INDEPENDENT 2024-04-13 01:04:39


Man told to repay £18,000 to bank despite never having an account

A man has been left with a £18,000 debt and a crippled credit score after fraudsters managed to steal his identity and open bank accounts in his name before going on a spending spree.

Jamie Cavanagh, 37, a civil engineer from East Grinstead, West Sussex, received a letter in January from HSBC showing he spent more than £12,000 on a credit card despite having never banked or dealt with them in his life.

He then discovered an HSBC current account with an overdraft of £5,000 had been opened in his name and “maxed out”.

Jamie immediately flagged the payments to HSBC as fraud and believes that someone managed to steal his identity by breaking into his letterbox and using his personal information to open the accounts.

The majority of funds were withdrawn in £350 chunks from bank machines dotted across south London, while card payments were also made to retailers, such as Tesco, Sports Direct and several chicken shops.

“At first I thought somebody had sent the wrong post, until I saw my name and address at the top of it,” Jamie said.

“In January my credit score was 930 out of 1,000, so nigh on perfect. Come February, March, it had nosedived to 620 out of 1,000.

“When I look at my outstanding finances, it shows that I’m in arrears for £12,820 on a credit card account with HSBC and £5,130 for an overdraft on a current account with HSBC.

“I’ve never banked with HSBC in my life.”

Jamie noticed the problem when he found a letter from HSBC in his letterbox on 21 January, even though he banks with NatWest and Santander.

To his horror, the envelope contained a credit card statement which showed he had been on a spending spree and now owed more than £10,000.

“I saw there were reams and reams of cash withdrawals on this credit card, so I was trying to figure out what had gone on,” he said.

“I discovered that somebody had taken out the card in my name, managed to get themselves a credit of £13,000.

“It showed that they had managed to take out £10,000 in cash at various cashpoints across south London, in Catford, Croydon, Bromley, Orpington, Lewisham…”

The fraudulent purchases range from spending a few quid in shops, including Tesco, Joe & The Juice and Lazy Chef, to withdrawing hundreds of pounds.

Jamie informed HSBC who said he would have to visit one of their branches with three forms of identification.

He also called Sussex Police who advised him to file a report with Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, and he registered with the Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System, a fraud prevention service, which placed a marker against his credit report, to flag the fraud.

He would later learn that the fraudsters had also checked his credit rating by creating an account on ClearScore with a different email address.

In total, they have spent £12,820 on the credit card and £5,130 on the debit card, money which on paper, Jamie now owes the bank.

HSBC told Jamie it would take around two weeks for it to carry out an investigation.

“Two weeks go by and I’m thinking what the hell is going on here,” he said. ”I eventually get through and they inform me that the investigation is still ongoing and that it can actually take up to seven weeks.”

During this time, Jamie repeatedly received letters demanding repayments, threatening a default notice.

By 6 April, 14 weeks after Jamie first reported the fraud to HSBC, he still had not received any news. “I was quite upset as you can imagine,” he said. “Not only that, but they hadn’t closed the credit account.”

Again, Jamie was told the investigation was still ongoing.

Jamie was able to raise an official complaint with the bank, which he was told could take up to five days to process.

After posting about his ordeal on Twitter, he received a message from HSBC: “Good morning Jamie, thank you for reaching out to us, we would really like to get this matter sorted as quickly as possible. If you could join me in a private chat by clicking the link below, I can investigate this further…”

He has since been sent another link and asked to upload his identification, but at the time of writing, the credit card has still not been blocked and Jamie’s credit score remains 300 points down.

An HSBC spokesperson said: “Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We take all allegations of fraud extremely seriously and this case is being looked into.”

PA

Energy Minister quits as Tory exodus continues ahead of election

Rishi Sunak’s government has suffered another blow after his energy minister announced he was quitting.

Graham Stuart said he would “fully support” the prime minister from the back benches but wanted to focus on local issues instead.

He is the third senior minister to quit in recent weeks as the Tories face the prospect of a disastrous general election defeat.

His announcement comes a month after former armed forces minister James Heappey announced he was leaving government and standing down as an MP at the election.

Education minister Robert Halfon also resigned and will not stand again, while Ben Wallace quit as defence secretary last year.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said the drumbeat of Conservative resignations was becoming “deafening” as ministers find “any excuse they can to get away from this deeply unpopular Conservative government”.

Mr Stuart is the MP for Beverley and Holderness in Yorkshire, where he has a majority of more than 20,000.

But Labour overturned a similar majority in what was considered a Tory stronghold in Selby and Ainsty last year.

Mr Stuart said he will turn his focus to issues such as making roads safer, broadband delivery and increasing the number of defibrillators in his constituency.

He said: “I’m proud to have served in the government for most of the past eight years, but now it’s time to focus on Beverley and Holderness.

“I’m proud to have achieved much over the past 18 years, from rock armour at Withernsea to saving East Riding Community Hospital, installing life-saving defibrillators in rural communities, and slashing fares on the Humber Bridge.

“I’m looking forward to working with communities to make our roads safer, helping the council take full advantage of the opportunities brought by devolution, pressing the case for York to Hull Rail, and improving healthcare in Beverley and Holderness.”

In addition to his role as energy and net zero minister, Mr Stuart also served in the Foreign Office, the Department for International Trade, and as an assistant whip to the Treasury.

British expats describe ‘worst cruise experience’ in 20 years

A British expat and her husband had one of their worst cruise experiences in 20 years after the ship they were sailing on was held at Barcelona port and more than 60 passengers with incorrect visas were marched off the boat.

Marina Carter, 69, and Richard Carter, 71, were looking forward to the Mediterranean cruise they booked with their local travel agent, which was due to take them to Barcelona, Corsica, Rome, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Sicily and eventually Venice.

The retired couple, who moved from Britain to Malaga in 2020, set sail on 31 March and were given a cabin aboard the MSC Armonia. They were enjoying the pre-paid drinks package they had purchased, and exploring the activities on the boat when their trip suddenly took a turn for the worse.

Ms Carter told The Independent: “We docked at Barcelona and had the day there, but when we came back there was a big group of people standing by the entrance to the ship all crying. I said to my husband: ‘I don’t like the look of this, I don’t know what’s going on but I don’t like it’.”

The couple heard on the boat’s tannoy there was a problem with immigration, but no further updates were given.

“The boat didn’t embark when it should have done, it did not sail away, but we were told it would in the next few hours, then midnight, then we thought to ourselves this boat is going nowhere is it,” Ms Carter said.

The couple went to dinner but when they returned they found that one of the hallways they would usually access to get back to their cabin was blocked off by a police officer and a speedboat with police officers was circling the cruise ship.

Ms Carter added: “The national police were everywhere. They had what I would call their riot vehicles with them … they were just everywhere in the pool area … some of the passengers got put in these cabins along by us with the door shut and they were just guarded 24/7.

“People started getting quite upset as now this boat was not moving. We are starting to miss ports of call. When the boat did finally start to move off we watched them take some passengers off four at a time. We could see as our cabin overlooked the dock.”

Authorities said that 69 Bolivians on the ship lacked valid documents to enter the European Union’s border-free Schengen area. They were marched off and held on another boat for interrogation.

The Spanish government’s office in Barcelona said that 65 of the 69 Bolivians who arrived in the city would be flown out to the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz because they had false visas.

The incorrect entry requirements meant that the Carters, along with more than 1,000 other passengers were stuck for two days and not able to proceed with the cruise.

MSC Cruises said last week the Bolivian passengers’ documentation appeared correct upon boarding in Brazil. They also told The Independent that passengers were given regular updates about the incident and told how to claim compensation.

Spain’s national police were looking into the possibility of a fake visa scam, Solange Duarte, a Bolivian diplomat in Barcelona, told the Associated Press.

Ms Carter said it was one of the worst cruise experiences they’d had and left them disappointed with the lack of communication from MSC Cruises.

She said: “Everybody was irate because nobody knew what was going on and though we are pretty laid back it was making us irate.”

The couple described having so many police on board as “intimidating”. The cruise vessel eventually set sail after two days, but Corsica, Rome, Corfu and Dubrovnik, were missed out on the trip.

MSC Cruises said in a statement Wednesday the Bolivian “passengers appeared to have proper documentation upon boarding in Brazil” but Spanish authorities later said the visas were not valid for entry into the Schengen area.

MSC Cruises added: “The guests were given daily written updates in the form of letters that were left in their cabins. Additionally, there were onboard announcements and they were written to detailing the compensation they were going to receive for the disruption to their cruise.”

Salman Rushdie describes moment he was stabbed onstage: ‘So it’s you’

Salman Rushdie has for the first time opened up about the 2022 knife attack that nearly claimed his life.

The author, 76, was repeatedly stabbed while preparing to deliver a lecture on free speech at the Chautauqua Institution in New York two years ago.

The attack took place after a fatwa – assassination order – was placed on the author’s head in 1989 for what was considered in parts of the Islamic world as blasphemous content in his novel, The Satanic Verses.

While this fatwa was removed, the threats against the author’s life persisted, and he has now revealed how he felt when he met his would-be assassin.

“So it’s you. Here you are,” the author recalled thinking. “It felt like something coming out of the distant past and trying to drag me back in time, if you like, back into that distant past, in order to kill me.”

Rushdie offended parts of the Islamic world with his 1988 novel, which included derogatory depictions of the Prophet Muhammed.

He was ultimately forced into hiding as a result, but eventually stepped back into the public eye again, believing that any serious threats against his life were in the past.

Hadi Matar, then 24, is accused of attacking Rushdie and has been held without bail since the August 2022 attack.

While he has pled not guilty to the charges against him, he has admitted to disliking the author because of his treatment of Islam.

He said: “I don’t like the person. I don’t think he’s a very good person.

“He’s someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems.”

Rushdie’s interview comes ahead of the release of his new memoir about the attack, Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder.

Reading from the new memoir, the Booker Prize winner said: “In the corner of my right eye – the last thing my right eye would ever see – I saw the man in black running toward me down the right-hand side of the seating area. Black clothes, black face mask. He was coming in hard and low. A squat missile.

“I confess, I had sometimes imagined my assassin rising up in some public forum or other, and coming for me in just this way. So my first thought when I saw this murderous shape rushing towards me was, ‘So it’s you. Here you are.’”

After the attack, Rushdie remained in hospital for six weeks. “One of the surgeons who had saved my life said to me, ‘First you were really unlucky and then you were really lucky’. I said, ‘What’s the lucky part?’ and he said ‘Well, the lucky part is that the man who attacked you had no idea how to kill a man with a knife’,” Rushdie told Anderson Cooper on CBS’s 60 Minutes in his first television interview since the attack.

Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder is being released on 16 April.

Her son was shot dead after a 911 call. Now this British mother prepares for the murder trial

Sally and Simon Glass are steeling themselves at home in Boulder with a mental inventory of their pink wardrobe items – the outfits like an amulet to wear during the murder trial of a Colorado deputy charged in the killing of their son.

“We might run out of them,” says Simon; Sally suggests the couple “might have to get some pink scarves and things” to ensure they have enough in their son’s favourite colour to last for the duration of proceedings, with opening statements expected to start on Friday.

Even now, though, as she speaks to The Independent, she is surrounded by pink – her shirt, the straw in her cup of water, the cover of her phone.

The colour has loomed large in their lives as a tribute to their 22-year-old son Christian since authorities arrived at the Glass home in June 2022 to announce he’d been shot dead by police.

On that day, Sally collapsed in the doorway, which is where Simon found her upon returning home shortly afterwards. It was nigh impossible for them to comprehend that Christian, a sensitive and kind amateur geologist, was dead; even more difficult to comprehend was that he’d been killed by police. The initial police narrative claimed Christian had done something to incite the violent response, which didn’t make sense to his parents.

So Sally and Simon, a soft-spoken, gentle couple from England and New Zealand, respectively, stood up and fought. Mustering courage amidst their shock and grief, they demanded answers.

The revelations that followed from the 911 call audio and body camera footage – from seven officers responding from five different agencies – were tragically maddening. Christian, who’d been out for a drive, called 911 for help on 10 June after his car became stuck off a mountain road.

After more than an hour of interactions with officers, during which he never left his car, he was tased, then shot dead, all without ever leaving the vehicle – or even the driver’s seat.

His parents have never watched the footage; they still don’t want to know the graphic specifics of Christian’s killing. But they were armed with enough detail to be determined to save other families from the same horrifying pain, and have sparked a cascade of historic change.

“We had to fight for justice, along with our lawyers; this was not a smooth path,” says Sally. “Justice just didn’t come. We really had to fight for it, and it is really hard.”

Just under a year ago, Sally and Simon were awarded a landmark $19m settlement, the largest in Colorado history. Part of the terms ensure enhanced training for law enforcement; Christian’s case will now be used as an example of what not to do. The sheriff in Clear Creek County has resigned and the undersheriff was fired. All seven officers who responded on the night of Christian’s death have been charged.

Now, 22 months after their son’s killing – the same number of years he spent on this Earth – Sally and Simon will finally watch the man who shot him stand trial. Jury selection began on Monday for the case of former Clear Creek County Deputy Andrew Buen, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and official misconduct.

“Obviously, we’ve [yet] to see a guilty verdict, so that’s yet to be decided – and what sort of sentence they come up with, assuming he is found guilty,” Simon tells The Independent. He and Sally will be driving daily from Boulder to the courthouse in Georgetown, more than an hour away, for the trial; they will leave at various junctures to avoid too-painful testimony.

“Honestly, we’re dreading it,” Simon says. “It is not going to be easy. It’s going to be a tough few weeks.”

Christian, his wife acknowledges tearfully, “is dead”.

“There’s nothing we can do to bring him back. But maybe his death was not in vain,” she says. “Maybe, through highlighting the atrocity of this, the changes that have taken place, it doesn’t happen to somebody else. That’s sort of the thought I”m going to have during the trial … that we’re fighting for change, that some other poor young person doesn’t get gunned down for no reason.”

The circumstances surrounding her son’s death were heartbreaking and almost painfully inexplicable. He called 911 before midnight after his car became stuck on rocks in the deep darkness near Silver Plume, a near-ghost town in the mountains. Christian was unfailingly polite but clearly distressed; it was evident he was suffering from some type of mental health crisis as he mentioned folkloric figures and made other confused utterings.

When the operator asked Christian if there were any weapons in the car, however, he told her about rock tools he had with him, offering to throw them out of the car when officers arrived to make them feel safer. He described the items as “two knives, a hammer and a rubber mallet … I guess that’s a weapon?”

The operator told him to stay put, and officers, upon arrival, also told him not to throw the items from the car. First on scene were Clear Creek County Deputies Buen and Tim Collins; their superior, Sgt Kyle Gould, was supervising remotely. They were soon joined by Colorado Division of Gaming Enforcement Investigators Mary Harris and Christa Lloyd, Idaho Springs Police Officer Brittany Morrow and Colorado State Trooper Ryan Bennie.

For more than an hour, the officers alternately barked, cajoled and joked as they attempted to get Christian out of the car. He was terrified and refused; at one point the 22-year-old made heart shapes with his hands to signify peace, love and his acquiescence.

More than an hour after Clear Creek deputies first arrived, however, the situation escalated rapidly and without clear reason. Gould gave the order to breach the car – though at least one other agency can be heard in footage querying the necessity of that action. Despite that, the officers swarmed Christian’s maroon Honda with guns drawn, shouting; Collins jumped on the hood of the car and trained his weapon on Christian through the windshield.

Before the use of lethal force, Christian was tased – and as he thrashed around, he grabbed the small knife hat he’d previously offered to throw from the car. Buen, the same deputy who’d shouted at Christian not to throw the items, fired five shots into the vehicle – killing him.

“Oh my god,” one officer can be heard saying in the body camera footage. “What did we do?”

Christian’s parents remain incredulous at the circumstances surrounding their son’s death.

“You don’t behave like that,” Sally tells The Independent. “You don’t gun down kids that are scared. He didn’t have weapons; I mean, he had geology tools. He wasn’t a violent kid. So many innocent people in the US are gunned down every year; unfortunately, that’s a culture in the police force in this country – and not all of them are bad. Honestly, there are good cops out there. But there’s a chunk that aren’t.”

Gould and Buen were both fired from Clear Creek County and indicted in Christian’s killing before the end of 2022. Buen was charged with second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and official misconduct; his supervisor was charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.

Gould pleaded guilty in November 2023 to lesser charges and, as part of the terms, is forever prohibited from working as a peace officer again. The Peace Officer Standards and Training Board revoked his licence last month.

Buen pleaded not guilty to the charges but, as his trial approached, prosecutors charged the five other officers present on the night under new legislation passed by Colorado lawmakers in 2020, in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Elijah McClain – who was killed less than two hours away in Aurora – and similar incidents of violent police brutality across the country.

Fifth Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum at the end of last year announced duty to intervene charges against Georgetown Police Officer Timothy Collins (who resigned as a Clear Creek deputy following the Glass shooting only to be hired and promoted by the town’s police department); Idaho Springs Officer Brittany Morrow; Colorado State Trooper Ryan Bennie; and Division of Gaming Officers Mary Harris and Christa Lloyd; and Georgetown Marshal Randy Williams, who is also charged with third-degree assault.

The duty to intervene charges are misdemeanours penalising officers for failing to step in and de-escalate the situation. Convictions mandate that, like Gould, officers be stripped of their POST certification.

Siddhartha Rathod, a lawyer for the Glass family, told The Independent in the months following the shooting that the firm had shown the body camera footage to “a lot of police officers.”

“Most police officers are like, ‘I would just put my card through the window saying, “Okay, you don’t want our help? Your phone works. You know, call a tow truck or call us. You’ve got our number, call us back” – and just left,” he said. “That’s what the vast majority of officers would have done. In fact, almost every officer would have done that.”

Collins and Williams resigned from Georgetown Police Department in February, essentially gutting law enforcement in a town that has become Ground Zero for the case. Clear Creek County Sheriff Rick Albers had resigned in July 2023 after the county Board of Commissioners issued a statement saying he “had not adequately accepted responsibility for his central role in this tragedy.”

Within hours of being sworn in as interim sheriff in December, Matthew Harris fired undersheriff John Stein. A 27-year law enforcement veteran, Harris had spent nearly six years as a US Marshal in Utah before coming to Colorado and has promised departmental change.

“We need to learn from mistakes, but not dwell on them and make sure that our team and our patrol are focused on patrol in our training, stronger and in alignment with POST standards and best practices organizationally, and best practices around the country for traditional law enforcement,” Harris said in December.

“From what we understand, he has a different approach,” Simon tells The Independent. “He wouldn’t hire murderers.”

“He’s dismantling that sort of corrupt old boys’ club,” his wife adds. “I’m actually pleased for the Clear Creek County residents, as well, because it was their police force, it’s their community, their kids are growing up in that community.”

More than 1,500 jury summonses were sent out for the Buen trial, the most in Clear Creek County history – meaning one in six eligible residents received one, according to the Denver Gazette.

As the trial looms, the Glasses are doing “a lot of work to stay sane,” Sally says.

“We take one day at a time; we get up and we just put one foot in front of the other.”

She’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and “personally [has] a little bit of disassociation, where I look at this and I go, ‘Really? Is that my son, really? Did that really happen to me?’ So I’m still struggling with the reality of it all.”

Simon, who thinks of his son every time he sees a maroon Honda, says: “The disassociation that Sally talks about is very real.

“When I talk about things with people, it is almost like I’m narrating a play or something – it’s hard to believe that the police would do something like this.”

They are unwavering in their battle to see those responsible held accountable; they’d like to see stronger charges, as well, against other officers at the scene. The Glasses have spoken out about other police-involved shootings in the interim, noting how, following the death of Tyre Nichols last year, they watched his parents’ dealing with “the same thing we’re going through – just disbelief,” Simon said at the time.

“What are they doing?” his wife asked despondently of departments across the US in the wake of such killings.

She and Simon are not yet ready to go through the piles of mail from supporters and other victims’ families which are currently with their lawyer, though they’ve felt tremendous outpourings of sympathy from many corners.

For now, they are focused on watching firsthand as Buen stands trial in Georgetown, just minutes from where their son was shot dead.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Simon says. “I’m very pleased that it’s going ahead. I hope that he is found guilty and justice prevails.”

Sally plans to wear not only pink but also a necklace featuring two clasped hands in honour of some of Christian’s final gestures.

“We have to stay strong for our son, and we want to support [Christian] through the trial,” she says. “And I think, when it’s all over and hopefully he’s in prison, we can really properly grieve for our son – which we really feel like we haven’t had a chance to do yet.”

Treatment can help if gynaecological symptoms affect your daily life

“I’d had very painful, very heavy periods for a number of years and when I was about 20 my GP said, ‘let’s get you checked out’,” says Shazia.

The 40-year-old, who lives in Hertfordshire, was sent to be tested for what her GP believed was polycystic ovary syndrome – however the scan ruled this out.

“It wasn’t until I was 25 when I went back to the GP and said ‘look, something is really not right’ that I had some more tests done, and I had a year’s worth of ‘let’s try this pill, let’s try that pill’,” she says.

Shazia was subsequently diagnosed with endometriosis and has undergone three surgical procedures to treat the condition.

“I ended up with a great female GP who was well-versed in understanding endometriosis. One of the things I loved about her was whenever I’d go in after that first surgery, she was really good at going, ‘if you are concerned, you know your body better than anyone so why don’t we investigate?’ I’m really fortunate.”

Shazia’s advice to other women in a similar position is to ask for help when you feel you need it: “Always say, ‘I know my body well, these are the things that I’m experiencing, I suspect it is endometriosis.’”

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

It can affect women of any age, including teenagers, and can have a significant impact on your life and may sometimes lead to depression.

Some women are badly affected, while others might not have any noticeable symptoms.

Contact your GP practice if you have:

Karen, 56, from London, started to experience brain fog, heart palpitations and insomnia – but she wasn’t aware the symptoms pointed to early menopause.

“Menopause symptoms creep up on you and they can get muddled in with whatever’s going on in your life at the time,” she says.

“I had my second child at 38 and it was hard to untangle what was being exhausted from small kids and what was actually menopause.

“The first real symptom was insomnia, but when my daughter started sleeping it didn’t go away. Then came the mood changes, irritability and heart palpitations, which I now know are down to hormonal changes.

“At the time, I was working in a publishing company and I’d be stressed out and overwhelmed by deadlines. Because I had the Mirena coil for birth control, I wasn’t having periods so I didn’t see any change there.”

She adds: “I didn’t get hot flushes until later, so it didn’t occur to me that brain fog and poor concentration were symptoms of an early menopause. At times, I felt like it was all in my head.

“When I was 43, I was having hot flushes and that’s when I was diagnosed as post-menopausal. The GP asked if I wanted to talk about HRT, but I went off and did everything under the sun to try and manage it myself. I tried herbal supplements, homeopathic remedies and acupuncture – they all helped a little, but I still didn’t feel right.

“But when I was 50 I went back to the GP practice. I took a list of my symptoms and I’d done my research on what was available, so I had an idea of what I wanted. She was really good and I came away with [HRT just like the hormones lost during the menopause]. It felt like the missing piece.

“Now I work as a health and wellness coach helping women understand menopause and what they need to do, including good sleep, nutrition and exercise.

“If you’re feeling these symptoms, don’t despair. It might take a lot of tweaks and patience, but seeing your GP and looking after your lifestyle you can feel well again. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Period problems, gynaecological conditions and menopause symptoms are common and can significantly impact women and girls’ physical and mental health, and the ability to go about their daily life.

Don’t suffer in silence. Treatment can help if periods, menopause or gynaecological symptoms affect your daily life. Contact your GP practice or visit nhs.uk/womens-health

The NHS is having its Me Too moment – and its CEO is right to act

Most organisations, public or private, large or small, suffer from an institutional tendency to defensiveness in the face of criticism, wrongdoing and crisis.

When things go awry, the instinct is to gather the wagons round and indulge in a cycle of denial, obfuscation and deflection. Examples are plentiful; among those to have made headlines recently in relation to such behaviour are the Post Office, the British royal family, the Red Bull racing team, Thames Water, and various members of the parliamentary Conservative Party.

So it is beyond refreshing that the chief executive of the National Health Service, along with her colleagues, has taken it upon herself to launch a Me Too-style investigation into sexual harassment across that vast organisation. Rather than ignoring stories about abuse of position, or denying the existence of sexual harassment among the near 2 million staff and associated workers employed by the health service, Amanda Pritchard has pre-emptively asked her people directly about their experiences.

What is Labour’s policy around Britain’s nuclear deterrent?

Keir Starmer has parked his tanks on the Conservatives’ lawn again, this time taking a strong line on defence and the renewal of the British nuclear deterrent. Writing in the Daily Mail – which is about as core Tory as it gets – Starmer declared his “cast iron” promise to maintain the country’s nuclear force as a “generational, multi-decade commitment”, stating: “Not only is this about defending our land and our Nato allies, it’s also defending our economy.”

Starmer reinforced his offensive with a tactical visit to the Barrow shipyard, where the new Dreadnought-class submarines are being built, destined to carry Trident nuclear missiles through the 2030s. It’s the first such visit in three decades. In tone at least, it confirms the clean break with Labour’s recent stance on defence policy; and Starmer will be hoping that it will reassure those voters who are still nervous about whether Labour has really changed…