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December 9 - 15 2009
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 30-32
WORLD NEWS P14
Troop surge President Obama will send an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan
Rivers of life reborn A British charity is bringing water back to drought-hit Kenya
The Keira effect The young star’s West End debut is sparking a box-office frenzy
Yorkshire and Chelsea The building societies will cut hundreds of jobs under merger plans
Singing in the rain Strauss eyes World Cup as washout confirms first series win in South Africa
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Bonus Ball 28
Bonus Ball 12
There were two winners of Saturday’s £5.2m jackpot and two winners of Wednesday’s £7.5m prize
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The Windsors For all the latest updates, read our Royal blog expat.telegraph.co.uk/blogs
By Rosa Prince Political Correspondent JOHN BERCOW, the Commons Speaker, may struggle to hold his seat at the next election as Conservative voters, angry at outspoken comments made by his wife, threaten to defect to the UK Independence Party.
It emerged that if he does survive, a number of Tory MPs are considering trying to topple him as Speaker after Sally Bercow, who hopes to become a Labour candidate, gave an interview in which she criticised David Cameron in highly personal terms.
By convention, Speakers are elected unopposed, and both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have agreed not to field a candidate in Mr Bercow’s Buckingham constituency.
But Nigel Farage, who stood down as Ukip leader last month to concentrate on fighting the seat, said that he was attracting the support of Conservatives angry at Mrs Bercow’s comments.
As well as her attack on the Tory leader, she irritated
Sally Bercow: outspoken many in the constituency by saying that it would be against her principles to send the couple’s three children to be educated in local grammar schools, which are prized by many in the area.
She also raised eyebrows with a frank account of her promiscuous youth, in which she described drinking heavily and engaging in onenight stands with men she met in bars.
Her remarks about Mr Cameron, whom she labelled a “merchant of spin”, have led Tory MPs to discuss
John Bercow: in danger challenging Mr Bercow when he is required to seek re-election as Speaker.
It is customary for sitting Speakers to be returned without opposition. But one backbencher, Nadine Dorries, said: “When a new parliament sits, we MPs, at a strategic moment, have the opportunity to shout ‘no’ when the motion to reinstate the Speaker is announced. I reckon it’s going to be a fairly loud chorus.”
Having started out on the Right of his party, Mr Bercow is said to have become increasingly liberal since meeting his wife. His election as Speaker was secured largely with the backing of Labour MPs.
Although the Speaker’s seat is one of the safest in the country, with a Tory majority of more than 18,000, Mr Farage said that he was hopeful he could topple Mr Bercow.
“One can discuss the taste or otherwise of throwing your private life open to the world, but it is the grammar school comments which have been hugely damaging to the Tories,” he added.
“Voters here feel that it is wrong that under convention there is no contest, and that effectively their vote wouldn’t count, so they are glad that Ukip is standing,” he said.
“Even though it’s a safe Conservative seat, a majority of people didn’t vote for him last time, and hopefully we can do well.
“They are a bit cautious, but we are starting to see Tories defecting to us.”
The Telegraph spoke to four Conservative voters, including two party activists, who said that they would vote for Mr Farage at the general election.
By Andrew Pierce THE Queen decided to take action to prevent paparazzi taking photographs on royal estates after they obtained a series of photographs of senior members of the Royal family in private properties.
The Duke of Edinburgh was captured on camera in Wood Farm, his own house on the 20,000-acre Sandringham estate, which is owned by the Queen. The photographs were not published in Britain.
Buckingham Palace is now threatening unprecedented legal action against photographers, who are alleged to be guilty of intrusive behaviour.
Samantha Cohen, the Queen’s press secretary, and Gerald Tyrrell, a lawyer to the Prince of Wales and Princes William and Harry, held a meeting with Tom Toulmin, the director of the Press Complaints Commission, to discuss the issue.
The photographers have camped out at strategic points on a series of public roads that criss-cross the
Norfolk estate. While no members of the Royal family are discernible to the naked eye from the roads they can easily be picked up by the powerful telephoto lenses.
There was uproar in the Royal household in January when photographs were published of the Earl of Wessex apparently striking his two gun dogs with a 4ft stick during a pheasant shoot. The RSPCA cleared the Earl of any wrongdoing. With the festive season approaching, Buckingham Palace has made it clear that it will not tolerate further breaches of privacy.
Photographers are given access to the Royal family when they go to church on the estate on Christmas Day. Any attempts to obtain further photographs could be met with criminal charges of harassment.
“Members of the Royal family believe they have a right to privacy when they are not on public duty and they think that photographing private activities when they are with friends breaches that privacy,” one official said.
Continued from page 1 firms such as JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank.
A final decision has still not been made, however, as officials argue over the legality and administrative complexity of the plans.
Mr Darling is considering two versions of a tax on bonuses, which are predicted to reach £6billion this year despite the recession. The first would be a levy on payouts above a certain rate, with the alternative a substantial increase in National Insurance charges for banks that pay bonuses. The Chancellor is said to be tempted to exploit voter anger at bankers awarding themselves large bonuses so soon after being bailed out by the taxpayer.
George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, said that he was not opposed to a banking windfall tax in principle, but that the Tories would focus on taking steps to stop banks offsetting losses against future tax bills once they began to make profits.
The Telegraph also understands that the PBR will see the inheritance tax threshold frozen at £325,000, with plans to raise it to £350,000 cancelled. This would allow Mr Brown to continue his strategy of accusing the Tories of seeking to deliver tax breaks for the rich.
The Conservatives are committed to raising the threshold at which tax must be paid to £1million. However, Mr Osborne disclosed that the impact of the recession meant that a Tory government would not raise the threshold for the first “year or two” in office.
The accountants Grant Thornton said on Sunday that if Mr Darling froze the personal allowance on which no income tax was due, as had been suggested, an extra 70,000 people a year could be dragged up into the 40 per cent tax bracket.
Mr Darling is understood to be keen to give Labour ammunition for the election battle by painting the PBR as an equality budget. He said on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show:
“We are not going to be held to ransom by people who believe you can pay extraordinarily high bonuses without regard to what’s going on.”
The Chancellor warned of tough times ahead, saying: “[This week] I will set out what I think we need to do. It will mean making public spending much tighter.”
This week, ministers were due to make clear that high earners in the public and private sectors would be made to bear the costs of the recession, with as many as one in five senior civil servants losing their job.
Comment, page 18 Business, page 33