The Telegraph 2024-04-20 16:00:33


Israel supporter wears ‘Please do not arrest me’ hoodie in pointed message to Metropolitan Police

An Israeli supporter wore a “Please do not arrest me” hoodie at a counter-protest in a pointed message to the Metropolitan Police following the row over an officer threatening to arrest an “openly Jewish” anti-Semitism campaigner.

The wording appeared to refer to the confrontation last week between a Met officer who told Gideon Falter he was “openly Jewish” as he threatened him with arrest over his presence close to a pro-Palestinian march.

The Israeli supporter stood among dozens of others who confronted pro-Palestinian activists in central London on Saturday as protests against over Gaza took place around the country.

Police penned in both sets of protesters as they faced off outside a Barclays bank shouting slogans.

Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel supporters on Tottenham Court Road were kept apart by barriers, with about 12 police officers standing between the two groups.

About 50 Israeli supporters, organised by Enough Is Enough, chanted “terrorist supporters off our streets” and “rape is not resistance” while holding placards aloft reading: “Hamas Are Terrorists” and “Remember the hostages kidnapped by Hamas”.

The row between the Met and Mr Falter deepened after the force said his plan to “go for a walk as a private individual” next week is a “protest”.

Mr Falter was threatened with being arrested if he carried on walking near a pro-Palestinian protest last Saturday.

The chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), had left a synagogue wearing a skullcap and was described as “openly Jewish” by a Met sergeant who tried to stop him.

The officer warned him he would be arrested if he persisted in trying to walk across the road at Aldwych, in central London, as a pro-Palestinian march was passing by – telling him he was concerned about the marchers’ reaction to his presence.

Mr Falter has now declared his intention to walk through central London again next Saturday in an assertion of his rights to walk unhindered through any public space.

But the Met is treating his planned walk as a demonstration and asked Mr Falter to meet officers to discuss policing arrangements for the event.

A chief superintendent from the Met Police’s public order planning unit wrote to him, stating: “I note your intention to protest on Saturday and would welcome a meeting as soon as possible to discuss arrangements to make sure we can police the event as safely as possible.”

Mr Falter replied by email: “I am not planning a protest on 27th April. I am going for a walk as a private individual. I have not yet decided where I will walk; however, it is likely that whilst walking I will be quite openly Jewish.”

The date of Mr Falter’s planned walk coincides with a national march against the sale of arms to Israel, called by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other groups as part of the protests over Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Mr Falter has not revealed whether he intends to walk near the route of the pro-Palestinian march.

He said in his email to the Met: “Others might decide to join me. They might not. That is a matter for them. They might also be quite openly Jewish. They might not. That is also a matter for them.”

Mr Falter has accused Scotland Yard of failing to address how it intends to protect Jewish people going about their ordinary business on days that pro-Palestinian protests are staged in London.

‘Met not doing their job’

The CAA said: “The Met has yet to say what it will actually do to protect Jews.

“They are concerned with how they look and whether we might be “quite openly Jewish” again on the streets. They are not concerned with doing their jobs, enforcing the law and protecting law-abiding Londoners.”

The CAA went on to release further footage of the confrontation with the sergeant last Saturday, in which the officer appears to concede that Mr Falter cannot walk freely in the area because of his faith.

As Mr Falter continues to try to cross the road where the march is taking place, the officers tell him: “I’m sure there are an awful lot of people of all sorts of faiths and creeds who want to go where they want. But unfortunately today is different, isn’t it?”

Mr Falter replies: “So basically because I’m Jewish, I can’t cross the road today?”

The officer responds: “Because of the march,” prompting Mr Falter to say: “Yes, because of Jewish”.

At this point the officer states: “That is part of, unfortunately, part of the factor.”

‘I’m not looking for conflict’

Mr Falter later added in a video: “I’m not going to be part of a protest on 27th April. I will not be part of a counter-protest. I’m going to go for a walk as a private individual. As a Londoner. As a Jew.

“I will not be wearing stickers. I will not be holding a placard. I will not be wearing a flag. I will not be chanting slogans. I will just be a Jew walking in London. I don’t want anybody to think I’m going to be going for a walk looking for conflict. I’m not. But I do have a right to walk wherever I want in this city, as a Jew, as a Londoner.

“If the Metropolitan Police Service truly believe that it is safe for everybody to walk around London during these [Palestinian] protests they need to make sure it is actually safe. They need to make sure that Jews can walk the streets of London without fear of arrest.”

The Metropolitan Police have been contacted for comment.

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London drivers ‘could pay per mile’ so that Sadiq Khan can hit net zero target

Drivers in London could have to pay-per-mile charges by the end of the decade in order to achieve Sadiq Khan’s “accelerated” plan to hit net zero, documents reveal.

In an official report, the Mayor of London said that his ambitious plans for decarbonisation were “only possible” by charging drivers.

Mr Khan recommitted to the plans, published two years ago, last week.

With less than a fortnight to go before the mayoral election on May 2, Mr Khan has become locked in a fierce row with Susan Hall, his Conservative opponent, on whether he plans to introduce pay-per-mile charging.

Last week, The Telegraph reported that the Mayor’s official transport strategy continues to include a commitment to “investigate proposals for the next generation of road-user charging”, despite Mr Khan having had opportunities to update the legally mandated document that was first published in 2018.

Mr Khan has been adamant that he has “ruled out” introducing pay-per-mile charging but the Tories say the mayor has himself admitted that his target to achieve net zero in the capital by 2030 relies on road user charging.

Mr Khan first proposed the 2030 goal for London – a full 20 years ahead of the Government’s 2050 target for the country – in 2020, enshrining it a year later in his 2021 re-election manifesto.

He restated the goal in his latest manifesto, published on Thursday, which says: “We have an ambitious target of making London a net zero-carbon city by 2030 – faster than any comparable city”.

To help him get to the target, Mr Khan previously commissioned research by the sustainability consultancy, Element Energy, which in January 2022 published a report on the potential “pathways” to carbon neutrality.

Net zero-carbon city

The report said that “all scenarios would benefit from London-wide road user charging being introduced as early as possible”, with charging “one of the key early building blocks of any package”.

Mr Khan ended up picking an “accelerated green” pathway that involves reaching 22 per cent “residual emissions” by 2030, which would have to be offset. The element energy report says this needs “London-wide road-user charging” from the “mid-late 2020s”.

In his formal response to the report, which was also published in January 2022, Mr Khan said: “The scale of reductions required – a 27 per cent reduction in vehicle kilometres according to the ‘accelerated green’ scenario – is only possible with some form of road user charging.”

He went on: “Such a system could abolish all existing road user charges – such as the Congestion Charge and Ulez (Ultra Low Emission Zone) – and replace them with a simple and fair scheme where drivers pay per mile, with different rates depending on how polluting vehicles are, the level of congestion in the area and access to public transport.”

The Tories also point out that Mr Khan’s 2023 book, Breathe, says “we have plans to introduce a new, more comprehensive, road user charging system”.

At an election hustings last week, Mete Coban, a Hackney Labour councillor, said that Breathe was a “personal book, it is not the manifesto for London” and that “Sadiq has ruled out pay-per-mile for now”.

Ms Hall told The Telegraph there was “no doubt that he will put [pay-per-mile] in”. 

“We’ve seen all the evidence,” she said.

But a spokesman for Mr Khan said: “Sadiq has repeatedly and categorically ruled out pay-per-mile for as long as he is mayor. It will not be introduced in London, despite misleading statements from the Tories saying otherwise.

“The road-user charging scheme was originally proposed by Boris Johnson as mayor and by Rishi Sunak as chancellor.

“Sadiq has repeatedly ruled out any such scheme while he is mayor.”

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Western appeasement of Iran has failed, says shah’s son

The West needs a Reagan-Thatcher style leadership pairing to confront Tehran because the current policy of appeasement has failed, Iran’s exiled crown prince told The Telegraph.

Reza Pahlavi, the eldest son of the last shah of Iran, is the founder and leader of the National Council of Iran, an exiled opposition group, and a prominent critic of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Islamic regime.

He said there had been a “weak approach” by Western leaders “on both sides of the Atlantic” towards the Islamic Republic and called for a “reset” of Europe’s relationship with Tehran, starting with proscribing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terror organisation.

The prince, 63, also implicitly criticised Rishi Sunak for not doing enough to counter threats and intimidation of Iranian journalists based in London.

“The regime is trying to harm or threaten not only dissidents, but even British citizens,” he said, referring to the stabbing of Pouria Zeraati, the Iran International television host, outside his Wimbledon home last month.

What was being gained from not being “willing to respond in some form?” he asked.

He argued that the “root cause” of Iran’s malign influence across the Middle East – particularly its antagonistic role with regards to Israel – was the West’s policy of “appeasement”.

“That has always been based on expecting a behaviour change by the regime that hasn’t panned out,” he said, adding that what was needed was a revival of “an era where there was some stronger leadership that changed the world in a very significant way: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher at the end of the Cold War”.

“Right now you see what [Vladimir] Putin is doing in Moscow, you see what the Chinese are doing,” he added. “What is [being done] to counter that in terms of decisive, strong, co-ordinated leadership in the West? I don’t see any.”

The prince spoke to The Telegraph in an discreet apartment building in a smart corner of downtown Washington earlier this week, before Israel struck an Iranian air defence radar system near the city of Isfahan in retaliation for Tehran’s assault.

The US capital’s suburbs have been home to him, his wife and three daughters for decades, though he has previously referred to it as a “temporary place to live”, amid hopes he may one day return to his homeland.

The prince left Iran in 1977, aged 17, to undergo air force training in America. Two years later, his father Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was deposed during the Islamic Revolution and the royal family has been in exile ever since.

Following his father’s death in 1980, the prince declared himself the new shah of Iran in exile, although as Iran’s royal family was a constitutional monarchy, he was never formally appointed.

Dressed in a smart dark suit, with an expensive-looking watch adorning his wrist, the prince’s retinue refer to him as “his majesty”. So do his most devoted followers among the several-million-strong Iranian diaspora.

He has previously said he has no aspirations to restore the monarchy in Iran, but he remains an important figurehead for opposition figures and Iranians in exile.

It is a role he takes seriously, saying “we” as he discusses Iranians’ plight during the interview.

Over the past few decades, he made rallying opposition against Iran’s theocratic regime his life’s work, regularly travelling across Europe and America to campaign for a secular and democratic Iran and advocate for its oppressed citizens.

He became visibly frustrated when asked about ongoing diplomatic attempts with Tehran.

“There’s still some people in the Western world who think that they still have that dialogue within the status quo and are hoping ‘maybe we can revive this deal’ or ‘maybe we can cut this agreement’,” he said, leaning forward in his chair and using hand gestures to stress his point.

“This is basically kicking the can down the road,” he added. “Diplomacy has failed. Appeasement has failed. Any continuation of the same, frankly, is insanity.”

When asked which Western leaders he was thinking of, the prince did not want to single out individuals.

However, he did say that Tehran’s revenue had swelled in the last two years amid the Biden administration’s failure to enforce sanctions.

The exiled prince said the West needs to take the same approach with Tehran as it did with South Africa under apartheid.

“Finally the world said ‘you know what, this is no longer tolerable or acceptable’,” he said. “I think the scenario is similar in the case of Iran, except that while South Africa was having a racial policy, this is a terrorist-promoting regime. It’s not just a matter of being repressive. It’s actually a threat to the world.”

It is a point he has been making all week on US cable news following Iran’s unprecedented direct strike on Israel, which involved more than 300 drones, rockets and missiles.

After almost a half-century living in the shadow of exile, he is optimistic that the end is closer for Tehran’s rulers now than at any other point in the last 45 years.

“Regimes that are confident don’t start bashing their own people or killing children or doing what they’re doing,” he said, referring to the recent brutal repression of peaceful protests sparked by the 2022 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained for not wearing her hijab properly.

That’s a sign of weakness and insecurity.”

Underscoring the dangers of his position, however, is the coterie of bodyguards and aides who sit nearby in the elegant living room-cum-study that looks out on to a terrace with a panoramic view of the Washington skyline.

It is Iran’s “Gen Z” that he believes offers the best hope for regime change. “These kids today, they follow Twitter, they follow Instagram or X or whatever other platforms, they’re not cut off from the world,” he said.

“They say: why shouldn’t I have the same opportunities that some young girl or boy has today in Doha or in Abu Dhabi or in Dubai?”

“They are trying to do their best but they’re denied every possible opportunity. That’s not tenable. And they talk about this, they voice their ideas, the fact of how united they are as a nation.

“Everything that this regime has tried to destroy in Iran is now coming as a retaliation to what has been done to them, manifesting itself in such a beautiful way,” he said.

With a smile, he added: “That’s what gives me hope, what gives me energy”.

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Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies

A man has died after setting himself on fire on Friday outside the New York courthouse where Donald Trump’s historic hush-money trial was taking place.

The New York police department said Max Azzarello did not appear to be targeting Mr Trump or others involved in the trial.

Azzarello doused himself in a cleaning substance before lighting himself on fire on Friday across the road from Manhattan Criminal Court, just moments after a full jury panel had been selected to try the former president.

He was engulfed in flames for roughly three minutes in full view of television cameras that were set up outside the courthouse.

NBC News and other US media said early on Saturday that the man had died. 

Tarik Sheppard, a deputy commissioner with the Police Department, said at a news conference, said: “Right now we are labelling him as sort of a conspiracy theorist, and we are going from there.”

Witnesses said Azzarello pulled pamphlets out of a backpack and threw them in the air before the incident. One of those pamphlets included references to “evil billionaires” but portions that were visible to a Reuters witness did not mention Trump.

Azzarello published a blog post on Friday that began with the words: “My name is Max Azzarello, and I am an investigative researcher who has set himself on fire outside of the Trump trial in Manhattan.”

He claimed that cryptocurrencies were being used to perpetrate a “multi-trillion-dollar Ponzi scheme” and that the government had “unleashed Covid on the world” to explain the resulting “stock-market anomaly”.

The 2,600-word essay made only a handful of references to Mr Trump, suggesting he was part of a “secret kleptocracy” that counted previous presidents and their election rivals among its members.

Mr Azzarello was photographed outside the court holding a sign that read: “Trump is with Biden and they’re about to fascist coup us.”

The former president was reportedly made aware of the incident as he sat inside the courtroom but did not respond to reporters’ questions. His campaign offered “condolences to the traumatised witnesses” and paid tribute to “the great first responders of the City of New York”.

The trial is being heard amid tight security in a 15th floor courtroom, which is said to be teeming with Secret Service officers as well as court police.

Opening statements in Mr Trump’s trial are set to go ahead on Monday morning after six alternates – who will take the place of jurors if they have to step aside – were selected on Friday.

The 12 jurors, along with six alternates, will consider evidence in a first-ever trial to determine whether a former president is guilty of breaking the law. 

Prosecutors intend to call at least 20 witnesses, according to Susan Necheles, Mr Trump’s defence lawyer. He may testify on his own behalf, in a risky move that would open him up to cross-examination.

The jury consists of seven men and five women, mostly employed in white-collar professions: two corporate lawyers, a software engineer, a speech therapist and an English teacher. Most are not native New Yorkers, hailing from across the United States and countries like Ireland and Lebanon. The alternates, who will also hear the case, are held in reserve in case one of the jurors has to leave due to illness or some other cause. 

Mr Trump is accused of covering up a $130,000 (£105,089) payment Michael Cohen, his then-lawyer, made to Stormy Daniels, the former adult actress, before the 2016 election to keep quiet about a sexual encounter she says they had a decade earlier.

The former president has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records brought by Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney, and denies any such encounter with Ms Daniels.

Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty in three other criminal cases as well but this is the only one certain to go to trial ahead of the Nov 5 election, when the Republican politician aims to again take on Joe Biden.

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How Britain’s stolen Range Rovers and Rolls-Royces ended up on the streets of Moscow

Upon first inspection, the red shipping container sitting in an Essex storage site would have looked unremarkable but the police officers who opened it up knew better.

Acting on a tip, they emptied out stacks of bicycles and white goods to reveal the real, hidden cargo: three stolen Range Rovers, wrapped up in mattresses and rugs, worth a combined £170,000.

More have followed since that discovery in June 2022 and the tempo is increasing.

Other discoveries include: Bentley, Audi and Toyota cars worth £250,000 sandwiched into a container together; a £300,000 Rolls-Royce Dawn, nestled among the remains of 13 other chopped up cars; and high-end Lexus Saloons stacked like cards on top of one another.

Last year, Essex Police’s stolen vehicle intelligence unit intercepted more than 60 containers like this before they were exported, carrying 240 cars worth around £13m.

They are almost always disguised under false papers and usually headed for destinations in the Middle East, Africa or Asia, fuelling a lucrative trade in luxury cars and parts that organised criminals are only too pleased to facilitate.

Why the recent upsurge? At least part of the answer is thought to lie in the conflict raging 1,000 miles away in Ukraine, which has triggered a string of Western sanctions against Russia.

These sanctions aim to not only hurt the Russian economy but also deprive Vladimir Putin’s cronies of the Western luxuries they enjoy so much, not least the expensive cars they drive around Moscow.

It is forcing them to pay more for both their vehicles and the parts to maintain them, which must now be obtained through more complex and riskier means.

One way they are avoiding these sanctions is simply by shipping vehicles to neighbouring ex-Soviet countries and then sending them on to Russia, according to reports.

However, the crackdown is also thought to be fuelling a black market that has prompted gangs to employ blunter tactics: the theft of vehicles from British streets. to be transported to Russia via intermediate destinations. The cars can be shipped whole or they can be broken down into parts to be put back together upon arrival.

“The sanctions are driving the need for cars and car parts in Russia very hard, and that desperation is part of the reason we are seeing more vehicles going out via the Middle East,” says Mike Briggs, an insurance industry veteran who is now UK president of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI).

“It’s a real problem for them at the moment – because anything you see on Russian roads will eventually need spare parts.

“The black market there has always been rife, but now it is getting bigger because of the sanctions, because people still want their luxury cars…and in fact, being able to still get them even now is actually likely to improve your status within Russia.”

There was a 48pc increase in vehicle thefts in the year to the end of September 2023, according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales, rising from 72,000 to 106,000 incidents.

The way criminals typically steal cars goes something like this: a gang receives an order for a certain model of car or parts from an overseas buyer.

They then go hunting for what they need in a big city, such as London, Birmingham or Manchester.

Once they have found their prey – with families and wealthy foreign drivers seen as soft targets – they break into the car, jam and remove any tracking devices they can find, and then park it up somewhere to wait and see whether anyone comes looking for it.

If no one comes, the gangs then strip the car for parts or ready it for export via a container that is often loaded with other metal goods to disguise the real cargo and confuse X-ray scanners

It is then shipped to locations such as Dubai or the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

One reason why so many of the cars get through is that only a tiny proportion of containers are ever checked, says Iain McKinlay, chairman of the National Association of Stolen Vehicle Examiners.

By one industry estimate, fewer than five in every 100,000 containers leaving Britain are searched. This is partly because of how disruptive searching more of them would be to trade.

Nationally, there are thought to be just four full-time police officers dedicated to checking containers at Britain’s ports.

Another issue is that many vehicle thefts and recoveries require cross-border cooperation by different police forces – but typically only one will get the credit in statistics, creating few incentives for forces to go the extra mile.

Frustratingly, criminals also cannot be arrested for carrying equipment used to break into cars, while prosecutions for attempting to smuggle or chop up the cars are few and far between, McKinlay adds. Business owners often claim they didn’t know the vehicles were stolen.

“If you get caught with a £5,000 quantity of drugs, you’re going away to jail for a very long time,” the former detective constable explains. 

“But if you get caught with a stolen vehicle worth £70,000, you’ll likely just get a slap on the wrist.

“So the gangs have identified there’s a lot of money to be made and that the risk versus the reward is really negligible.”

An industry insider said: “Vehicle crime is almost decriminalised in the UK now.”

They point to figures showing less than 1pc of recorded thefts ever lead to charges.

This is what visibly frustrated the chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover Adrian Mardell in February, when he complained that authorities were effectively giving gangs a free pass by failing to check enough of the shipping containers leaving Britain.

The British car maker is so concerned that it has actually started providing its own funding, understood to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, towards police intelligence work to help ensure the problem is tackled. 

However, as a shipping source points out, it would be impractical to check every container.

“If you did, you can bet that JLR and the other car makers would be among the first to complain,” the source notes.

Instead, checks must be “intelligence-led” – i.e., based on tip-offs and police investigatory work – unless a new technology solution can be found that allows containers to be checked effectively and swiftly without needing to be opened.

A spokesman for the British Association of Ports said: “Border security and combating illicit trade falls to government agencies who take a risk-based and intelligence-led approach to checks.

“This balances interests of legitimate trade and helps keep costs down for traders.

“The ports industry… is always open to constructive discussions about how we can continue to bear down on smuggling and organised crime, but this must be done in a proportionate manner.”

One potential way to direct more resources to this issue could be to adopt a model used by some US states and Australia, where a small percentage of every car insurance policy goes towards funding anti-vehicle theft police operations, says McKinlay.

That might prove controversial if it pushes up policy costs. But it may prove cheaper in the long run if insurers don’t need to cover as many claims, McKinlay argues.

The cost of vehicle theft and theft from a vehicle hit record levels in 2023, with insurers paying out £669m for claims, according to the Association of British Insurers.

The lobby group says it takes vehicle theft seriously and is “exploring partnerships with the police to help with the recovery of stolen vehicles from ports”, as well as with car manufacturers on prevention.

Ultimately, observers say more resources must be directed towards the problem to have an impact. In Canada, border authorities have done precisely this, setting up a new taskforce with money from insurers that recently targeted the Port of Montreal in a raid earlier this month.

Through searches of 390 shipping containers, they discovered 598 stolen cars worth a total of about £20m.

In the UK, a conference hosted by Toyota in Derby this July will bring together the UK Government, police, car makers and other industry figures to try to address the problem here as well.

To stop the flow of luxury cars to Russia, says Briggs, “we need more training, more police and more technology”.

“This is just business for the gangs. And so long as there is a market and they can get these cars for nothing, why wouldn’t they do it?”

The Home Office said it was cracking down on the use of electronic devices used to steal vehicles by making it an offence to possess them, through new laws in the Criminal Justice Bill that is working its way through Parliament. 

A spokesman said forces were also being given more funding to hire frontline police officers, adding: “We have made great progress in tackling vehicle crime, which is down 39pc since 2010.”

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Wines from the north of England and Scotland are the future, French experts say

Wine produced as far north as Northumberland and Scotland will threaten the future of traditional grape growing regions, experts have found.

A new global map created by scientists from France’s Bordeaux and Burgundy wine provinces predicts that wine production will be forced to shift from the traditional terroir of southern Europe to the northernmost reaches of Britain.

Changes in global temperatures are set to make mid-latitude regions – such as southern France, northern Spain and Italy, and the New World vineyards of southern California and Barossa in Australia – unsuitable for production. 

Areas once considered too cool and wet for viticulture, such as the northern British Isles, southern Scandinavia and the Pacific north-west of the US, will be the winemaking “winners”, according to the study.

Increased heat waves and erratic rainfall could wipe out vineyards from Greece to California by 2100, researchers found.

The map, created by teams from Inrae, a public research institute for agriculture, food and the environment; Bordeaux Sciences Agro, the French National Centre for Scientific Research; and the universities of Bordeaux and Burgundy shows southern Britain as likely to enjoy “improved suitability”, while the north of the UK is designated as a “new wine region”.

At the same time Southern Europe is predicted to face a “high risk of unsuitability” for wine production as the mercury rises.

Researchers considered two scenarios: one where warming remains within two degrees Celsius of pre-industrial average, the limit set by the 2015 Paris climate accord, and another where global temperatures rise by 2C to 4C.

Either way, French scientists predict British vines will benefit at the expense of their Mediterranean counterparts. 

The report found around half of current wine regions might benefit or maintain their suitability for winemaking with a temperature increase of 2°C or below, but a rise beyond 2°C could make up to 70 per cent of traditional wine regions unsuitable.

Overall, the suitable surface area of traditional wine-producing regions is predicted to decline by 20 per cent to 70 per cent by the end of the century, depending on the severity of global warming.

Cornelis van Leeuwen, professor of viticulture at Bordeaux Sciences Agro and lead author of the report, said: “Climate change is changing the geography of wine – there will be winners and losers.

“You can still make wine almost anywhere, even in tropical climates, but here we looked at quality wine at economically viable yields.”

The report, published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, warns that under “far more severe warming scenarios, most Mediterranean regions might become climatically unsuitable for wine production”.

There are currently 37 vineyards in northern England and three in Scotland, says Ian Sargent, Midlands and North regional director for trade body WineGB.

In 2015, Scotland’s first homegrown wine was infamously described as “undrinkable” after Christopher Trotter, from Aberdeen, set up his own vineyard in Fife three years earlier.

Plantations north of the border are concentrated in the Scottish Borders area, but Mr Sargent revealed plans are afoot for a new vineyard near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

Mr Sargent, who with wife Ann planted vineyard Laurel Vines in the East Riding of Yorkshire in 2011, said: “The [French] report confirms our data and results; we are seeing an increase in the sunlight hours per year and increasing temperatures; this is resulting in larger, high-quality vintages.

“We have also seen an increase in the number of vineyards across the country, including the north, and there is more interest in finding suitable sites on which to plant vines in the region.”

‘Scotland is a younger market’

He added: “The Midlands and North have some excellent vineyards and wineries producing first-class, award-winning wines.

“The 2023 yield was a record year and for a lot of vineyards this comes on the back of previous fantastic vintages.

“Regarding Scottish vineyards, it’s fair to say that this is a younger market, but as with the north of England, there are sites being acquired and planted.”

British viticulture-climatologist and CEO of vineyard consultancy Vinescapes, Dr Alistair Nesbitt, said: “There is urgent need for adaptation in both warmer established regions and newer, cooler viticulture areas, such as the UK, to better cope with change and variability.”

A report by WineGB last year found the area of Britain covered by vineyards had soared by 74 per cent in just five years.

More than 940 vineyards cover 3,928 hectares of land – mainly in southern England – with that figure expected to almost double within 10 years to 7,600ha, equivalent to more than 10,000 football pitches.

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Al Murray: I’ll turn myself in to the police before next gig in Scotland

The comedian Al Murray has suggested he could turn himself in to the police in anticipation of falling foul of Scotland’s new hate crime laws.

Murray, best known for his act featuring a politically incorrect pub landlord, fears the legislation could land him in trouble.

“This is a very interesting moment actually, that piece of legislation. To be honest, for comedians it is a wonderful opportunity to get yourself arrested and get written about. Or maybe next time I go to Scotland I should simply turn myself in,” he said.

The new legislation creates a crime of “stirring up hatred” concerning religion, transgender identity, disability, religion, sexual orientation or age.

Murray said that he would not be able to tone down his character now after two decades as his pub landlord’s alter ego.

“I am too far down the track with him. The one I maybe want to experiment with is being me, but I sort of would not know where to start,” he said.

Murray says the pub landlord now talks less about nationalism in his shows but he remains committed to National Service.

“There is no sneering. But I do have a bit in the current show about national service because the pub landlord is all for it now that he is too old to have to do that for himself. They always get a murmur of approval,” he told Radio 4’s Loose Ends:

In 2022, Murray admitted that he felt sympathy for politicians after he stood for Parliament.

Murray, who campaigned for a seat at South Thanet in Kent in 2015, says that life in Parliament is a “rotten life”

He earned just 318 votes in the constituency, but came away shocked by how much voters appeared to want him to “screw up”.

Murray, who also faced conspiracy theorists alleging he defrauded voters, said he had no plans to repeat his run in politics.

“The strangest thing about that is that I came away quite sympathetic towards politicians, in a way I didn’t expect.

“At the time I was very much a plague on their houses. At the time [I was saying]: ‘They are all no good, duds and the ones that aren’t duds are corrupt.’

“I very much felt that. By the time we were done, I had some sympathy for the fact that all anyone wants from politicians is for them to fail.

“The central demand from the British public is that politicians fail and journalists are trying to catch them out.

“I came away thinking, that is a rotten life. That is a rotten situation to find yourself in.”

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