Beautiful Cornish beach turned brown after raw sewage pumped into sea

“South West Water admitted they had allowed sewage to be pumped into the sea, saying it was a ‘controlled release’ and they had to do this because of heavy rainfall, to stop sewage backing up into people’s homes.”

Jen Mills metro.co.uk 

The picturesque view of a popular Cornish cove turned to something much more disgusting this weekend when raw sewage was released into the ocean.

Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes usually boasts turquoise – or at least greeny blue – seas, but on Sunday the vista became almost entirely brown.

Some blue could still be seen towards the edge of the sewage slick, however, demonstrating that the colour change was not down to the sky being overcast but due to contamination of the water.

A local surfer shared footage of the grim sight with surfing magazine Carve, who posted footage online saying it was ‘Unbelievable. A dad just got out this arvo and said to his three-year-old “Best wash the sewage off…”

‘It is still stinking. No way am I surfing in that.’

Another video posted online showed brown liquid pouring out of a pipe at St Agnes, captioned ‘sh*t pouring into the sea’.

(Watch on sky news)

South West Water admitted they had allowed sewage to be pumped into the sea, saying it was a ‘controlled release’ and they had to do this because of heavy rainfall, to stop sewage backing up into people’s homes.

But they denied the brown colour was entirely due to sewage, saying they believe it was also due to ‘mud in the water dislodged by the heavy rain flowing into the area from a nearby stream and runoff from agricultural land’.

Many responded to say how saddened they were by the images, tagging in South West Water to demand they stop the practice.

One woman wrote: ‘This breaks my heart. I’ve played with my kids on this beach.’

Another said: ‘@SouthWestWater how DARE you. Can you imagine what this does to our marine life, let alone humans who choose to swim at this time of year. Shame on you. What have you got to say for yourselves?’

It comes amid growing concern about the amount of sewage being dumped in beaches in the UK. At the same time as wild swimming has been growing in popularity, the amount of sewage released into public waterways has been rising.

Water companies are banned from dumping raw, untreated sewage into our seas and rivers, but they get around it with an exception.

After heavy rainfall, they are legally allowed to release wastewater in order to stop the sewer system becoming overwhelmed.

These ‘storm overflows’ are only supposed to happen in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

But Surfers Against Sewage reports that they are occuring at an ‘alarming rate’. 

Writing in Metro.co.uk in August, former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas blamed a lack of investment in the water network, lax regulation and cuts to funding for the Environment Agency, claiming that privatised water companies had ‘utterly failed’.

She said data suggests the amount of sewage pumped into UK waterways has increased by 2,553% in the past five years. 

Surfers Against Sewage, an environmental group who monitor the waste dumping, warned that there were eight locations where sewage had been released at beaches in Cornwall this week alone: Gwithian Towans, Godrevy Towans, Trevaunance Cove, Crantock, Fistral North and Fistral South in Newquay, Mawgan Porth, and Widemouth Bay near Bude.

Their warning for Trevaunance Cove at St Agnes reads: ‘Pollution Alert: Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours.

‘Trevaunance Cove is a small sand and rock beach set in a picturesque cove surrounded by high cliffs, also home to SAS HQ! A reasonable amount of sand is exposed at low tide and it is possible to walk over the rocks to the neighbouring Trevellas, while at high tide the whole beach is covered.

‘Two sewer overflows discharge into the Trevaunance Stream, 70m and 750m upstream from the beach. Other discharges from the surrounding urban area may also affect bathing water quality especially after heavy rainfall.’

A South West Water spokesperson told Cornwall Live: ‘This year the South West has seen the dramatic changes in weather patterns presented by climate change, as demonstrated in August when the region was declared in drought. Through these changes we are now experiencing more extreme weather patterns than ever before and this year the South West saw one of the driest and hottest years on record.

‘As well as prolonged periods of extremely hot weather, we have seen heavy localised rainfall which hasn’t been able to permeate into the dry ground, meaning significant volumes run into our network, which can cause our storm overflows to trigger.

‘Following heavy, localised rainfall this morning (October 30), a permitted storm overflow triggered at Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes, Cornwall. Storm overflows are designed to release excess storm water into rivers and seas when a prolonged rainfall occurs to prevent the risk of sewage backing up and flooding homes and public spaces by allowing a controlled release.

‘We continue to increase investment in the region’s infrastructure as part of our continued commitment to protecting and enhancing the natural environment.’

But a spokesperson later told Metro.co.uk: ‘While the storm overflow at St Agnes triggered briefly on Sunday following heavy rain, this was a short duration spill and is unlikely to have caused the level of discolouration shown in the video.

‘On this occasion, we believe there were other factors which contributed to the discolouration, such as mud in the water dislodged by the heavy rain flowing into the area from a nearby stream and runoff from agricultural land.

‘We continue to increase investment in the region’s infrastructure as part of our ongoing commitment to protecting and enhancing the natural environment.’

Planning applications validated by EDDC for week beginning 17 October

NHS yet to see ‘a single penny’ of promised £500m emergency fund

Hospitals and care homes have not received a single penny of a £500m emergency fund promised by the government to prevent the NHS becoming overwhelmed this winter, the Guardian has learned.

Andrew Gregory www.theguardian.com 

Ministers announced they were injecting the cash into the health and social care system last month, to help get thousands of medically fit patients out of hospital into either their own home or a care home as soon as possible in an effort to better prepare the NHS for the coming months.

“At the moment, one of the key challenges is discharging patients from hospital into more appropriate care settings to free up beds and help improve ambulance response times,” Thérèse Coffey, the then health and social care secretary, said on 22 September. “To tackle that, I can announce today that we are launching a £500m adult social care discharge fund for this winter.”

However, the Guardian has been told that none of the funding has materialised. Senior health and social care sources described the government’s failure to release the promised cash as “inexplicable” and “outrageous”.

More than 13,000 of the 100,000 NHS hospital beds in England currently contain “delayed discharge” patients, which has led to A&E units becoming heavily congested and long delays in ambulance handovers. As a direct result, thousands of 999 patients are suffering potential “severe harm” every month because ambulances are stuck outside hospitals.

The revelation comes after Coffey, demoted to environment secretary this week by the new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, took to Twitter on Tuesday to trumpet her 50 days in charge of the NHS and social care. “Huge thanks to my great ministerial team [at the Department of Health and Social Care],” she wrote. “We achieved a lot together in seven weeks.”

The £500m adult social care discharge fund was intended to relieve pressure on hospitals by ensuring that patients whom doctors have judged well enough to leave can be safely discharged either to their home or into a care home.

Ministers said the £500m was going to help hospitals, care home operators and providers of domiciliary care services, which mainly assist frail elderly people who live at home with tasks such as eating, dressing and getting out of bed.

“The local NHS will be working with councils with targeted plans on specific care packages to support people being either in their own home or in the wider community,” Coffey said when announcing the cash injection last month. “That £500m acts as the down payment in the rebalancing of funding across health and social care as we develop our longer-term plans.”

The NHS Confederation, which represents the health and care system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, called on the new health and social care secretary, Steve Barclay, to make it an “immediate priority” to release the cash.

“Leaders across the NHS and local authorities are yet to see a single penny of this investment or any official detail on how it will be allocated,” said Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation.

“Currently, only two-fifths of patients in hospital are able to leave when they are ready to do so, including due to problems accessing social care, yet health leaders still do not know how and when the £500m will be released to the system. So close to winter, this is unbelievable.

“We have a new prime minister who health leaders hope will bring stability to the government and unblock the policy paralysis that has consumed Whitehall. Vital public services and the communities they serve are currently paying the price of this political chaos.

“Without the immediate release of the adult social care discharge fund, the prospect of a winter crisis for the NHS is extremely high and so the government really does need to act now.”

Labour MP Wes Streeting, the shadow health and social care secretary, said: “The NHS is facing the biggest crisis in its history and the chaos in the Conservative party is preventing them from fixing it.

“Even the sticking plasters promised to the NHS and care homes to get them through the winter haven’t been delivered.”

The Guardian has approached the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.

Will Boris Johnson upstage Sunak by attending Cop27?

“If we’re really saying that in the sixth richest country in the world that our Prime Minister can’t be bothered to get there because he’s busy, what about all of those prime ministers in countries that are absolutely on the front edge of the climate emergency right now?” – Caroline Lucas MP

Boris Johnson ‘planning to attend Cop27’ as criticism of Rishi Sunak climate summit snub grows.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain www.independent.co.uk 

Boris Johnson is reportedly planning to attend Cop27, as criticism of Rishi Sunak’s snub of the key climate event grows.

Downing Street confirmed this week the new Prime Minister will not be in Egypt for the summit, as he was prioritising the autumn budget instead.

That decision has been widely denounced, with claims it shows a ‘lack of leadership’ on such a significant global issue.

And now The Observer claims that Mr Johnson is planning on going instead, though in what capacity is not yet clear.

It comes just days after Mr Johnson ruled out joining the race to replace Liz Truss, abandoning a second attempt at running the country three months after he was ousted by his own MPs.

Attendance at the climate conference has been contentious, with former PM Liz Truss advising King Charles against going despite his well-known interest in environmental campaigns. Though she has since resigned, her successor Mr Sunak has upheld this advice to the new monarch.

Instead, the King will host a reception at Buckingham Palace for business leaders, NGOs and experts ahead of Cop27, it has been confirmed.

The reception is seen as a compromise between the Palace and Downing Street, allowing the King to still show his solidarity with the battle against climate crisis.

Mr Sunak, meanwhile, faces continuing criticism for his decision to miss the key event.

Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for climate change, said it was an “embarrassing reflection” of the government’s failure to deliver on its Cop26 commitments. “This is a massive failure of climate leadership,” he added.

And speaking on Sunday, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said the decision was “disgraceful”.

Asked about reports Mr Johnson could attend the summit, she told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: “I think this is probably about the first decision that Boris Johnson has made that I might support.

“If it embarrasses Rishi Sunak to reverse his disgraceful decision and actually get there himself, all and good.

“I’m not suggesting necessarily that Boris Johnson is doing it for the good of the planet, I suspect a great deal of self-promotion is going in there as well, but let’s take it, let’s have him go there.

“It is absolutely so wrong that Rishi Sunak is not going because the UK is still the holder of the Cop presidency, symbols matter.

“If we’re really saying that in the sixth richest country in the world that our Prime Minister can’t be bothered to get there because he’s busy, what about all of those prime ministers in countries that are absolutely on the front edge of the climate emergency right now?”

When asked about reports of Mr Johnson’s alleged attendance at the summit, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Government is absolutely committed to supporting COP27 and leading international action to tackle climate change and protect nature.

“The UK will be fully represented by senior ministers, including the Foreign, Business and Environment Secretaries as well as COP President Alok Sharma.

“They will be working to ensure that countries continue to make progress on the ground-breaking commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow.”

BBC local radio stations face big cuts to content made for their area

BBC local radio stations could be left with just a handful of programmes specific to their area under proposals set to be announced this week.

Bad news – Owl

Jim Waterson www.theguardian.com 

A fresh round of BBC cuts is due to be announced on Monday, with sources telling the Guardian it will herald the end of most local radio stations as truly distinctive standalone outlets.

Plans under consideration include cutting the number of weekday shows on each BBC local radio station to two, leaving just a breakfast show and a lunchtime programme. Output during the afternoons and evenings would consist of shows broadcast on multiple local stations across large swathes of the UK or nationally.

Weekend output, with the exception of sport coverage, would also be largely run on a regional basis – spelling the end for many of the unique shows now airing on local stations.

Although the BBC has trumpeted the success of its 39 English local radio stations as being at the heart of their communities – especially during the pandemic, and in a recent round of interviews with Liz Truss – they are facing two key challenges.

One is the enormous financial impact of the real-terms freeze to the licence fee and the challenge of rampant cost inflation. The other is the shift in audiences, with BBC bosses wanting to redeploy staff from radio stations with ageing, declining audiences to make content for younger, growing audiences online.

The plans would be confined to stations in England, as the devolved nations have their own teams and management structure.

Any such changes are likely to result in dozens of job losses, rounds of voluntary redundancies and presenters having to reapply for their jobs. Some well-known local hosts are likely to lose their jobs in the process or have to take up joint producer-presenter roles.

BBC bosses will set out their plans in detail this week, with staff invited to calls from Monday onwards to hear “proposals to reshape BBC England into a full multimedia service”.

A BBC spokesperson told the Guardian: “We announced back in May that we would be introducing greater programme sharing between our 39 BBC local radio stations in England. This will enable us to increase investment in local digitised services.

“We will be sharing more information on these plans very shortly – and our own staff will of course hear about any proposed changes first. Our local services are trusted by millions of people and our plans are designed to ensure we keep pace with audiences in a fast-changing world.”

The latest cuts follow previously announced plans to end regional TV news bulletins for Oxford and Cambridge.

Last month, the BBC’s director general, Tim Davie, warned MPs that the corporation was being forced to cut costs because of the decision to freeze the licence fee. Speaking to the digital, culture, media and sport committee he said: “We are under very significant pressure, due to the decision to keep the licence fee flat, which we didn’t want.”

But, he added: “We need to continue to invest and grow our local offer. I think it is an absolute key strength of the BBC.”

The BBC told the government it will face a £285m gap in its income by 2027 because of the licence fee freeze. Last month the BBC announced deep cuts to its World Service output involving the loss of about 382 jobs in an attempt to save £28.5m.

As part of the plans the corporation will stop producing radio output in 10 languages, including Chinese, Hindi and Arabic. BBC Persian will also end its audio broadcasts aimed at Iran.

There will also be a change in focus for the World Service’s English-language radio output, with more time dedicated to live news and sport programming at the expense of standalone programmes.

The latest listening figures, released last week, showed BBC radio now accounts for 46.7% of all radio listening in the UK, compared with commercial radio on 50.9%.

While the BBC continues to maintain dozens of distinct local stations at substantial cost, the big commercial groups have gone for a different strategy.

They have combined dozens of once-distinct local radio stations under national brands such as Heart and Capital, providing the bare minimum of local output to meet requirements set out by media regulator Ofcom. Despite complaints about the loss of local identities, the new outlets perform well with audiences and tend to boost listening figures.

The BBC’s existing licence fee agreement runs out at the end of 2027 and discussions are under way about what could replace it.

Michael Gove U-turns to reimpose “Stalinist” housing targets

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has said the government is still committed to a manifesto pledge of building 300,000 homes every year by the mid-2020s.

BBC News www.bbc.co.uk

Former PM Liz Truss had thrown doubt on the aim, saying she wanted to scrap “Stalinist” housing targets.

But Mr Gove – who returned to cabinet after Ms Truss’s resignation – told the BBC he wanted to build more homes, both for ownership and to rent.

He added that new developments should have the consent of local communities.

The minister also warned meeting the target would be “difficult” due to the economic circumstances.

“We need to be straight with people: the cost of materials has increased because of the problems with global supply chains and also a very tight labour market means that the capacity to build those homes at the rate we want is constrained,” he said.

Asked about Ms Truss’s past comments on housing targets, Mr Gove said: “The top-down housing targets that… Liz was referring to are part of a broader and different calculation from the 300,000 in the manifesto.

“My view is that what we do need is a fair way of allocating housing need that takes account of changes in population.”

He said new developments should be “more beautiful”, have the consent of the local community, be accompanied by the right infrastructure and protect the environment.

During the interview on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Gove also avoided saying whether the government would raise benefits in line with inflation.

He said there would be “tough decisions” but that the prime minister’s “instinct” was to help the vulnerable.

Speaking to the same programme, former Conservative Chancellor Philip Hammond – who originally set the target – said he would be “very surprised” if the government did not increase benefits in line with inflation.

Chart showing net additional dwellings since 2000

The UK is experiencing what many have described as a housing crisis, with millions living in sub-standard conditions and long waiting lists for council houses.

However, building more homes has proved a headache for Conservative prime ministers.

In 2017, then-chancellor Mr Hammond set the target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s and the party recommitted to the aim in its 2019 manifesto.

However, Boris Johnson’s efforts as prime minister to increase building by forcing local councils to accept new housing developments in certain areas had to be paused after a backlash from his own MPs, one of whom warned it would see the south of England “concreted over”.

Earlier this year, former housing secretary Robert Jenrick said the government would “miss their 300,000-homes-a-year manifesto pledge by a country mile”.

In the Conservative leadership campaign over the summer, Ms Truss hinted she would scrap the target, telling The Telegraph “I want to abolish the top-down Whitehall-inspired Stalinist housing targets – I think that’s the wrong way to generate economic growth.”

During the contest, Mr Sunak’s team also said he did not believe in arbitrary or top-down numbers for housing.

In May, Mr Gove himself appeared to cast doubt on the target.

He said the government would do all it could to meet the figure, but added that it would be “no kind of success simply to hit a target if the homes built are shoddy, in the wrong place, don’t have the infrastructure and are not contributing to beautiful communities”.

“Arithmetic is important, but so is beauty, so is belonging, so is democracy,” he had said.

However, when asked by Laura Kuenssberg if the government was still committed to the 300,000 figure, Mr Gove said: “Yes.”

He also confirmed that he would be continuing with previously announced legislation to tackle rogue landlords, saying: “These chancers are leaving people in dire circumstances.”

Last-ditch attempt in Clyst St Mary’s Winslade Park battle

From a Correspondent:

THE LAST-DITCH ATTEMPT FOR CLYST ST MARY’S WINSLADE PARK BATTLE!

Calling all East Devon oracles and wise feathered friends for much-needed advice in answering, seemingly, irresolvable questions!

Residents have had to overcome continual, stumbling blocks, submissions of erroneous information, widespread lack of empathy and immeasurable anxiety, leaving innumerable questions still unanswered – but, now, (quite rightly) the Planning Committee on 25th October 2022, recommended a site meeting to allow attendees to make a final decision on these controversial 40 four-storey towering blocks in this East Devon village (Planning Application 21/2217/MRES). However, planning protocol only allows for the elected planning attendees at the site meeting having a decision-making vote on this application – so those unable to attend the site meeting are unable to vote on the ultimate resolution!

After umpteen local objections (including from the Parish Council and District Councillor),with a recommendation of refusal from a revered planning barrister, with submissions of verifiable, explanatory documentation to create balance and defend against the Developer’s slanted opinions – is it not disrespectful that the site meeting is being planned whilst the elected Clyst Valley Ward representative is absent on a brief holiday – since he is the sole Councillor who knows the problems, solutions and Clyst St Mary village inside out? However, crucially he has objected to the flats being too tall and too near to the protected woodland, which goes against the planning officer’s recommendation of approval?

Is it reasonable to expect (even with staff shortages!) that correct, balanced information is given to a decision-making Committee? The Officer’s Report published the wrong Location Plan (instead erroneously displaying the approved Zone A site for 38 homes on a green field, that was recently granted permission for viability purposes to finance the entire Winslade Park masterplan); there were out-dated photographs, apartment heights measured without proposed increased ground levels, omissions in distances from the flats, elevated road and parking spaces to the nearest receptors’ boundaries, (preferring to exclusively provide discriminatory Developers’ data, which had been selected to compliment an approval recommendation to Committee)?

Councillors’ legitimate concerns were ‘batted away’ by the Lead Planner at the meeting, who seemed to ‘not be aware’ of proven, detrimental issues that might risk and affect the officer’s approval recommendation– we are all aware that EDDC needs to ‘bolster’ the lapsed 5-year housing quotas – but are decisions being guided at any cost to existing residents?

Do members of the public have to tolerate being in a forum of political battles, sarcasm and inappropriate comments between elected Planning Committee Members from opposing political spectrums, during their discussions on such major contentious applications, when important decisions are so critical to so many East Devon residents’ lives?

Is the planning authority concerned about staff shortages and the costs of an Appeal if they refuse this application? An Inspector’s decision may not be as ‘cut and dried’ as the Committee may be led to believe?

Should a complaint be registered for allowing a highly irregular planning committee procedure, that permitted supplementary, but unverified, new images from the Developers to be viewed by Committee, (after the Developer had already exhausted his allocated time, which gave him advantage for strengthening bias by assessing the mood of the meeting, when public objectors were only allowed an initial 3-minutes maximum restrictive ‘influential window’?

Such breaking with planning protocol, resulted in the Lead Planning Officer being subjected to the onerous task of warning Councillors that such images should not be given any credence or decision-making weight?

Will such justifiable complaints result in worsening an already bad situation for residents by ‘fuelling the fire’ of undisciplined party differences, resulting in displeasing some impartial elected attendees who might agree with the residents call for a refusal?

EDDC appears to be a local authority that does not allow members of the public to contribute at a Planning Committee site visit (even if their gardens are required for access for such visits)? On the other hand, will the Developers be present, giving them (yet another) opportunity to further promote their development alongside the planning officer’s recommendation – but without being challenged – so virtually this would be an inequitable tribunal – a one-sided argument?

Without any severe frosts, our treasured, deciduous woodland has retained its foliage! Consequently, to date, Committee attendees will be unable to view the sparse winter screening evident for 6 months of the year – but, fortunately, they have received residents’ winter photos that were lacking in the Officer Report images?

We take little comfort from an elected member’s patronising suggestions at 25th October planning meeting, that existing residents can all plant fruit trees in our gardens to screen the Developers’ 40 x four-storey development from our homes! So far, we have failed to yield any positive results when searching for tree suppliers who can provide approximately 15-metre fruit tree specimens that are capable of screening these towering flats within the limits of most of our lifetimes – and we may also require the use of an extendable cherry-picker for harvesting any fruit from such insurmountable heights!

If site attendees recommend an approval, many Clyst Valley Road homes will require the complete re-arrangement of their entire gardens, their al fresco dining, their outdoor leisure activities and, quite honestly, their entire lives – because we spend as much time outside in the gardens as indoors and (like others) our outdoor spaces are intrinsically important to us.

All we ask for is a fair, impartial planning system that is balanced and works for everyone – developers and residents alike – but we don’t see this happening with this application- and so we must continue to make our voices heard – whether we will succeed in improving this inappropriate design or fail in our final last-ditch attempt – remains to be seen!

 “Leaky Sue”: ‘delete and ignore’ email (shred before reading, safer – Owl)

Not to be confused with “Chatty Liz” and her hacked mobile.

Suella Braverman is ‘first-rate’, says Michael Gove as he is confronted with her ‘delete and ignore’ email.

Adam Forrest www.independent.co.uk 

Rishi Sunak was right to reappoint “first-rate” Suella Braverman as home secretary, said Michael Gove, confronted with an email she sent asking someone to delete a message that broke security rules.

The levelling-up secretary defended the prime minister’s controversial decision to bring Ms Braverman into cabinet only six days after she was sacked for a security breach.

Asked if the PM was right to hand her the role, Mr Gove told Sky News: “Yes. Suella is a first-rate, front-rank politician. She has acknowledged the mistake that has been made.”

The senior Tory figure added: “She is a valued member of the cabinet, and someone whom I admire a lot,” later telling the BBC that the prime minister thought “she deserves a second chance”.

Ms Braverman has claimed that she told top government officials about her mistake after sharing a sensitive government document via her personal email.

Appearing on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Gove was confronted with a leaked email showing that Ms Braverman had asked a recipient to “delete the message and ignore” at around 10am, hours before officials were eventually told at midday.

Mr Gove said the request to ignore and delete the email was “standard practice” and would be “quite proper” – going on to claim that Ms Braverman was “absolutely” a politician of integrity.

He added: “I am satisfied, more than satisfied, that in resigning, accepting responsibility, apologising, and then in being assured by the cabinet secretary and the prime minister that Suella coming back into office was the right thing, that Suella is now in a position to do the work that she is dedicated to doing.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, said the “delete and ignore” email “adds to the serious list of questions we have about this reckless reappointment of Suella Braverman”.

She told Laura Kuenssberg: “There was obviously the initial breach of the ministerial code, the security lapses involved, but now questions about whether she gave an accurate description of what happened.”

Mr Gove also denied that Ms Braverman had rejected legal advice from top officials on overcrowding at an asylum processing centre in Manston in Kent and the need to transfer people to hotels.

The home secretary was advised weeks ago that migrants were being held for unlawfully long periods at the centre because of the failure to transfer them, multiple sources told The Sunday Times.

Charities told The Independent that asylum seekers were held at the facility for several weeks when it was intended to hold people only for 24 hours, with outbreaks of diphtheria and scabies reported amid the “inhumane” conditions.

“The situation at Manston is not what it should be,” Mr Gove told Sophy Ridge on Sunday. “But it’s important to stress that the home secretary did not ignore or dismiss legal advice. The home secretary was balancing a number of competing imperatives.”

Asked if conditions were “humane”, the minister said: “Yes… We want people to be in appropriate accommodation as quickly as possible. The situation is not perfect, everyone acknowledges that. We have more than 2,000 people there at the moment.”

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to publish the legal advice reportedly ignored by Ms Braverman that the government has been illegally detaining thousands of asylum seekers.

Andy Baxter from Prison Officers’ Association, who represents staff at Manston processing centre, said Ms Braverman should resign over the issue, telling LBC Radio conditions at the overcrowded facility were “Dickensian”.

Former Home Office adviser Claire Pearsall told LBC she did not think Ms Braverman could survive the week, given the gravity of the Manston-related accusations. “I don’t see how she can stay in position if legal advice is being ignored on something as serious as this.”

Former Tory chancellor George Osborne said No 10 had already calculated and accepted that Ms Braverman would “blow up” as she continues faces flak over her security breach and handling of aslyum seekers.

He told Channel 4’s The Andrew Neil Show: “I think they probably made a calculation in Downing Street that she’s going to blow up – and that’s fine by them because, you know, she’s no fan of theirs and they’re no fan of hers.”

Meanwhile, Mr Gove admitted that the Conservatives owed the public an apology for installing Ms Truss as leader, calling her tax cuts “a holiday from reality”.

The levelling-up secretary said Mr Sunak had been “vindicated’ on the big economic matters after Ms Truss took a “wrong turn” on unfunded tax cuts.

Finance, property and mining: the money behind Sunak’s £460,000 leadership bid

Rishi Sunak’s Conservative party leadership bid was bankrolled to the tune of almost £500,000 by City figures including a multibillionaire hedge fund manager, a spread betting tycoon, and intriguingly, a close friend and policy adviser who masterminded his campaign.

Rupert Neate www.theguardian.com

Sunak, 42, who together with this heiress wife has a £730m fortune, received a total of £458,570 in donations as well as gifted office space and the use of a private jet for his failed – but then eventually successful – bid to lead the Conservative party and become prime minister.

He received more money than any of the other contenders in the race, ahead of Liz Truss who collected £424,000, and in excess of the £300,000 spending limit put in place by the Conservative party.

Chris Rea, industrialist

Sunak’s single biggest backer was Chris Rea, a little-known Northern Irish businessman. Rea, who runs the manufacturing company Aesseal, donated £100,000 according to the register of members’ interests. He gave £50,000 on 28 July, followed by another £50,000 on 9 August.

Rea, who has been confused by some with the Road to Hell rocker, has been a long-time donor to the Conservatives including £25,000 in 2008 and £100,000 during the 2010 election campaign.

Rea told the Guardian that he chose to donate to Sunak because he was “horrified at the prospect of Liz Truss actually implementing her promises as I am numerate and it was clear to me that it would be bad for the UK”.

He said Sunak did not solicit the donation, but he did call him and invite him to a “thank you dinner in London” after Sunak lost initially to Truss.

Rea insisted there had not been and “never will be any conversations about any policies that will benefit me personally or Aesseal”.

“Frankly neither I nor the business need any help, and I and we are more concerned about what we can give to society than what society can do for us,” he added.

Michael Farmer, ‘Mr Copper’ hedge fund manager

Michael Farmer, a former Tory party treasurer, prominent Brexiter, hedge fund boss and metals trading multimillionaire known as “Mr Copper”, donated £38,470 including, as Sunak described it, “use of a plane during my campaign for leadership of the Conservative party”, a gift in kind valued at £23,470.

Farmer, 77, who made most of his estimated £150m via his Red Kite group of hedge funds, is one of the largest donors to the Conservatives, giving at least £6m over past last 10 years. He was Tory party’s co-treasurer from 2011-2015 and made a life peer in 2014.

Farmer, one of the world’s most influential commodity hedge fund traders, donated £300,000 to the Vote Leave campaign in 2017 and said Brexit would be a “bright new beginning” for Britain. He also donated £100,000 in 2011 to the No to AV campaign, which opposed replacing first-past-the-post voting with a transferable vote system.

He was an early public backer of Sunak, saying in July that the now prime minister was “a serious man” and said his plan to apply fiscal “discipline now and allowing some generosity later is the right way to handle the current economic difficulties”.

Farmer, who campaigns for “a culture that values family life” and became a Christian “literally overnight when he was 35”, shot to public attention in 2013 when it was revealed he had paid for his son George to join Oxford University’s notorious Bullingdon club, the male-only dining club that David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson attended.

George Farmer is now chief executive of Parler, the rightwing social media app that Kayne West – who changed his name to Ye last year – has said he is buying after he was blocked by Twitter for making antisemitic posts.

George is married to Candace Owens, the outspoken US rightwing political pundit. They tied the knot at the Trump Winery in Virginia in 2019 with a string of famous US and UK rightwing guests including the former UK Independence party leader Nigel Farage. George stood unsuccessfully for Ukip in the 1999 European parliament elections.

Nick Leslau, property developer

The second-largest donation came from Yoginvest Ltd, a company controlled by the multimillionaire property investor Nick Leslau, which donated £50,000. Leslau, who is estimated by the Sunday Times rich list to have a fortune of about £400m, owns big stakes in Alton Towers, Warwick Castle and Thorpe Park.

Leslau, who donated £20,000 to the Conservatives through Yoginvest in 2019, said in 2020 he would not give any more money to the Tories after the government banned commercial landlords from evicting shop and restaurant tenants struggling during lockdowns. “I think the flippancy with which the property industry has been treated has been narrow-minded,” he told the Times.

Mick Davis, mining tycoon

Sir Mick Davis, also a former Tory party treasurer and ex-boss of the mining company Xstrata, gave Sunak £25,000, and said last week any MP backing Johnson’s bid to return to No 10 was “delusional”. Davis has donated almost £6m to the Conservatives over the years. In 2011 he was revealed to be one of the people funding the jetset lifestyle of Adam Werritty, a friend of the former minister Liam Fox whowho posed as an official adviser in a scandal that let to Fox’s resignation.

Will Harris, PR boss

Office space in a Grade II-listed building near Westminster, worth £3,195, for advisers running his campaign was provided by Bridge Consulting Ltd, the home of PR firm Bridge F61. The firm, which has boasted on its website “We can make you rich, we can make you famous”, was co-founded by the the Tory marketing guru Will Harris, part of the team that devised the slogan “The future’s bright, the future’s Orange” for the mobile phone firm.

Harris, who says he campaigned for Michael Howard in 2003, the year he became leader of the Tory party, boasts on his website that working for political clients is akin to a “frantic T20 Blast”. “Despite a shared love of Jaffa Cakes and cans of Coke Zero, business campaigners rarely start their day at 5.45am with the morning media briefing, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.”

Eleanor Shawcross, political adviser

Another £20,000 came in from Eleanor Shawcross, a policy adviser who helped run the campaign from the headquarters in Dean Trench Street. She is expected to be rewarded with the job of head of the No 10 policy unit or possibly chief of staff.

She was among the staff who lined up to welcome the new prime minister as he walked through the door of Downing Street on his first day in the role.

Her donation was made in the name Eleanor Wolfson. She is married to Simon Wolfson, the chief executive of the clothing chain Next, who has given hundreds of thousands to the Tories, and was granted a peerage in 2010.

She is the daughter of William Shawcross, who has written several books on the royal family and former chair of the Charity Commission, and is a non-executive director at the Department for Work and Pensions and was deputy chief of staff to George Osborne when he was chancellor.

She met Lord Wolfson, who is 14 years her senior, while working for Osborne. The couple married in 2012 and have two children, one of whom was born prematurely and spent weeks in neonatal intensive care – she is on the board of the Winncott Foundation, which works to improve neonatal care.

Shawcross previously worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Blavatnik school of government at the University of Oxford.

Michael Spencer, financial entrepreneur

Michael Spencer, the billionaire founder of the broker Icap, donated £25,000. However, the long-term Conservative backer who has given more than £5m to the party and as treasurer from 2006-2010, initially backed Penny Mordaunt with a £25,000 donation. The day after she was eliminated he donated to Sunak, and then later when Truss appeared to be winning he donated the same amount to her campaign.

In her first days in office he praised her as “one of the most pro-business” leaders the country has ever had.