Breaking news: Honiton Chamber sever all ties with Town Council

Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry have cut all ties with Honiton Town Council – cancelling their membership with immediate effect.

Hannah Corfield honiton.nub.new

The unusual move to disassociate themselves from the town council comes after a meeting held last Wednesday (30 Sept), where it was unanimously agreed that they were ‘unfit’ for membership.

In an explosive letter, Vice Chairman Joseph M Furneaux-Gotch stated: “At a recent meeting the current behaviour of Honiton Town Council was discussed at length; including the allegations and ongoing incidents of bullying in the workplace, poor treatment of staff leading to numerous resignations and litigations; continued unnecessary litigation undertaken by the council; together with the lack of support and service given to Honiton Town recently.

“This in no small way is as a result of money wasted on unnecessary legal fees which continue to this day.

“The shroud of secrecy purveyed by the council in continuing the outdated principle of Part ‘B’ meeting for anything other than discussions regarding commercial tendering left us in no doubt of the need for action.

“It was agreed unanimously that Honiton Town Council, not being a body fit for membership of the Chamber of Commerce, should be excluded from membership forthwith.

“We are saddened to find this very unusual step necessary, but feel strongly the need to disassociate the Chamber from all and every activity of the current Honiton Town Council.

“Therefore membership of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry is cancelled with immediate effect.”

Honiton Nub News has contacted Mayor John Zarczynski for comment and is awaiting response.

Planning changes would drastically cut affordable homes, councils say

Building of cheaper housing could be almost halved in some areas of England, analysis suggests.

Robert Booth www.theguardian.com 

Close to half of affordable homes in some of the most expensive areas of England will not be built if ministers proceed with changes to the planning system, analysis by councils suggests.

The government’s proposal to scrap the duty of developers to build affordable housing on sites for up to 40 or 50 homes, would have led to 30,000 of such homes going undelivered over the last five years, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

Some areas likely to be most affected are the least affordable and under greatest housing pressure, the cross-party grouping said.

Elmbridge in Surrey, where the average house price is over £760,000, has 486 affordable homes either built, under construction or with planning permission over the past five years. This would be reduced to 271 if the proposed 40 or 50-unit threshold were introduced, the LGA said.

Lewes district council in East Sussex could lose up to 37% of its affordable homes, based on past trends. Council leaders in Cornwall have complained the change could result in 300 fewer affordable homes in the county every year.

The warning comes as several Conservative councils voice objections to the planning changes, which they also complain will limit local power over developments. Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, defended the plans in an interview with the Guardian, telling rebellious shire Tories their party had a “moral mission” to build more homes.

The government admits lifting the threshold at which affordable housing must be included from sites with more than 10 homes to those with over 40 or 50 could cut affordable housing delivery by between 7% and 20%.

But its consultation on changes to the planning system states: “We anticipate that raising the threshold would make more sites viable for [small and medium-sized] developers and would increase the pace of their delivery as the need for negotiation would be removed.”

The LGA’s housing spokesperson, David Renard, who is the Conservative leader of Swindon borough bouncil, said the proposals were “of huge concern”.

“We need to build homes that are affordable to local people and help to reduce homelessness, rather than contributing additional funds to developers’ and landowners’ profits,” he said. “These current proposals risk allowing developers to game the system by only putting forward schemes for fewer than 40 or 50 homes, and so avoid building any affordable homes at all.”

Karen Randolph, portfolio holder for planning at Elmbridge, said: “We are strongly opposed to this approach. There is a significant need for affordable housing in Elmbridge, which coupled with limited land supply and reliance on small sites, means that every opportunity must be taken to secure affordable housing.” She said the average size of the development site in the borough was 0.11 hectares – around a quarter of an acre.

 Why have house prices in England shot up since the 1990s? – video explainer

William Meyer, the Liberal Democrat cabinet member for housing at Lewes district council said: “We have massive land shortage in Lewes and if small sites are going to be excluded it will make a difficult situation worse.” Lewes town is in the South Downs national park, which has a rule that half of any developments of more than 10 homes must be affordable.

But the change would affect other settlements in the district outside the park boundary, including Seaford and Newhaven. Meyer said building council housing rather than relying on private developers was the answer and that a cut in March to the cost of central government loans for that purpose had helped.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the LGA was overstating the risk, because its proposal to lift the threshold for affordable housing contributions was planned to only be in place for 18 months.

They added: “Our proposals will bring in a new, simpler infrastructure levy to ensure developers pay their way and deliver at least as much, if not more, onsite affordable housing than today.”

Boris Johnson’s Content-Free Conference Speech Proved Words Are Not Enough

“God loves a trier and so does the British public, but they may sicken of someone who tries their patience with sheer incompetence in handling this disease. What they got in this speech was not even jam tomorrow, but jam in a decade’s time. Many would rather just have a Covid test tomorrow, not in a decade’s time.”

 The Waugh Zone www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

“You have his words.” Normally, when a political spokesman utters this line in response to reporters’ questions, it’s because their boss has said something so controversial or sensitive that they know it’s more than their job’s worth to expand on it. Go out and just play a straight bat, don’t add anything further and just repeat what the boss has said. Defence is the best offence, etcetera.

Equally normally, after a prime minister’s party conference speech there will be a briefing in which one-sentence big picture promises are fleshed out with detail, detail that was excluded because it would interrupt the natural narrative flow. We are normally given meat on the bones, the fine brushwork to fill in the sketch, the footnotes to the argument.

But after Boris Johnson’s Big Speech, his first at a party conference since his 2019 election victory, his spokesperson answered almost every single question about policy with – you guessed it – “You have his words.” The briefing was one of the most painful, excruciatingly content-free I’ve ever had to endure in doing 23 years of these things.

Here’s a flavour. What did he mean when he hinted at a social insurance for care homes? “I’m afraid I don’t have much more on that..you’ve got the prime minister’s words”. Yes we have his words, and they told us bugger all beyond a vague citation of Winston Churchill’s “magic of averages” reference to pooling risk.

Can you tell us more about his idea of one-to-one tuition? “You’ve got his words…” Any more detail on his 95% mortgage deposit idea, how long terms would last for example? “You’ve got what he said..” My particular favourite was the answer to a question for more detail on what the PM meant by “digital ID”. “I think that’s a reference to biometric passports,” the spokesman told us. “The passport is obviously a form of digital identity document….” Riiiight, OK.

The helpless, hapless spokesperson was only his master’s voice, of course, so it was no surprise that he sounded so vacuous. It’s worth remembering too that at his first party conference as Tory leader last year Johnson had not a single new policy and his press team didn’t even bother to hold a briefing afterwards at all.

But the 2019 conference was a pre-election sloganfest, a campaign rally in all but name, not a serious update for the nation in a time of crisis as this year’s should have been. With his own competence on coronavirus the most live issue, it felt as though he wanted to reassure the public he was a big, bold deliverer of new ideas.

Yet promises and competence can only be measured if there’s some substance behind them, rather than quarter-baked items plucked out of the ideas fridge. The sheer lack of any detailed plans may prompt even those who give him the benefit of the doubt to think the Emperor really does have no clothes.

Of course, Johnson is a wordsmith and he can still deploy them to good effect. One of his best lines was how much we miss and rely on ”all the gossipy gregariousness and love of human contact that drives the creativity of our economy”. It would be a huge mistake too not to recognise the deep well of goodwill and sympathy that many of those who voted for him (particularly Labour Brexit voters) still retain.

The passage on his vision for 2030 had a certain upbeat futurism about it and no one should underestimate his skill at political amnesia, socially distancing himself from previous Tory leaders as if they were in a different party. Today, he effectively laid into Cameron and Osborne and May and Hammond on the economy as much as, citing “12 years of relative anaemia” on growth. Ditto his attack on previous governments’ ”failure to tackle the deficit in skills, inadequate transport infrastructure, not enough homes people could afford to buy”.

Yet just as a half-empty Commons chamber has brutally exposed his blustering rhetoric in the absence of a heaving mass of noisy backbenchers, so too the ethereally silent reception for his conference speech (delivered to a camera in a bare room in Canary Wharf) cruelly exposed the duff applause lines, grinding gear-changes and occasional incoherence of his words.

To take just one example, the PM said “we are working for the day when life will be back to normal”, then said seconds later told us the virus was a “catalyst for change” and “after all we have been through it isn’t enough just to go back to normal”. Just weeks ago he was saying people had to go back to the office to save city centres, now he says “instead of being dragged on big commutes to the city” he wants people to “start a business in their home town”. It’s a laudable sentiment but it jarred with his ‘Save Pret’ lecturing of last month.

Similarly, the PM said he will “ensure” that the next Tory conference would mean people meeting “cheek by jowl” again, which seemed both a hostage to fortune and a reminder to those in the events industry that their industry is currently being lowered into the grave with little state help to pay for the burial.

The irony is that if Johnson had at least tried to expand on his policy ideas, he may have won round even some sceptics. The Sutton Trust has long pushed the idea of one-to-one state tuition to give poorer children a level playing field with those who can afford private tutors. If Johnson had backed up his “we must care for the carers” with a new national carers living wage that could have proved he was serious. If he had set out funding for the billions, not a few hundred million, needed for green energy, he could have sounded credible.

By contrast, what we got was a reheat of his speech just before “unlockdown”, when he talked of coming out of an Alpine tunnel into the sunlit pasture. The problem is that we are now hurling into another tunnel and for jobs and hospitalisations (up sharply again today), the dark is all that lies ahead this winter. Covid and even Brexit were dismissed in a few paragraphs, almost as afterthoughts.

God loves a trier and so does the British public, but they may sicken of someone who tries their patience with sheer incompetence in handling this disease. What they got in this speech was not even jam tomorrow, but jam in a decade’s time. Many would rather just have a Covid test tomorrow, not in a decade’s time.

The best way to reassure people about our future plans is to deliver in the here and now. Imagine if he’d promised billions on a detailed plan to fix Test and Trace (or at least help fund small, localised labs), and on paying people a healthy sum to self-isolate. Instead, all we had – as his spokesman repeated ad nauseum – were “his words”. Right now, words are not enough.

Brexit drives government consultancy fees to £450m in three years

The scale of the government’s reliance on management consultants has been laid bare as analysis shows that spending with eight top firms has risen by 45% to more than £450m in three years.

Rajeev Syal www.theguardian.com 

Deloitte, the professional services firm, was the biggest winner, earning fees of £147m from public funds in 2019-20, compared with £40m two years earlier, amid a bonanza related in large part to Brexit.

The Home Office had the biggest increase in consultancy spending over three years, jumping 788% to £57m as the department dealt with security, immigration and border preparations for leaving the EU.

The results of the analysis of more than 11,000 government invoices came on Tuesday as Boris Johnson promoted the private sector, saying “free enterprise” must lead the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

In his speech to Conservative party conference, the prime minister sounded a warning about the extent of state intervention on schemes such as furlough and said: “There comes a moment when the state must stand back and let the private sector get on with it. We must not draw the wrong economic conclusion from this crisis.”

However, last week the minister in charge of curbing Whitehall spending, Theodore Agnew, wrote a letter to senior civil servants saying the civil service had become “infantilised” by an “unacceptable” reliance on expensive management consultants.

While 1% of civil servants are paid more than £80,000 a year, day rates for management consultants working in the public sector range from about £1,000 for junior consultants to about £3,500 for partners.

Research carried out by the data provider Tussell has identified how much each of the government’s ministries has spent with eight consultancies between 2017-18 and 2019-20.

The highest-spending department on consultancies in the last financial year was the Department for Transport, which has paid out £88m, a three-year increase of 156%.

The Cabinet Office, the department from which Lord Agnew and his close political ally Michael Gove oversee civil service expenditure, has nearly trebled its spending on outside consultancies over three years to reach £37m, the analysis showed.

The Department for International Development spent £67m on management consultancies in 2019-20 while the Ministry of Defence, which has been criticised in the past for its reliance on contractors, cut expenditure on consultancies from £93m in 2017-18 to £58m this year.

Deloitte appears to be the preferred consultants for the Home Office, having received £73m out of £110m spent on external advisers since 2017-18. Although many of the Home Office contracts are related to Brexit, the biggest Deloitte contract with the department is £60m, spent on the Emergency Services Network.

PricewaterhouseCoopers was the second biggest-earning consultancy from the public purse last year, receiving £106m, according to the analysis. It has earned a total of £294m over three years. The data shows that PwC was paid £32m by the Cabinet Office over three years out of a total departmental spend on the eight consultancies of £121m.

Over that period, PwC has recruited key figures who know the Cabinet Office well, including Gavin Barwell, Theresa May’s former chief of staff, and Philip Rycroft, the former permanent secretary who held senior positions across Whitehall.

The Ministry of Defence appears to have a close relationship with KPMG, having paid the firm £76m out of a total consultancy spend of £203m between April 2017 and March 2020.

Several senior figures have left the MoD to become paid advisers to KPMG, including Air Marshal Sir Simon Bollom who left his job as chief of materiel (air) in defence equipment and support in 2016 and soon after advised the management consultancy on RAF Brize Norton. He has now returned to the MoD as the chief executive of defence equipment and support.

Over the last year, EY earned fees across Whitehall worth £75m, while KPMG was paid £57m from government departments, according to the analysis.

The other four major consultancies – PA Consulting, McKinsey, BCG and Bain & Co – signed deals worth a total of £76m last year, the analysis showed.

Management consultants are typically brought in where it is thought specialist advice or expertise is needed, but there have been longstanding concerns over the extent of their use in the public sector.

Many senior civil servants or ministers work for consultancy firms at some stage in their career, so there are often strong personal links or relationships between staff on both sides.

Cabinet Office data reported by the National Audit Office last year showed a significant drop in spending on consultants after the introduction of new controls in 2010, from almost £2bn in 2009-10 to £400m-£700m in each of the following six years.

A spokesperson for Deloitte said: “We are confident that our work adds significant value to the public sector organisations we work with.

“Deloitte works closely with the Home Office, its agencies and police forces, assisting on their largest and most complex programmes and building and delivering new technologies.”

A PwC spokesperson said the firm follows all relevant rules and regulations when employing former politicians and civil servants. “We are brought in to provide specialist skills at speed where the breadth and depth of our experience makes a positive difference. We work alongside public sector clients to help tackle complex problems and situations where our expertise is needed,” he said.

A government spokesperson said they did not recognise some of the figures in the analysis. “We continue to take considerable steps to reduce unnecessary spending and protect taxpayers’ money,” they said.

“Ministers are concerned that the government is too reliant on consultants and have written to departments to make clear that services should only be procured when external expertise is essential and represents value for money. Where possible, we want to harness the wide range of skills within the civil service.”

KPMG declined to comment. EY has been approached for comment.

Exeter Uni now in England’s top 10 covid hotspots

The University area of Exeter has leapt into the top ten of areas in England with positive cases of Covid-19 with a rise from 127 to 223 cases in today’s updated figures showing the country’s largest coronavirus clusters.

Colleen Smith www.devonlive.com

The numbers show how many confirmed cases have been found in each MSOA (Middle Super Output Areas) between Monday September 28 and Friday October 2.

Within a matter of days the number of clusters (areas with more than three positive cases) has exploded across Devon.

There are now nine clusters in Exeter, eight in Plymouth, 10 in Torbay and six in Teignbridge – others are also in North Devon, West Devon and mid Devon.

Exeter’s university area is in the Top Ten worst affected in the country

Numbers have grown since schools and university pupils have returned to campus. MP Ben Bradshaw has accused the Government of ‘forcing’ the University of Exeter to abandon its own ‘excellent’ coronavirus testing system as numbers continue to skyrocket.

The university has been using a 24-hour ‘Rapid Response’ system in conjunction with a company named Halo, which pledged to give results within 24 hours of a test.

This table shows the areas in England with the highest number of new cases up to October 2. Like Exeter many are in areas with a university campus. There was anger when hundreds of students were filmed in Exeter ignoring Coronavirus social distancing laws during Freshers week.

Today the nursery at Exeter College has shut until October 19 following a confirmed coronavirus case at the nursery at the rear of Queen Street in the city centre.

In Torbay the first coronavirus-related death in four months has been recorded as infections rise, particularly among younger people.

Director of public health Caroline Dimond reported that the elderly woman died this week – after figures were released showing no deaths in Devon and Cornwall. Ms Dimond said half of the most recent 118 cases were young people in the 15 to 39 age group.

Devon now has 40 Coronavirus (COVID-19) positive cases by Middle Super Output Area (MSOA) – and one of the top ten worst in England

Exeter

Pennsylvania & University 223

Central Exeter 55

St James’s Park & Hoopern 30

Cranbrook, Broadclyst & Stoke Canon 6

St Thomas West 4

Heavitree West & Polsloe 6

Mincinglake & Beacon Heath 5

Pinhoe & Whipton North 4

Clyst, Exton & Lympstone 9

Who wants to reimpose: “failed Soviet tractor style top-down planning targets” on us?

“……..a terrible, expensive, time-consuming way to impose house building and worst of all threatened the destruction of the green belt”.

Да, Борис!

On the eve of the parliamentary debate on planning reform and house building targets, Owl is indebted to the work and researches of EDDC planners. Their excellent brief to Councillors draws attention, amongst other things, to the contrast between Tory policy in 2010 and now.

Housing requirements

There is already a standard Government method in place for calculating housing requirements across planning authorities in England, though this does not generate a high enough level of house building to meet Government aspirations. The white paper now advises that there will be “A new nationally determined, binding housing requirement that local planning authorities would have to deliver through their Local Plans.” 

This is quite a contrast to the position of the Conservative/Liberal democrat coalition Government when in 2010 Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles stated: Communities will no longer have to endure the previous government’s failed Soviet tractor style top-down planning targets – they were a terrible, expensive, time-consuming way to impose house building and worst of all threatened the destruction of the green belt” .


For those contemplating taking part in the White Paper “Planning for the Future” consultation, which closes on October 29, Owl recommends reading the EDDC brief, to the 16 September strategic Planning Committee, pages 36 to 73. This provides a clear explanation of what lies behind the 27 questions and ideas on how to answer them from an EDDC perspective.

Some questions are not addressed such as  Q1 What three words do you associate most with the planning system in England? – A question, that in Owl’s opinion, trivialises a serious subject.

Not all questions have to be answered.

The COVID Symptom Study app and NHS COVID-19 app are different. Here’s why you need both!

covid.joinzoe.com

On September 24th the NHS COVID-19 app launched across the UK, as part of the NHS Test and Trace service and NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service.

Since then we’ve had a lot of users of our COVID Symptom Study app asking us whether they should carry on logging daily they also have the NHS COVID-19 app.

The answer is yes! We need as many people as possible to download and use the COVID Symptom Study app daily as we head into the winter. The COVID Symptom Study app is a global public science project supported by the UK government and crowd-funding, with more than 4.2 million participants providing vital health data to help researchers and the NHS understand and beat COVID-19.

The NHS COVID-19 app supports the government’s efforts to control the spread of the virus through testing and contact tracing.

COVID Symptom Study app and NHS COVID-19 app compared

COVID Symptom Study app

  • Large-scale scientific project to understand and map COVID-19, providing estimated national and local COVID-19 cases based on algorithmic prediction
  • Asks users to log daily health updates and records a wide range of symptoms
  • Triggers an invitation to book a test if people report symptoms (including but not limited to the classic three) that might be caused by COVID-19
  • Does not use your phone’s Bluetooth, GPS, location or contacts and does NOT track you as you move around
  • Does not have QR code check-in
  • Users can log on behalf of family and friends, including children and the elderly
  • Supported by the UK government and delivered by ZOE, with research led by King’s College London

NHS COVID-19 app

  • Part of the NHS Test and Trace service and NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service
  • Basic symptom checker asking about key Coronavirus symptoms including; fever, cough and loss of smell/taste to determine if eligible for a test
  • Allows eligible people (based on the three classic symptoms) to book a test through the NHS
  • Uses Bluetooth to alert users who may have been in contact with another user who has tested positive
  • Notifies users if they’ve been in ‘close contact’ with someone who then tests positive for coronavirus. The alert will not identify the individual in any way. A scientific calculation, using an “algorithm”, has been developed by scientists to work out which app users are ‘close contacts’.
  • Allows users to check in to venues using a QR code
  • Keeps track of users self-isolation countdown and gives access to relevant advice
  • Users must be over 16 and cannot use the app on behalf of others\Supported by the UK government and delivered by the NHS

Let’s take a closer look.

About the COVID Symptom Study app

The COVID Symptom Study app is a large-scale scientific research project. More than 4 million users are using the app to regularly log their health and report any new symptoms, making it the largest public science project of its kind anywhere in the world.

Data from the COVID Symptom Study app is enabling researchers to monitor the spread of COVID-19 across the UK based on user postcodes, identifying hotspots sooner than any other method. It has also provided powerful insights into the disease and its symptoms, helping to identify who is most at risk.

The COVID Symptom Study is the largest data set in the world supporting scientific investigation of “long COVID”, and is supporting trials of vaccines and medicines for the disease. We are also using the app to investigate other scientific questions, such as the role of diet, vitamins and lifestyle in COVID-19.

The COVID Symptom Study app also provides daily updates on the estimated number of COVID-19 cases in the UK and your local area. These are calculated in two ways: firstly, the number and percentage of new positive swab tests – we now have results on over a million tests; and secondly by using our computer algorithm, which can predict whether someone is likely to have COVID-19 based on their symptoms.

In addition to the three ‘classic symptoms’, the COVID Symptom Study app monitors other potentially important signs of COVID-19. This includes headache, fatigue, gastrointestinal symptoms, confusion or skin rash, which may be especially relevant in the older population as well as children.

If people report any symptoms that might be COVID-19, the COVID Symptom Study app triggers an invitation to book a test for the virus. Although we do ask users to input the results of any COVID-19 tests they have had, which are then used to inform scientific research, the COVID Symptom Study app is not directly connected to the NHS Test and Trace service.

The COVID Symptom Study app does not have any contact tracing or QR check-in facilities. It cannot access your phone’s Bluetooth, GPS, location data or contacts, does not track you as you move around, and can’t tell if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

The COVID Symptom Study app is a self-contained symptom reporting app created by doctors and scientists working in partnership with health science company ZOE. You can read more about how your data will be used, your rights and the steps we take to ensure it is protected in our privacy policy.

‍About the NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app contains several tools aimed at controlling the spread of the disease.

Firstly, the NHS COVID-19 app has a simple symptom checker, allowing users to report if they are experiencing any of the three ‘classic’ symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, and loss of smell or taste. Users reporting any of the three key symptoms are invited to book a coronavirus test through the NHS Test and Trace website. If they test positive, they will be given advice on next steps and guidance on self-isolation timelines.

The NHS COVID-19 app uses Apple/ Google API exposure notification system which allows an app to measure the distance and duration between two devices, alerting users if someone they have been in close contact with later tests positive for the virus using random unique IDs. If any of those users later test positive for coronavirus, other app users they may have been in contact with will then receive an anonymised exposure alert with advice on what to do next.

Users are also able to use the NHS COVID-19 app to check in to venues such as bars and restaurants using a QR code and can use this to keep a record of where they’ve been.

The NHS app is based on Apple & Google’s privacy-preserving technology, and any data shared within the app is held on the user’s phone. It cannot access your phone’s location data, GPS or contacts. You can read the NHS COVID-19 app privacy policy here.

Use both apps to help us all get through the pandemic

We need as many people as possible to keep using the COVID Symptom Study app to monitor their health on a daily basis and contribute to vital research into the pandemic. You can also log on behalf of family and friends who aren’t able to use the app, including children and the elderly.

We need everyone to play their part to help us all get through this. We urge you to download and use both apps to help us get through COVID-19 over the months ahead.

Conservative Party Conference: Sasha Swire’s Diaries continue to cause offence.

From the Evening Standard Oct 6

MP Halfon blasts Swire over ‘Jewish lobby’ comments

A SENIOR Tory MP has hit out at Sasha Swire’s controversial political memoir due to its references to the “Jewish lobby” in politics.

Swire, who is married to former Tory minister Hugo, caused waves last month with her book Diary of an MP’s Wife, a behind-the-scenes record of David Cameron’s government.

“Diarists are now allowed to talk about the so-called `Jewish lobby’ in Parliament with impunity with the recent book that has just come out,” Robert Halfon told a Conservative Party Conference fringe event yesterday. He chose not to name the book for fear of giving it more “publicity”.

Speaking more generally, the former education minister told The Londoner this morning: “People seem to be able to write things about the `Jewish lobby’ in a way that they would not dare with other ethnic groups. Jews are regarded as game sport.”

Halfon, who is Jewish, was speaking at a Board of Deputies of British Jews event called How Should We Be Combating Hate Online?

Swire’s book includes a reference to an “investigation into the Jewish lobby infiltrating Parliament”, and another use of the phrase.

Swire’s publisher was contacted for comment.