INDEPENDENT 2024-04-18 10:04:02


Willow actor Warwick Davis’s wife Samantha dies aged 53

Samantha Davis, the wife of Harry Potter and Star Wars actor Warwick Davis, has died aged 53.

Warwick shared the news in a statement, revealing his wife of 32 years, whom he met on the set of Ron Howard’s 1988 fantasy film Willow, had died on 24 March.

Samantha, who also featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011) alongside Warwick, was the co-founder of dwarfism charity Little People UK.

Warwick, 54, said Samantha’s death “has left a huge hole in our lives as a family” in a statement to the BBC, adding: “I miss her hugs.”

The Life’s Too Short actor, who also hosted ITV game shows Celebrity Squares and Tenable, described Samantha has his “most trusted confidant and an ardent supporter of everything I did in my career”, and hailed her as “a unique character, always seeing the sunny side of life”.

“She had a wicked sense of humour and always laughed at my bad jokes”.

Their two children together, Annabelle and Harrison, also paid tribute to their mother, saying: “Her love and happiness carried us through our whole lives”

“Mum is our best friend and we’re honoured to have received a love like hers.”

Samantha featured on the 2014 series, Weekend Escapes with Warwick Davis, which was hosted by the star and saw him travel around Britain with his family.

In an interview with People in 2022, Warwick opened up about the grief he and Samantha went through after their first son died shortly after he was born due to complications from the dwarfism genes he inherited from both of his parents.

He told the US outlet: “I think it brings you closer together, or something like that. But it’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It’s devastating.”

A few years later, they experienced more heartbreak when Samantha had a miscarriage with their second child.

They later welcomed their daughter Annabelle and son Harrison, with Warwick saying the couple loved their children “all that more because they’re here with us”.

Annabelle, 27, has followed in her parents’ acting footsteps, starring in CBBC’s The Dumping Ground and Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.

Warwick starred as the titular hero Willow Ufgood in the 1988 original film Willow and reprised the role for the 2022 reboot.

He also played several characters in the Star Wars film series.

Samantha and Warwick co-founded Little People UK in 2012 to help individuals with dwarfism and their families.

Additional reporting by Agencies

Scandal of care home sex predators free to target the vulnerable

Predatory staff who target vulnerable adults in care homes are free to move jobs unchallenged, The Independent can reveal, as almost 10,000 incidents of sexual abuse have been recorded in the last three years.

The fact that abusers can move from home to home emerged in an independent review sparked by complaints made three decades ago by the family of a man with learning disabilities.

Clive Treacey was allegedly groomed and sexually abused at the age of 23 in a private care home in Cheshire and then moved to Staffordshire where his abuser was able to access him again, it was claimed. Both Mr Treacey and his alleged abuser have since died.

His story was first reported by The Independent in 2021 and the review into his care – carried out by the most senior safeguarding expert in England Professor Michael Preston-Shoot and seen exclusively by this publication – showed huge failures in dealing with concerns raised by his family.

It warned that vulnerable adults across the country could still be at risk of harm with no national guidance for officials on how to respond to allegations of abuse of adults by care home staff in positions of trust.

Mr Treacey’s sister, Elaine Clark, and parents Pauline and Michael said: “There are no words to describe the impact of waiting for over 30 years for the abuse that devastated both Clive’s life and ours to finally receive proper scrutiny in this safeguarding adults review…

“We can never forgive those who failed to protect Clive. It didn’t just destroy Clive’s life but all of our lives too.”

Have you been impacted by this? Email rebecca.thomas@independent.co.uk

The shocking failures highlighted in the safeguarding review come as new data from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) shows almost 10,000 reports of sexual assault, harassment or abuse have been made in care homes between 2020 and 2023.

The CQC collect figures on abuse allegations and police reports where “sexual safety” is marked. This data was first collected in 2020 and six reports were made – in 2023 this rose to 3,738.

Last year, The Independent uncovered the story of a care worker in Essex who was jailed last autumn over the rape and sexual abuse of several elderly residents across two care homes in 2020 and 2021.

In 2021 The Independent revealed that an NHS-commissioned review into the life and death of Mr Treacey, who had severe learning disabilities and epilepsy, found failures by health providers led to his tragic death in 2017.

He is one of thousands with learning disabilities who spent years locked away in inappropriate hospital units and care homes.

It was only after this review that Cheshire Police and Staffordshire Police reopened their investigations into allegations made by Mr Treacy’s family 30 years ago.

Councils in both areas then commissioned Prof Preston-Shoot’s review to look into any failings by bodies such as the local authority, police and the David Lewis Centre care home in Cheshire where Mr Treacey lived before he was moved to Staffordshire.

Ms Clark said she believes her brother’s abuse “parallels the Jimmy Savile case”, adding: “We believe Clive is not the only victim and his alleged abuser was given freedom to continue for a further five years.

“Our family has carried the responsibility of exposing what happened to Clive and others across all these years. It has been an unbearable burden but we fought on because what happened to Clive matters … The horrific abuse he experienced changed the course of his life.”

Mr Treacey’s family first made allegations of sexual abuse in 1993 after he asked them to develop a roll of film which they later found contained graphic indecent images.

The worker, who police have not named, continued to work at the care home until 1999 and had access to Mr Treacey at various other residential homes he was subsequently moved to.

This was despite being charged for taking Mr Treacey’s medical records. It is not clear where he worked after 1999.

In 2015, Cheshire police received a report from St Andrews Healthcare, a private mental health hospital, revealing Mr Treacey had made disclosures about the alleged sexual abuse.

However, it was not until January 2022, after the NHS-commissioned review, that Cheshire Police attempted to interview and arrest the perpetrator and found he had died.

The Preston-Shoot review found “missed opportunities” by local authority officials, police and during the initial investigation in 1993 of the accused.

It said: “[There was a] missed opportunity to investigate thoroughly what had happened to Clive, whether he was still at risk, and whether other adults had been abused and were still at risk.

“There were missed opportunities to put the concerns and allegations that surfaced in 1993 to the alleged perpetrator, who had been in a position of trust. This meant that Clive and other residents continued to be exposed to potential risk.”

He said health services also failed to offer Mr Treacey psychological support to address the trauma of the alleged abuse.

Prof Preston-Shoot said while there were some local policies on how to respond to allegations of abuse of adults by “people in positions of trust” there is no national policy and urged the Department for Health and Social Care to develop one.

The report also said: “Analysis of safeguarding adult reviews has found only a low number of successful prosecutions where adults at risk have been victims of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. There are also examples where safeguarding adult reviews have found evidence of sexual abuse and exploitation where the outcomes of investigations are unclear.”

He recommended the College of Policing, Ministry of Justice and Home Office publish new guidance for police on investigating whether other adults have been abused.

When approached for comment, the David Lewis Centre referred this publication to the report and its recommendations.

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Safeguarding Adults Board and Cheshire East Safeguarding Adults Board said they have apologised to Mr Treacey’s family for the distress the case has caused them over the years and the length of time it has taken.

They said the public can be reassured that safeguarding practices have improved in the last three decades.

Detective Chief Superintendent Gareth Lee, head of protecting vulnerable people at Cheshire Police, insisted that safeguarding has improved and that it would not expect what happened to Mr Treacey to happen again.

He added: “I am aware that this will be of little comfort to Clive’s family, and our thoughts remain with them at this time.”

Ex-Tory minister slams focus on Angela Rayner’s affairs as ‘grotesque hypocrisy’

Sir Keir Starmer mounted his strongest defence of Angela Rayner on Wednesday, accusing “billionaire” Rishi Sunak of “smearing a working-class woman” amid a row about her former living arrangements.

As the police confirmed they are investigating multiple allegations about Ms Rayner’s former council house, the Labour leader accused the PM himself of having used “schemes to avoid millions of pounds in tax”.

Confronting Mr Sunak at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir said: “We’ve got a billionaire prime minister and a billionaire colleague [Lord Ashcroft] both of whose families have used schemes to avoid millions of pounds in tax smearing a working-class woman.”

The PM had urged Sir Keir to spend less time reading Liz Truss’s new book and more looking into his deputy’s tax advice.

The exchange came as a former Tory minister joined high-profile figures defending Ms Rayner in the deepening row over the sale of her former council home.

Amid ongoing questions about whether she avoided paying the right tax or had correctly registered at the correct address, Nick Boles, who was an MP for nine years, said the attacks were “one of the most grotesque spectacles of hypocrisy I have ever witnessed”.

Former Conservative MP Matthew Parris also condemned what he called “the hounding” of the Labour MP, dubbing it “outrageous: brutal, snobbish and completely out of proportion to any mistake she may (or may not) have made”.

Former regional chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal also said that “based on what’s in the public domain”, the CPS would take no action against Ms Rayner.

Their comments come as Stephen Watson, chief constable with the Greater Manchester Police (GMP), suggested there were multiple allegations which may extend beyond her housing arrangements.

The force had previously announced they were investigating the Labour deputy leader over the sale of her council house in Stockport and whether she broke electoral law by giving false information about her address during the 2010s.

During an appearance on BBC Radio Manchester, Mr Watson said: “All I would say in line with what we’ve put out publicly is there are a number of assertions knocking about, I don’t need to tell people that.

“We, on an initial assessment, made a determination that it was unlikely we would pursue an investigation. On the provision of further investigation or further information, we have reassessed that decision and we have announced we will launch a formal investigation.”

He added: “That is a neutral act, it does not imply that information gives us any hard or fast evidence on which to base anything at this stage. It is simply that we have an allegation, these allegations are all over the news, we are going to get to the bottom of what has happened.”

It comes as The Times reports that police are investigating “tax matters and other issues” in connection with her housing affairs. A source told the newspaper: “It’s very well-resourced, it’s not a single issue. There is a volume of material and a clear public interest to fully investigate.”

The Times reports that the authorities are considering a number of questions about Ms Rayner’s affairs, including whether she broke electoral law, whether she paid the correct amount of capital gains tax when she sold her property, and what the council tax arrangements were at Vicarage Road.

The investigation into Ms Rayner was launched after Conservative MP and deputy party chair James Daly complained to police after the GMP previously said it would not be investigating the allegations. Mr Daly said he had been made aware of neighbours contradicting Ms Rayner’s statement that her property, separate from her husband’s, was her main residence.

The shadow levelling up secretary has promised to resign if she is found to have committed a crime but has stated that she is confident that she has done nothing wrong.

The Labour Party said it remains confident Ms Rayner has complied with the rules, and the Ashton-under-Lyne MP “welcomes the chance to set out the facts with the police”.

Sir Keir has previously welcomed the police investigation into Ms Rayner’s council house sale and said it will allow a “line to be drawn” on the issue.

A number of legal experts have pointed out that even if Ms Rayner were found to have provided false information, it is unlikely any further action would be taken.

Scott Wortley, a law lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, says that any potential prosecution should have been launched within a year of the suspected crime.

Providing false information is an offence under Section 13D of the Representation of the People Act 1983, but the legislation imposes a time limit of a year for bringing any charge. As the allegations surrounding Ms Rayner relate to before 2015, this suggests it is unlikely that she could be prosecuted.

Magistrates may extend that deadline in certain circumstances, but only by another year, according to the act.

Harry may be forced to settle claim against Sun publisher

The Duke of Sussex could be forced to settle his legal claim against The Sun’s publisher over alleged unlawful information gathering because of the risk of high legal costs, the High Court has been told.

Harry, 39, alleges he was targeted by journalists and private investigators working for News Group Newspapers (NGN), which also published the now-defunct News Of The World.

He is among a number of people to bring cases against the publisher, many of whom have settled their claims in recent years – including actress Sienna Miller, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, comic Catherine Tate and Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm.

At a hearing on Wednesday, it was revealed that actor Hugh Grant had settled his case against NGN due to the risk of a £10 million legal bill if his case went to trial.

NGN has denied unlawful activity took place at The Sun.

David Sherborne, representing Harry and others, told a judge in London that “the Duke of Sussex is subject to the same issues that Sienna Miller and Hugh Grant have been subject to, which is that the offers are made that make it impossible for them to go ahead”.

The barrister said the duke had previously said “he would continue to bring his claim”, adding that “settlement is forced upon” people bringing claims in the NGN litigation.

In a series of X posts made during the hearing in London, Mr Grant said he wanted to see his allegations that NGN was involved in the burglary of his flat, bugging his car, blagging medical records and other unlawful activity “tested in court”.

The actor said he was offered “an enormous sum of money to keep this matter out of court” that he did not want to accept.

He added: “But the rules around civil litigation mean that if I proceed to trial and the court awards me damages that are even a penny less than the settlement offer, I would have to pay the legal costs of both sides.

“My lawyers tell me that that is exactly what would most likely happen here. Rupert Murdoch’s lawyers are very expensive. So even if every allegation is proven in court, I would still be liable for something approaching £10 million in costs. I’m afraid I am shying at that fence.”

In December 2021, Ms Miller settled her case over allegations of voicemail interception and misuse of private information against NGN for “substantial damages”, with the publisher making no admission of liability.

The actress said she wanted to “expose the criminality that runs through the heart of this corporation”, adding: “Unfortunately that legal recourse is not available to me or to anyone who does not have countless millions of pounds to spend on the pursuit of justice.”

A full trial of some of the 42 existing claims against NGN, including Harry’s, is due to take place in January next year.

But on Wednesday, NGN asked judge Mr Justice Fancourt to instead hold an initial trial that month to decide whether the cases against the publisher have been brought too late and outside a legal time limit.

This potential preliminary trial would not determine the full details of the allegations NGN faces, and could result in findings that some claims are “time-barred” and therefore dismissed.

Lawyers for NGN argued this approach was the “most efficient” way of dealing with cases and could “promote” settlements, but the legal team for Harry and others claim it would be “highly disruptive and prejudicial”.

Mr Sherborne told the court there was a “100% record of the defendant settling any claim before we reach trial”, with it seeming “overwhelming likely” that there might be no claims left by December.

Anthony Hudson KC, for NGN, said Mr Sherborne had been “absolutely clear” that a full trial in January “will not take place”, alleging that it made Harry’s barrister’s wider arguments “irrelevant”.

Mr Hudson said this was “incredibly telling” and showed that those bringing claims were “delighted” with the “current regime” where cases are listed for trial, then settled and the issue of their timing never tested in court.

“We say that is not an appropriate way to manage this litigation any longer,” he said, adding that the publisher should not have to go to the “vast trouble and expense” of dealing with trials “over many weeks which would cost millions of pounds”.

Mr Sherborne replied: “I did not say that the claimants want to settle,” adding that it was “quite wrong” to suggest that the Duke of Sussex saying he wanted to continue his claim was “inconsistent with what I had said”.

In February, after settling the remaining parts of his phone hacking claim against the publisher of the Daily Mirror, the duke said his “mission continues”.

Harry is also pursuing a claim against the publisher of the Daily Mail – Associated Newspapers.

A spokesperson for NGN said: “In 2011, an unreserved apology was made by NGN to victims of voicemail interception by the News Of The World. Since then, NGN has been paying financial damages to those with proper claims.

“As we reach the tail end of litigation, NGN is drawing a line under disputed matters, some of which date back more than 20 years ago. In some cases, it has made commercial sense for both parties to come to a settlement agreement before trial to bring a resolution to the matter.

“There are a number of disputed claims still going through the civil courts, some of which seek to involve The Sun. The Sun does not accept liability or make any admissions to the allegations.

“A judge recently ruled that parts of Mr Grant’s claim were out of time and we have reached agreement to settle the remainder of the case. This has been done without admission of liability. It is in both parties’ financial interests not to progress to a costly trial.”

The hearing concluded on Wednesday with Mr Justice Fancourt saying he would give a ruling at 10am on Friday.

Here’s what Danny Dyer doesn’t tell you about the ‘war on men’

“Is it fair to say there’s a war on men at the moment?” It’s a question Danny Dyer poses partway through the first episode of How to Be a Man, a new two-part docuseries fronted by the hardman actor. The programme wades into the sticky and opaque tar pit of modern masculinity, with the Football Factory star serving as our plain-spoken docent. The hypothetical war is often framed as an incursion from outside: hardline, man-hating feminists throwing rocks and flaming bras at the crumbling fundaments of traditional masculinity. But is it fair? The thing is… those men shouting that their masculinity is under attack are not entirely wrong. Society is in the midst of a War on Men. But, like all wars, it’s one orchestrated and carried out almost entirely by men.

To Dyer’s credit, How to Be a Man does at least attempt to offer a holistic view of manhood in the year 2024. We are shown the spectre of “toxic masculinity”: men and boys harbouring deeply regressive, objectionable views on women, sexuality and gender. (“Men should be strong”, “promiscuous women are bad”, et cetera.) Misogynistic “alpha culture” influencer Andrew Tate is mentioned a lot; a kind of low-rent Tate-a-like content creator is interviewed by Dyer at length. Thankfully, the ideology of these straightforwardly toxic men is given little shrift. Dyer does, meanwhile, acknowledge some of the very real challenges facing men: the disproportionate rates of suicide, drug addiction and homelessness; the victim-blaming that occurs in instances of female-on-male domestic violence; the difficulty of open emotional communication within traditional male spaces.

In these specific ways and others, it’s true that men do sometimes have it worse than women; that men are subject to prejudices and pressures that women usually are not. But misandry hasn’t produced these conditions. They are caused and exacerbated by the self-same patriarchy that chauvinist men espouse. Conventional masculinity hasn’t been torn down by the feminist agenda: it’s buckled under its own noxious expectations. What matters is that we construct something healthier and more honest from its rubble.

To some degree, it’s tempting to simply write off the nation’s masculinity crisis as being simply a “straight people problem”. To someone like myself, a bisexual man in his late twenties, the whole notion of a War on Men feels like a bizarre and irrelevant concept – a battle being waged in my name of which I am no part. Masculinity is not something to which I devote a lot of conscious headspace, and I am fairly confident that my own performance of masculinity, such that it is, is benign and non-toxic. (Its worst manifestation is probably that I wish a little too much ill upon certain Mancunian and Liverpudlian footballers.)

What’s more, I am socially bubbled in a milieu of like-minded (and largely queer) progressives. The idea that a person would be receptive to the ideas of Andrew Tate is, on a very practical level, alien to me. It’s like flat earthers, or Man City supporters: I know all too well that these people exist – I just never seem to meet them. At the end of episode one of How to be a Man, Dyer meets with a gay men’s choir, and is swept away by their evolved, non-traditional brand of masculinity. “These fellas give me hope for the future. They can teach all men a thing or two for sure,” Dyer says.

But this is of course reductive. As anyone who’s ever spent five minutes on Grindr could tell you, there’s no shortage of gender hangups within the gay community. (Consider for a second the implications of the phrase “straight-acting”.) It’s fair to say that many queer men have complicated relationships with their own masculinity; when the expression of your gender is subject to widespread bigotry, it inevitably becomes shaped by this bigotry. Your understanding of manhood operates either in accordance with, or as a rejection of, society’s heteronormative expectations. Yet it is also true that many queer people do have a healthier and more sophisticated understanding of their own relationship to gender, if only because they have given it deeper and more open-minded consideration. (On that note, I highly recommend the memoir Amateur, written by Thomas Page McBee, which offers an insightful and nuanced look at modern masculinity, told from the perspective of a trans man who takes up boxing.)

Ultimately, the modern masculinity crisis is inextricable from other complex social dynamics – including class and race. Like all markers of identity, masculinity isn’t necessarily helped by being reduced to one homogeneous blob. How to be a Man at least touches on this, and looks at how regressive male attitudes are often exacerbated by socioeconomic circumstance. Fixing the problem is not so simple as getting a few blokes to unsubscribe from Andrew Tate’s YouTube channel. Structural change is needed. Education. Funding. Mutual compassion. Without that, the war, as it were, will surely drag on. And there’s no getting out of the firing line.

‘How to Be a Man’ is available to watch on Channel 4

From reefs to rainforests: A nature-lover’s guide to Queensland

From the oldest tropical rainforest on the planet to iridescent everglades, striking marine life and dramatic mountain peaks, Queensland is a paradise for anyone into nature and wildlife. We’ve put together a guide to the best natural spots to visit in each region, with help from the experts at Travelbag, who are on hand to make your dream holiday happen.

Queensland’s vibrant capital, Brisbane offers plenty to lure urbanites with its galleries, museums and restaurants, and it doesn’t fall short on the nature front either.

For an especially tranquil spot, head to the city’s Botanic Gardens, set just outside the centre and home to the biggest collection of Australian native rainforest trees in the world (entry is free). If you fancy getting up close and personal with the local wildlife, swing by the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary – home to a koala research centre alongside various experiences, from wildlife encounters to a Nocturnal Twilight Tour.

Beyond the city itself, you’ll find plenty more to explore; for one of the most jaw-dropping spots, head to the Scenic Rim, a dramatic caldera landscape scattered with soaring peaks, lush valleys and scenic bushwalking trails.

The Gold Coast might be best-known for its beaches, nightlife and family-friendly fun, but as the gateway to several national parks, it’s also a dream for nature-lovers. It’s here you’ll find Lamington National Park and Springbrook National Park – both part of the Unesco-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, the biggest subtropical rainforest on the planet. Hiking trails lace these tree-carpeted landscapes, with waterfalls, mountains and lush flora for scenery.

Elsewhere, venture to Burleigh Heads National Park to amble between scenic coastline and emerald rainforest, and come between July and October to spot migrating whales as they pass the famous ‘Humpback Highway’.

Just north of Brisbane sits the Sunshine Coast – an idyllic stretch lined with sugary beaches and cerulean sea, and the home of laid-back surf town Noosa.

Among the myriad natural charms here you’ll find the Noosa Everglades – one of only two everglades systems in the world, tucked within a sprawling UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Nicknamed the ‘river of mirrors’, this network of waterways, tea tree forests and wetlands is home to 40% of Australia’s bird species, with canoe and kayak tours available if you want to see its wildlife from the water.

It’s not just the everglades worth a visit here, though. In the wider Great Sandy National Park, you’ll find hidden-away beaches, tumbling sand dunes and sprawling rainforests – best explored by 4×4 – while elsewhere in the hinterlands lie the Glass House Mountains, a cluster of volcanic, craggy peaks offering excellent hiking and exceptional views.

Much of Queensland’s charm lies beneath the surface, of course, and if you’re looking to explore the region’s colourful marine life, the Whitsunday Islands should be high on your list.

There are plenty of options for sailing trips here, with key spots including the talcum-sand Whitehaven Beach and paradise-worthy Hamilton Island. Book a Whitehaven Camira Sailing Adventure to explore the first, or if you fancy getting properly back to nature, opt for the two-day Reeflseep, which combines snorkelling and optional diving with dinner and a night sleeping under the stars.

There’s more in the way of world-class snorkelling and diving in Cairns – the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, where dwarf minke whales, manta rays, turtles and groupers inhabit the surrounding waters.

But it’s not only about the marine life here – two hours away sits the Daintree Rainforest; the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, believed to date back around 180 million years. Saltwater crocodiles, kaleidoscopic butterflies and an array of tropical birds inhabit this ancient landscape, with waterfalls, creeks and swimming holes hidden among the trees.

Head out on a riverboat cruise to take it all in, or book an indigenous-led tour to learn more about the Daintree’s Aboriginal people; this vast, heritage-filled wilderness is Australia at its most quintessential, and a perfect symbol of Queensland’s striking diversity.

Book it: Combine Queensland’s natural highlights on Travelbag’s Queensland Ocean & Rainforest Experience, or get in touch with Travelbag’s experts for a private, tailor-made trip to suit.

Should we be worried by the rise of the national conservatives?

Order has been restored to the National Conservatism conference in Brussels, just in time for the politicians, sympathetic journalists, academics and others of the hard right to welcome their poster boy Viktor Orban. Their most successful elected representative, unless you take the view Donald Trump won in 2020 and is still president of the United States.

Their cheeky idea of meeting in the epicentre of the Euro-federalism they despise went a bit wrong when the mayor of Brussels, Emir Kir, decreed the event a public order risk. “Among these personalities there are several, particularly from the right-conservative, religious right and European extreme right,” he said. “The far right is not welcome.”

Playing somewhat into the martyr mentality of the hard right, Mr Kir sent in the police and let loose pandemonium, with leading Brexiteers such as Nigel Farage and Suella Braverman at risk of being locked into the venue (thus, on this occasion, being unable to Leave). Interventions by an independent Belgian court and the country’s liberal prime minister Alexander De Croo reversed the liberal mayor’s somewhat illiberal move; police left the scene, and so the ideological mayhem was resumed. They made speeches, annoyed liberals and begged many questions about who they are and where they’re going.

Sunak’s stubbornness on Rwanda shows how unfocused No 10 has become

As in business, sport and war, so also in politics: one of the defining features of political leadership is to pursue objectives with stamina but also to know precisely when to make a tactical move back or sideways to better secure the larger portion of the prize.

So it is now with the prime minister and his Rwanda bill. The House of Lords has done its job of trying to revise flawed proposals, and is now asking for only two quite reasonable amendments: the implementation of safeguards in the UK-Rwanda treaty, and an exemption aimed at saving the lives of those nationals – including Afghan forces – who have been “agents, allies and employees of the UK overseas”.

Lord Browne, who served as defence secretary, has championed this new clause and argues: “We are told that many who have braved death and injury and are forced into exile as a result of assisting our armed forces in fighting the Taliban, are to be punished for arriving here by irregular routes – even when owing to wrongful refusals on our part or possible malfeasance on the part of the special forces, that compelled them to take these routes in the first place.”