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More than eight in ten want Truss to win – new poll reveals

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LIZ Truss is the overwhelming choice to become the next Prime Minister, a new poll reveals.

In what will be regarded as a blow to Rishi Sunak, 83 per cent of those polled said they’d rather see Ms Truss in Number 10.

The survey of 2,625 voters was carried out by GB News and is the latest boost to Ms Truss’ campaign which has been gaining momentum ever since her ill-tempered TV debate with the former Chancellor.

Of those polled by the channel just 17 per cent – less than ome in five opted for the former Chancellor.

Many of those polled said it was Ms Truss’ pledges on tax and the fact she hadn’t walked out of her Cabinet post that were among the reasons they wanted her to become leader.

Sunak, meanwhile, was described by many as having “betrayed” the PM.

Earlier today Ms Truss told GB News how she had no intention of wasting her time on wallpaper if she got to Number 10.

The Foreign Secretary said there was work to do while also admitting she enjoys winding down by listening to 80’s music and singing karaoke.

She said yesterday: “We’re now going to campaign in the country, I’m very much looking forward to that and putting my case across that we need a bold new economic policy, we need to take full advantage of all the opportunities of Brexit.

“We need to cut taxes and we need to deliver for all the people right across the United Kingdom.”

She added: “What people rise across Britain care about is how we are going to help them with the cost of living, how we’re going to unleash opportunity and I’m somebody who can get things done in government.

“I’ve shown that I’m willing to push things through Whitehall and that’s why we need to cut taxes.

“We shouldn’t raise national insurance in the first place. We need to cut it now, we need a moratorium on the green energy levy to cut people’s fuel bills.

“And we need to power recovery by attracting investment, getting new businesses to set up so if we carry on with our current economic policy that is currently projected to lead to a recession that will not put us in a good place to win the election.

“I’m somebody who can get things done, get the economy growing, put us on a positive footing, but I can also relate to people right across the country.

“I grew up in Paisley, Leeds. I went to a comprehensive school. I understand the struggles people are facing now and I’m the candidate who can really communicate how we are going to change things and turn things around in Britain.”

Asked why she has supported 15 tax rises in the past, she said: “I opposed that in Cabinet at the time.

“I said it was a bad idea at the time but I’m a loyal person. I respect cabinet collective responsibility.

“Once the decision had been made, I was obliged to respect that decision but I’ve always been clear. It was a mistake, breaking our manifesto commitment and putting up taxes. And I would never have done that…”

Ms Truss was asked how she could reconcile cutting taxes with improving public service and she said: “I’m very committed to building the 40 new hospitals we promised and continuing to fund the NHS and education to get economic growth up.

“The fact is we’ve had low economic growth for two decades. And what that means is a lack of opportunities, lack of new jobs or lack of new businesses.

“By reducing taxes and by taking the full advantage of all the opportunities of Brexit, we can get economic growth going and for me economic growth isn’t just numbers on a page, it is about a new job, a new business, making sure the towns and cities across the country that we promised levelling up to get those spades in the ground, they get those new projects going.

“That is what we can deliver. If we unleash economic growth, if we get rid of a lot of the bureaucracy and the red tape that’s still on our statute books from the EU.

“So as well as doing those tax cuts, I would have a programme of massive reforms to our economy to get our growth rate up, that will fund our public services in the future.”

She was asked about the wallpaper in Number 10 and a fact that people would not know about her.

She said: “Believe me, I’m not going to have time to be thinking about the wallpaper in Number 10 because we’ve only got two years until a general election.

“We need to hit the ground running. We need to get on with changing our economy to really deliver for people right across the country. I’m not going to be thinking about wallpaper.

“I think maybe the one thing people don’t know about me is I do love 1980’s music and I do love karaoke.

“I like to enjoy music as well. My favourite song is I Want To Dance by Whitney Houston.”

Charity

RSPCA reveal 160 animal cruelty reports in Pembrokeshire

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THE LATEST figures from RSPCA Cymru reveal a troubling increase in animal cruelty cases, with 160 incidents reported in Pembrokeshire alone this year. This alarming statistic is part of a broader surge in cruelty reports across Wales, where 3,059 cases have been recorded from January to June 2024.

Pembrokeshire’s figures contribute to a national concern, as RSPCA Cymru braces for a busy summer following a 2% rise in cruelty reports across England and Wales. Last year, intentional harm and beatings of animals rose sharply during the summer months, and this year seems poised to follow the same distressing trend.

The cruelty figures in Pembrokeshire place it among the top counties in Wales for reported abuse. Rhondda Cynon Taf leads with 266 reports, followed by Cardiff with 255, Swansea with 237, Carmarthenshire with 189, and Caerphilly with 186.

Karen Colman, head of the RSPCA welfare oversight team, highlighted the concerning rise in cruelty reports: “Sadly, animal cruelty reports are on the rise this year – and across Wales, we’ve seen more than 3,000 animal cruelty reports already this year.”

One particularly disturbing case in Pembrokeshire involved a hedgehog found with an air gun injury in Haverfordwest. Ginny Batt, who runs the Pembrokeshire Hogspital, responded to a call about the injured animal. The hedgehog, wandering during the day, was found with a pellet wound near its neck and shoulder. Despite efforts to save it, the animal had to be euthanised due to the severity of its injuries.

Batt said, “The pellet missed his head and caught the shoulder. There was no bone injury, but the impact had dislocated his shoulder.”

In response to the rising cruelty cases, the RSPCA has launched its ‘No Animal Deserves Cruelty’ summer appeal. The charity is seeking public support to fund rescue operations and care for abused animals during the peak summer period.

“Summer is a really challenging time for us – and we’re braced for another busy season on the frontline, but we cannot do this alone,” added Colman.

The RSPCA is also advocating for tighter controls and better education regarding air guns. The organisation calls for mandatory basic safety training for anyone purchasing an air gun to prevent wildlife from being targeted.

Among the many animals rescued from cruelty, Loki’s story stands out. The puppy was found covered in bruises and fractures, but after being rescued and rehabilitated by the RSPCA, he now lives happily in a new home. RSPCA Inspector Zoe Ballard, who rescued Loki, recently reunited with the transformed dog, expressing her joy: “Seeing him today, there is a twinkle in his eye. So different from that little puppy I met that first day.”

As the RSPCA marks its 200th anniversary, it underscores the ongoing need for vigilance and support to combat animal cruelty. The charity’s summer appeal aims to raise the necessary funds to rescue and rehabilitate animals facing abuse.

For more information on the RSPCA’s No Animal Deserves Cruelty Appeal, visit the charity’s website.

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Crime

Woman gets payout after boss coughs in her face

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Kevin Davies, the father of British Lions and Wales rugby star Gareth Davies, has been ordered to pay more than £26,000 to a female employee for deliberately coughing in her face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A tribunal heard that Davies, 62, aimed to “ridicule and intimidate” the woman, who had expressed concerns over her health due to psoriatic arthritis and an autoimmune condition. The incident occurred in the days leading up to the first lockdown in March 2020 at Cawdor Cars, a business where Davies holds significant involvement.

The employment tribunal, presided over by Judge Tobias Vincent Ryan, heard that the woman had requested colleagues to maintain social distance, in line with official recommendations, due to her vulnerable health status. However, Davies mocked her concerns, intentionally coughing in her direction while commenting that she was “being ridiculous.”

The tribunal was informed that the woman, employed at Cawdor Cars between 2017 and 2020, was earning £11 per hour. In addition to car sales, Cawdor Cars has a property rental section where she worked as a property manager overseeing a portfolio including hotels and housing developments.

Judge Ryan condemned Davies’ actions as “gross behaviour,” noting that other members of the firm’s management team, who witnessed the incident, gave evidence that was perceived as defensive and not entirely straightforward. The woman vehemently complained about the incident and resigned from the business in Newcastle Emlyn, Ceredigion, less than three months later.

Judge Ryan stated, “She resigned at least in part because she was victimised; this was a major and significant factor in her decision. She felt that she was being eased out partly because of her complaints. She was correct.”

The tribunal awarded the woman £26,438.84 in total compensation. This includes £18,000 for injury to feelings, £3,841.94 for unfair dismissal, and £4,596.90 in accumulated interest. Cawdor Cars has been ordered to pay the bulk of the damages, with Davies personally liable for the remainder.

Following the hearing, the woman described the impact of Davies’ conduct on her mental health, stating, “I was left a nervous wreck. He knew of my medical condition and that I had no immune protection because of the medication I had to take, and he deliberately coughed in my face. I was shaking. I’m not a silly, fluffy person; I’ve had to put up with a lot in my life, but it really got me.”

This ruling highlights the seriousness with which the tribunal viewed the deliberate intimidation and ridicule of an employee during the pandemic, particularly one with known health vulnerabilities.

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Crime

Ex-mayor gets suspended sentence for child images offences

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A FORMER mayor of Pembroke Dock has been given a suspended jail sentence for the possession and distribution of indecent images of children.

Terry Judkins, 55, from Bush Street, was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court after he admitted the charges.

Judkins pleaded guilty to two offences involving Category C images and possessing a prohibited image of a child between September 2018 and August 2021.

He also admitted making and distributing Category A images of the children, Category A being the most serious classification of indecent images.

The court was informed that 11 unique images had been duplicated numerous times across two digital devices and that 10 of the images in question were of a 17-year old known to Judkins.

Judkin’s defence barrister, David Maunder, told told the court the majority of the imagery involving the 17-year old was “enthusiastically consensual”.

It is a criminal offence to share indecent images of a person under the age of 18.

The other image involved teenage boys aged between 10 and 13 years.

Mr Maunder told the judge that the court was “not dealing with evidence of someone who is a committed pedophile”, however, Judkins had “dipped his toe into this kind of behavior, which he deeply regrets now”.

He added that the Judkins was of “positive good character” and he had subsequently suffered “shame and embarrassment” as a result of the offences.

Judge Catherine Richards informed Judkins that the nature of his case stood in “contrast with the positive reputation you gained”.

She continued that there “was no evidence” that there was large amounts of material associated with young boys other than the the Category A images of the 10-13 year old boys that Judkins possessed.

Richards said Judkins had distributed two images of a 17-year-old and stated that the law was “in place to protect young people.”

Judkins was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, deciding to give a Judkins a suspended sentence for two years for distributing indecent images.

The former mayor was also given a further six-month sentence, suspended two years, for making indecent images.

Both of the the devices used by Judkins, a computer and a mobile phone are now subject to forfeiture and destruction orders.

Judkins will also be required to attend a programme for people with convictions for downloading indecent images of children and will have his name added to the sex offenders register for 10 years.

He will return to court at a later date to confirm whether he will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order.

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