Archive for March, 2012
Downsizing: Francis Maude and wife Christina have put their sprawling home on the market
With its elegantly landscaped gardens, butler’s pantry and tennis court, there is certainly plenty of space on this 12-acre estate to store a spare jerry can or two.
This is the £1.5 million country pile being sold by Tory minister Francis Maude, who sparked panic last week by urging motorists to hoard petrol to avoid running out – and instead prematurely ensured the fuel pumps ran dry.
Queues formed at petrol stations and ‘No Fuel Left’ signs went up as worried drivers followed Government advice to keep their tanks topped up after a strike vote by tanker drivers.
Mr Maude weighed in with the message that keeping ‘extra fuel in a jerry can’ would be a ‘sensible precaution’.
But after the fire service responded to the suggestion with anger and astonishment his advice was overturned, leading to calls for him to resign.
The millionaire MP put his sprawling country property on the market apparently after realising his new neighbours were glamour model Katie Price – formerly known as Jordan – and Grammy Award-winning singer Adele.
Mr Maude’s nine-bedroom mansion, said to be a fine example of late Arts and Crafts architecture, has been up for sale for the last couple of months.
It has been claimed that the millionaire MP and his wife Christina are keen to down-size now that their five children have flown the nest.
After all, it must take a lot of work to maintain the extensive property, which also boasts a game larder, separate lavatory for the gardener, an orchard and an eight-acre paddock with sweeping views of the South Downs.
But it may not be a coincidence that Ms Price, 33, paid £2.5 million in 2010 for a property which happens to share a substantial border with the Maudes’ home.
The reality television star moved in last July following her split with cage fighter Alex Reid.
Locals in the sleepy hamlet of Dial Post, West Sussex, say the arrival of Ms Price has ‘lowered the tone’, with her gaudy pink Land Rover causing particular irritation – quite apart from the constant presence of camera crews.
Meanwhile, London-born Adele has been renting a £7million, ten-bedroom former convent a couple of miles from the Maude family home. She moved in earlier this year.
The singer, 24, who swept the boards on both sides of the Atlantic at the recent Grammys and the BRIT Awards, has claimed the mansion – which is set in 25 acres of grounds and has a helicopter landing pad – might be haunted.
Luxury lifestyle: The extensive country pile boasts a game larder, separate lavatory for the gardener, an orchard and an eight-acre paddock with sweeping views of the South Downs
The picturesque area has long attracted wealthy families seeking extensive country properties because it has good transport links into central London.
But it has also recently become popular with celebrities keen to escape the city and enjoy the privacy of a country retreat.
Mr Maude, 58, a former director of investment bank Salomon Brothers, bought his home in 1996 for £342,500 and stands to make a substantial profit of nearly £1.2million from the sale.
It is built in the local ‘Wealden’ style, according to the estate agents, and made of oak, iron and clay.
The reception rooms are described as ‘elegant, yet homely’ and there is an ‘impressive staircase’ that leads to a galleried upper landing.
Neighbours: Top left, Mr Maude's lavish home and grounds and, bottom left, the mansion that has recently been bought by glamour model Katie Price, right
All the bedrooms have stunning views of the surrounding countryside, although the master bedroom is said to enjoy the most spectacular outlook.
There is the requisite oil-fired Aga in the kitchen, which has plenty of room for ‘informal meals’, many storerooms throughout the house – perfect for storing the occasional fuel container – and five boxes for horses adjacent to the paddock Mr Maude was originally refused permission to claim expenses on the mortgage in 2004 because his country home was classed as his main residence.
He later bought a flat in Kennington, South London, on which he successfully re-claimed £35,000 worth of mortgage interest payments on expenses.
Mr Maude is currently Cabinet Office Minister with responsibilities for crisis management, and Paymaster General.
His father, Angus Maude, served as Paymaster General in Mrs Thatcher’s Government.
Asked about the sale of the Maude family home yesterday, a spokesman for Mr Maude said that he had never employed a butler or a gardener, and that he did not need a butler’s pantry or gardener’s lavatory.
He added that the family used the game larder for general storage purposes.
‘Mr Maude and his wife are downsizing now their five grownup children are leaving home, and are seeking a smaller property,’ the spokesman said.
Red Len’s right-hand man... the hardline ‘Member for N Korea’
By GLEN OWEN
Extreme views: Andrew Murray, a Communist party member who has paid tribute to Stalin, is a key figure in the union threatening a fuel strike
An activist with hardline Communist views is a key figure in the union threatening to paralyse Britain in a fuel strike.
Andrew Murray, right-hand man to Unite leader ‘Red Len’ McCluskey, is a Communist party member who has paid public tribute to Stalin.
He is nicknamed the ‘Member for Korea North’ for expressing solidarity with the totalitarian Asian regime.
Mr Murray is Unite’s Chief of Staff. The union is threatening to call a strike by its tanker driver members in a dispute over pay and conditions.
In comments that have only just come to light, Mr Murray justified attacks on police in last summer’s riots and was sympathetic to the actions of suicide bombers.
A video passed to The Mail on Sunday shows Mr Murray addressing a rally of the Coalition of Resistance, a Left-wing group formed to protest against the Government’s spending cuts.
In the speech made last August before the riots had been quelled, he dismisses claims that the disturbances were led by criminals in search of loot.
He said: ‘They don’t attack police stations to get a pair of trainers or a plasma TV. They do it because they are angry about the police,’ adding that violence happens ‘because of class’ and ‘because of power in our society’.
The militant also spoke of the 7/7 London suicide bombers, saying: ‘I have always taken the view that if people commit a crime like blowing themselves up on the Tube – if they say it’s because of what we are doing in Iraq – it probably is because of what we are doing in Iraq.’
Mr Murray, who is said to be ‘extremely bright’, previously worked for the Soviet Novosti news agency. On the 120th anniversary of Stalin’s birth in 1999, he said the dictator’s murderous policies were merely ‘harsh measures’.
Union colleagues say that Mr Murray believes former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ‘sold out’ by dismantling communist rule; and he is said to have called the pulling down of the Berlin Wall a ‘fatal mistake’.
In 2003, he spoke of the British Communist party’s ‘basic position of solidarity’ with North Korea.
The revelations will prove a great embarrassment to Ed Miliband. Unite, which has 1.8?million members, has given Labour £20?million in the past five years. Its backing helped to ensure Mr Miliband beat brother David to the party leadership.
Unite leader Mr McCluskey, 61, is said to be the most militant union leader since Arthur Scargill and has threatened to return Britain to the industrial strife of the Seventies.
A Unite spokeswoman said last night: ‘Mr Murray helps the union operate on a day-to-day basis. He has nothing to do with the tanker dispute.
‘Mr Murray’s remarks were made in his own capacity.’
Fuel panic may be good, said PM
By SIMON WALTERS and GLEN OWEN
'Resilience': David Cameron is determined not to be 'held to ransom' by striking tanker drivers
David Cameron told shocked Ministers ‘a bit of petrol panic may be no bad thing’ as he set out his determination to defeat the threatened strike by fuel-tanker drivers.
According to senior sources, his provocative remark was made at the end of a Cabinet meeting last Tuesday that was dominated by the dispute.
Mr Cameron told Ministers that he refused to be ‘held to ransom’ by Unite, the union leading the strike call.
Asked if the Prime Minister had said ‘a bit of petrol panic may be no bad thing’, a Downing Street spokesman initially said he had ‘no recollection’ of any such remark, before denying the comment was made.
However, Cabinet sources told The Mail on Sunday Mr Cameron did make the comment.
In a powerful rallying cry to Ministers, Mr Cameron said it was vital to build up the nation’s ‘resilience’ to a walkout by tanker drivers. Measures included training more Army drivers to replace tanker drivers and finding other ways of keeping petrol stations open.
It was after hearing Mr Cameron’s powerful intervention that Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, one of his closest allies who is tasked with leading the contingency plans, issued his notorious call to the public to fill jerry cans with petrol as well as topping up their cars.
Within hours, his advice had been overturned after the Fire Brigade raised concerns about health and safety implications.
By Wednesday, the panic anticipated by Mr Cameron and his team became reality as millions of motorists rushed to fill up.
But the Government went into reverse gear yesterday, telling drivers not to fill up their cars.
The U-turn came after union leaders said there would be no strike before Easter. Conciliation service ACAS will tomorrow host talks between the union and the fuel distribution companies in an attempt to resolve the deadlock over working conditions.
- A mother who suffered 40 per cent burns to her body while decanting petrol in her kitchen was being kept in a medically induced coma last night. Diane Hill was ‘critical but stable’ at Pinderfield Hospital in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, where she has had skin grafts. The 46-year-old from York was pouring fuel into a jug to top up her daughter’s car when vapours were ignited by fumes from the gas hob on which she was cooking.
She was recently named Foxy Bingo's Celebrity Mum of the Year, so it may come as a surprise that Katie Price's boyfriend is said to have been cautioned by police recently.
Leandro Penna was given the warning after he allegedly threw a champagne bucket at a female while on a night out with 33-year-old Katie.
According to the Sunday Mirror, Leandro became agitated with a group of party-goers after one of them harrassed his girlfriend and the argument ended with Chevonne Taylor being struck.
Cautioned: Leandro Penna allegedly received a warning from police following a night out with Katie Price where he threw a champagne bucket at a female
The 30-year-old was enjoying a night out at Brighton club Madame Geisha, when one of the party spotted Price sitting in the booth next to them.
'One of our group, Yasmin, went over to try and get a picture taken with her,' Chevonne explained. 'Katie didn't want to talk to her, but Yasmin's only 18 and is a huge fan so she kept asking.'
Following this a dispute broke out and Chevonne claims that her friend was arguing with Katie's group after one of them claimed a glass had been thrown at them.
However, Chevonne said this was 'rubbish,' and instead a glass was thrown in their direction hitting one of her friends on the head.
'She was really upset so I went over and demanded to know who'd thrown it,' she said. 'I noticed Mr Penna, although I didn't know who he was then.
Night out: The incident is said to have occurred at Madame Geisha in Brighton
'He was staring at me and shouting aggressively. One of my friends tapped me on the shoulder. I looked round and felt a painful bang on the back of my head. I saw the ice bucket bounce off me and smack Lisa in the face.'
Being the bride-to-be, Lisa was in tears according to Chevonne, as she was worried her face would be bruised for her big day.
The brunette reported the incident to the police and is now considering a civil case against Leandro.
'I want him to realise that he can't behave like that,' she added.
While a source close to Katie has claimed that the former glamour model was in another part of the club at the time of the alleged incident, Sussex Police have confirmed that they did investigate 'an allegation of assault' at the bar and 'have cautioned a 26-year-old man for common assault.'
The MailOnline is awaiting comment from Katie's spokesperson.
Katie names Peter, her ex-manager Claire Powell, CAN Associates Ltd and old friend Jamelah Asmar in papers filed at the High Court
Papers filed: Katie Price
She divorced her second husband Alex Reid this week, but yesterday Katie Price started legal proceedings against her first, Peter Andre.
The model is suing her ex, alleging that he misused personal information about her.
Katie, 33, names Peter, 37, her ex-manager Claire Powell, CAN Associates Ltd and old friend Jamelah Asmar in papers filed at the High Court over a breach of confidence.
She also wants an injunction.
They way they were: Katie and Peter in 2009
A source said: “Katie has been trying to reach an agreement but it hasn’t happened amicably, so she has gone to the courts instead.
"She’s frustrated, but she hopes that they can all reconcile their problems soon.”
In 2011 Katie – now dating Leandro Penna again – paid an undisclosed sum to Peter and apologised after he sued her for defamation.
Her spokesman confirmed she was taking action.
Tweets sent by Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand as part of a Snickers campaign have been cleared of breaching advertising codes.
Following complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated a series of postings on the social networking site sent by the two celebrities in January.
In its first investigation involving Twitter, the ASA dismissed the objections and ruled the two series of tweets did not breach industry codes.
Ferdinand and Price both posted five tweets in the space of an hour as part of the marketing campaign by Mars, the makers of Snickers.
We considered the combination of those elements was sufficient to make clear the tweets were advertising and that consumers would then understand each series of tweets was a marketing communication.
Advertising Standards Authority
The first tweet from Manchester United player, Rio Ferdinand, read: “Really getting into the knitting!!! Helps me relax after high-pressure world of the Premiership.”
In further postings, he added: “Can’t wait 2 get home from training and finish that cardigan”; “Just popping out 2 get more wool!!!”; “Cardy finished. Now 4 the matching mittens!!!”
A fifth tweet read: “You’re not you when you’re hungry @snickersUk£hungry£spon”.
Attached to the final tweet was a picture of the footballer holding a Snickers bar.
Price’s tweets followed a similar pattern except the former glamour model posted comments on the economy and eurozone crisis.
One read: “OMG!! Eurozone debt problems can only properly be solved by true fiscal union!!! £comeonguys.”
The final posting had the same tagline Ferdinand’s and showed the mother-of-three holding a Snickers bar.
Ferdinand’s final tweet included a picture of him with a Snickers bar
Mars told the ASA that in each case the fifth tweet stated “£spon” to indicate the content was “sponsored”.
“They said the fifth tweets were the only ones that featured the product and were therefore the only marketing communications involved,” the ASA said.
While the watchdog disagreed, insisting that each tweet formed part of an “orchestrated advertising campaign”, it accepted Mars’ use of Twitter.
It said: “We noted the first four tweets in each series served as ‘teasers’, which, due to their nature, were likely to generate additional interest in the celebrities’ postings.
“We also noted those tweets did not make any reference to Snickers or to Mars and were posted in relatively quick succession.
“In addition, we noted that the fifth ‘reveal’ tweets showed the celebrities with the product and included the text “You’re not you when you’re hungry @snickersUk £hungry £spon”.
“We considered the combination of those elements was sufficient to make clear the tweets were advertising and that consumers would then understand each series of tweets was a marketing communication.”
The watchdog ruled it was “acceptable” that the first four tweets were not individually labelled as being part of the marketing campaign.
The regulator will take no further action
STANDING with Katie Price in a matching black catsuit, Amy Willerton faced a barrage of flashbulbs and savoured the moment she’d dreamed about.
The 19-year-old wannabe had just beaten 10,000 others to be crowned winner of Katie’s reality TV show, aimed at finding Britain’s hottest young model.
The prize included a modelling contract, mentoring from Katie, a front page on OK! magazine, the keys to a Range Rover like Katie’s for a year and a luxury holiday in the Maldives.
Little wonder Amy was smiling so happily as the cameras captured mentor and protege in identical outfits. But now, just a few weeks later, her joy has turned to bitterness. In an exclusive interview, Amy says winning Sky Living’s Signed By Katie has turned her life upside down… for the worse.
She claims that after the TV show flopped badly – one episode won just 130,000 viewers – many of the promises were broken.
And, despite Katie’s management team insisting that they were working tirelessly to make her famous Amy has now refused to sign a contract with the star’s modelling company.
That snub has left Katie, 33, fuming and she’s vowed never to work with Amy again, saying people think she’s an “arrogant, stuck-up fake”.
“I never expected overnight fame,” Amy said yesterday. “But I don’t believe the promises from Katie or her team were kept.
“I gave up my job, was encouraged to turn down a place at university and had to put my life on hold.”
During filming of the show, Katie pledged: “The winner will get a fast-track ticket to stardom. They’ll get a modelling contract, calendars, foreign trips and red-carpet access.”
When Katie appeared with Amy in TV interviews, she said: “She’s got the look, the body, everything… she’ll have her own perfume, her own TV show. In most of these shows the judges just walk away. But with this I’m in their lives and I’m managing them.”
However, since the winning show was screened last November, Amy says she’s had hardly any mentoring, the modelling jobs haven’t properly materialised and the matching Range Rover isn’t possible because she doesn’t have the £10,000 needed to insure it. And when she rang up about the holiday to the Maldives it had suddenly turned into a trip to Marbella. Heartbroken Amy says the experience has soured her dreams of being a model, which started when she was crowned Miss Bristol at the age of 15.
Last June she was busy making plans to go to Cardiff University to read media studies after getting two As and a B in her A-levels.
But her plans changed one afternoon as she left work at a clothing store in Bristol. “A guy tapped my shoulder and said they were holding auditions for a new show by Katie Price,” she says.
“It sounded fantastic. I admired Kate. I’d read her book about how she cared for her disabled son Harvey. My brother is severely handicapped too so I had empathy for her.” Amy wowed the judges at her audition and was eventually picked for the final dozen. She moved to a house in London with the 11 other hopefuls.
“I quit my job, gave up my university place and dropped out of Miss England,” she says. “I put life on hold, but the show promised to change my future.”
When Amy won the title in July she was told it would change her life.
“Everyone from the crew ran up screaming, ‘You are going to be famous’.”
Amy had a meeting that evening with Katie and bosses from her modelling firm, Black Sheep Management, run by her brother Daniel and her manager Andrew Antonio. “Katie and Andrew said, ‘Amy, you will be busy straight away’. I asked if there would be time for uni and they said, ‘No, you need to be 100 per cent committed’.
“They said that even though there were a few months before the show hit TV screens they’d find me work.”
But then Katie took Amy out partying with producers and other contestants.
“The actor Matt Lucas came by and Katie said, ‘Say hello to the winner of my show’. But as I turned round I heard her say, ‘But I actually wanted it to be him’, pointing to rival contestant Rylan. It made me feel uneasy. I wondered if Katie really liked me.”
Amy was told to return to Bristol that night, and for days she heard nothing. “Eventually, after a week, I got one call from Andrew. He then came round, sat down with me, my mum, my dad. He said it was going to be so exciting.”
Katie’s managers say they offered her photo shoots, including one with a lads mag, but they didn’t work out.
Amy rang Katie’s management team every day to find out what was happening, but says she rarely heard back.
“They kept saying when the show airs things would change.”
Meanwhile, she survived on handouts from her parents and her savings.
When the show finally appeared, it flopped. Amy started to worry about her future but producers kept reassuring her that the minute her winning episode was screened “life would go crazy”.
“I just wanted what had been promised… my mentoring with Katie to start.”
But the next time Amy saw Katie was on November 28 when they appeared on Daybreak to talk about her winning the show.
“The night before I got a call from Katie’s managers saying, ‘Pack a bag, you are in London for two weeks’. You’re staying with Katie.
“But when I turned up at Daybreak, Katie hardly spoke to me. When we finished she said, ‘Right, I’m off, see you later’. I phoned the management team and was told to head back to Bristol. I was so upset.
“The next day Andrew rang and said, ‘Great news, Amy, I’ve got you an exclusive interview… with the Bristol Evening Post. I said, ‘I’m not being funny but I used to be Miss Bristol. I could get an interview with them any time’.”
By the time she was offered a contract last November she refused to sign. To make matters worse the official “launch” of Amy with Katie, planned for December, was held back.
Amy was given £1,500 by management to buy her family Christmas presents but she still hadn’t received her prizes.
“When I asked about the car they told me it would cost £10,000 to insure.
“I was given a number to ring about the holiday, but when the man answered he said it wasn’t the Maldives it was Marbella.
“And when I enquired about OK!, they said Katie is having ‘issues’ with the magazine.”
Despite her concerns Amy attended the photo-shoot with Katie in January, when they wore matching outfits aimed at looking like Sandy from Grease.”
The photocall was a disaster. The small number of magazines who covered it mocked Katie and her new “mini-me”. Other jobs and contracts never materialised.
Matters came to a head in a meeting between Amy and Black Sheep bosses in February. “I got upset,” she says.
When Katie found out about the meeting she fired off an email, saying: “I’m not interested in working with Amy. Amy needs to understand the jobs I have been on with her people found her arrogant and stuck-up and fake.”
But Amy says: “I’m so angry. When I won, I thought life would change. It has… but for the worse. My life’s been turned upside down. I’ve had enough of Katie and don’t want anything more to do with her or her team.”
Sources close to Katie said last night: “Amy was never promised a holiday in the Maldives – she was promised a luxury holiday and the only place available was Marbella.
“Her management did try and sort out the Range Rover – but they couldn’t find anyone to insure her. And she was never promised an OK! front cover.