-star luxury holiday – and you’ll find it all in the Algarve.

Located on Portugal’s southern coastline, the Algarve is one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations – famously loved by families, sun-seekers (it enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year) and golfers. It’s also the ideal location for a luxury break. Between five-star resort settings and Michelin-starred restaurants, world-class leisure facilities and one-of-a-kind natural wonders, you’ll find everything you need for a truly exquisite experience.

To help you settle on your perfect holiday, travel experts Jet2holidays offer retreats in more than 50 amazing destinations in their Indulgent Escapes portfolio, including the Algarve. From beachfront boltholes to rural retreats, each hotel in this outstanding collection boasts a five-star rating and is hand-picked for its superb location and service.

With breaks including return flights, generous 25kg baggage, and return private hotel transfers*, all with a low £60pp deposit**, these stays are tailor-made. Plus, you can enjoy thoughtful extras such as complimentary priority lanes passes at your UK airport, two in-flight drinks✝ and a £10pp onboard voucher✝✝, for the ultimate luxury package holiday. Each one is ABTA and ATOL-protected, while Jet2.com has been voted Best Airline – UK by Tripadvisor and Jet2holidays is Which? Travel Brand of the Year 2023.

Here, we explore the best luxury experiences in the Algarve, from five-star stays and Michelin-starred cuisine to soothing spas and blissful boutiques.

The very best holiday starts with accommodation to match, and the Algarve has a huge array of luxury stays to choose from, including intimate hotels, private villas and wellness retreats.

For complete indulgence, set your sights on the region’s selection of luxury resorts, all designed with total relaxation in mind – whether that involves a round of golf, a spot of fine dining, cocktails by the pool or some nourishment in the spa. Couples and honeymooners can enjoy clifftop hideaways featuring wellness centres, poolside cabanas and buzzy bars. While families might prefer to stay in a lavish apartment complex, complete with on-site children’s entertainment and babysitting facilities. All set against a backdrop of stunning sea views, of course.

The Algarve might be famous for its vast beaches and warm climate – but it also holds a reputation as a must-experience foodie destination. From seafood hotspots with incredible ocean views to award-winning restaurants and hidden-gem tabernas, there are gourmet experiences to suit every taste. Sample freshly netted fish in the picturesque port of Olhão, enjoy a meal with a view in Vilamoura’s glitzy marina, or tempt your taste buds in the many upscale options in Quinta do Lago.

Fans of grand gastronomy will be spoilt for choice, as the region has an impressive eight Michelin-starred restaurants – two of which have a coveted two stars. It’s perhaps not surprising that the chefs here are so inspired – such is the incredible array of fresh and local produce available. Grilled sardines are a speciality (there’s even the annual Sardine Festival in Portimão), while signature local dish Cataplana combines succulent clams with onion, tomatoes, seafood, white wine and sausage.

For a real treat, look out for fresh oysters from the Ria Formosa lagoon and octopus from the village of Santa Luzia – dubbed the ‘octopus capital’ of Portugal. And while it may not be fine-dining per se, you can’t visit the Algarve without trying one of its most famous dishes: peri-peri chicken.

There’s plenty to wash it all down with too, as the Algarve has four distinctive wine areas: Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira. Best known for its red wines, you should also be sure to try the famous fruity digestif, Medronho, produced in the Monchique mountains.

Luxury is all about enjoying fabulous things, and you won’t be short on beautiful sights around here – starting with the miles and miles of blissful beaches. From the famous aquamarine waters of Praia da Marinha in the central Algarve to the dramatic golden cliffs of Albufeira’s Praia da Falésia, as well as the soft sands of Vilamoura, it’s easy to secure your slice of paradise.

To get a little more off the beaten track, hire a car (we recommend a sporty little number for the full luxury experience) and drive the spectacular coastal roads. Alternatively, head inland to the jaw-dropping mountain landscapes and whitewashed villages.

You could even charter a boat and explore the hidden treasures of the region’s coastline, coves and sea caves. Meanwhile, Ria Formosa natural park – a maze of canals, islands, marshland and beaches – is one of Portugal’s natural wonders and a protected haven for wildlife. It’s great for hiking, bird-watching and snorkelling. The coastal town of Olhão is the perfect starting point to explore the lagoon.

For total tranquility, take a ferry to Ihla Deserta — which translates as ‘deserted island’ — where there are no homes or cars, just one wooden building that houses a renowned sustainable restaurant.

Feeling energetic? Take a swing at some of the best golf courses in Europe, sign up for a surf school, or work on your serve at one of the many tennis courts.

Looking to pick up some unique souvenirs? Or perhaps to treat yourself to a few designer threads? The Algarve has plenty of opportunities for retail therapy, be that in upscale boutiques and large shopping malls, or historic markets and artisan workshops.

Trendsetters should venture to the designer stores of Quinta do Lago, or browse the fashion and jewellery stores at Vilamoura Marina. Faro, Loulé, Portimão and Albufeira all have shopping centres, and there’s even a large designer outlet, where you can browse well-known brands at discounted prices.

Perusing the Algarve’s vibrant markets is another must. With so many to choose from, you can buy everything from fresh fish, olives and cheese to hand-crafted jewellery, ceramics and antiques.

For another way to unwind, you’re never too far from a spa in the Algarve. The medley of luxury hotels boasts incredible wellness facilities, where you can relax with a massage, get a rejuvenating facial, glam up with a manicure, or soothe your muscles in a hydrotherapy pool, hot tub or sauna. Afterwards, order a sundowner cocktail by the pool, sit back and revel in the sweetness of doing nothing.

To make it even easier for you to enjoy the ultimate break in the Algarve, Indulgent Escapes by Jet2holidays provides the perfect luxury package holiday looking look after you at every stage of your journey through their VIP customer service.

Fly to the Algarve from 11 UK airports: Belfast International, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon, London Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle. To find out more and start planning your trip, visit Jet2holidays

*Unless otherwise stated.

**On bookings made ten weeks or more before departure. Full payment required by balance due date.

Excludes champagne which is payable. One drink per person, per flight. T&Cs apply.

✝✝£10 voucher only available on Jet2shop products, excluding cigarettes and tobacco, non-transferable for cash. One per person above the age of two, per booking. Cannot be used on the in-flight menu.

In the interest of the nation, the Budget must look to the long term

When the chancellor of the Exchequer rises to present his Budget in the Commons on Wednesday, he will be addressing two distinct audiences. The first will be made up of his fellow Conservatives, including MPs on his own benches, who will be hoping against hope that he can conjure up some stroke of genius that could save them and their party from the seemingly inevitable rout at the general election.

The other will be made up of the broad swathes of voters and their families, who have grown weary of a political process that has given them three prime ministers in as many years, without leaving most people any better off in any sense. On the contrary, per capita GDP has declined over the past year gone; NHS waiting lists are at record levels, and many local authorities have been cutting back public services for want of money. As every government surely knows, the purse of the nation is the key to the health of the nation.

Jeremy Hunt’s dilemma is that what may suit the interests of the first constituency is unlikely to do much to help the second, and vice versa. This is why, however difficult it might be for such a seasoned party operator as Mr Hunt – and for a prime minister who must know that the removal vans will almost certainly be drawing up at Downing Street as soon as the general election results are in – it is essential that, between them, they choose the latter.

What are fiscal rules and how will they affect the spring budget

On Wednesday the chancellor will present his final spring Budget before the next general election.

This will be one of the last opportunities for the government to set out its plans for the economy and increase the Conservatives standing in the opinion polls.

Jeremy Hunt has been keen to show that his party will be fiscally “prudent and responsible” and will not commit to any unfunded tax cuts.