Preloader

Sky News UK – News UK

Buckingham Palace refuses to release details of Meghan bullying claims report

Sky News

Buckingham Palace is facing questions about why it won’t reveal more about the findings of an investigation into bullying allegations made against the Duchess of Sussex.

The palace has confirmed a private investigation into complaints that Meghan had bullied members of staff had concluded, claims she has always denied.

It confirmed the review had looked at how palace staff had handled the complaints rather than scrutinising details of the allegations themselves.

But after revealing that HR policies had been improved as a result it refused to make details of the changes or the findings public.

A senior palace source said: “Because of the confidentiality of the discussions we have not communicated the detailed recommendations. The recommendations have been incorporated within policies and procedures wherever appropriate and policies and procedures have changed.

“So all members of staff, all members of the royal family will be aware of what the policies and procedures are, the revised policies and procedures.”

Read more: Prince Charles has ‘very emotional’ first meeting with granddaughter Lilibet
Total royal expenditure tops £100m in a year

More on Duchess Of Sussex

Buckingham Palace launched the investigation in March 2021, after it was alleged Meghan drove out two personal assistants and staff were “humiliated” on several occasions.

The duchess’s lawyers denied the allegations when they were made. Current and former staff were expected to be invited to speak about their experiences of working for Meghan.

Read more: Meghan ‘saddened’ by palace bullying claim

Sky News understands that only very limited numbers of people were interviewed as part of the process. Archewell, the Sussexes’ organisation and charitable foundation, would not confirm if the duchess had been asked to be involved or told of the recommendations.

The investigation was carried out by a law firm and funded privately, thought to be by a senior member of the royal family. The palace had suggested that any changes in policies or procedures recommended would be shared in the Sovereign Grant report.

While there is an extensive HR section and “Staff Report” in the annual accounts it isn’t clear if any of the listed procedures have changed as a result of the investigation.

It does outline the royal household’s Concern at Work policy which encourages individuals to raise any concerns they may have about the conduct of others and sets out how issues can be aired, with the policy accessible to staff on the intranet site – known as the Coronet.

'It's carnage': GP workforce experiencing 'worrying workload' amid staff shortages

Sky News

They are our first point of call when we are unwell and are seeking reassurance.

But the GP workforce is in crisis because of crippling shortages, that’s the stark warning from the chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners as he addressed some 3,000 doctors from across the nation at their annual conference in London.

Professor Martin Marshall sympathised with staff as he told them GPs “are experiencing the most worrying workload crisis in decades”.

It is leading to a growing exodus of staff.

Whilst some practices are struggling to recruit, they are simultaneously struggling to hang on to existing staff members who are expected to cope with insufferable demands on the service.

The Health Foundation think-tank ‘REAL Centre’ published data showing the scale of vacancies across England, with estimates suggesting a quarter of posts could be vacant in the next 10 years.

It found the current shortage of 4,200 full-time equivalent GPs in England is projected to rise to 10,700 in 2030.

More on Nhs

Speaking to Sky News, Professor Marshall addressed the stark number of vacancies: “We know that there’s a workforce crisis in general practice, particularly amongst the GPs.

“We are training a lot of GPs which is good, but we’re losing more GPs in the middle, and particularly towards the end of their career, as a consequence of being burnt out.

“The problem is holding on to new recruits. It’s such a difficult job to do well, because of the workload pressures. They are inclined often to work part-time, and often to retire early as well. So retention is really the biggest problem we’ve got.

“There is a real risk of a downward spiral.”

In 10 years’ time, 25% of general practice roles are expected to be vacant.

The Royal College of General Practitioners is calling for more support for those in the profession – reducing paperwork and investing in additional staff will help practices stay afloat, Professor Marshall said.

He said: “It’s partly about supporting GPs to do the kind of job that they wanted to do when they joined the workforce.

“For example, reducing bureaucracy and a lot of work that we do when we’re not caring for patients. It’s about ticking boxes, filling out paperwork, and that’s just not a good use of the training that we have.

“We need a larger workforce other than GPs as well. There’s a lot of nurses and pharmacists and physios and mental health workers who work with us and we need to be able to support them as well.”

Read more:
Cancer diagnoses impacted by delayed waiting times
Trainee GP fined for hospital parking after night shifts overran by minutes

The pressures are leading some in Dr Yusuf Rajbee’s practice, the Portland Medical Centre, to choose between family and patients.

Speaking to Sky News he explained the difficult decisions staff are making in order to keep patients safe: “It’s carnage.

“Doctors are having to face choices in practices pretty much daily, maybe even hour an hour. Do I do even more work beyond what I feel safe to do in order to see this patient who really needs to be seen or do I preserve my own health and my own life and my own marriage?

“If I choose to go home and preserve my relationship with my kids – I’ll accept that this patient will not be seen, knowing they might have to go to a walk-in centre or to A&E which will patch them up but won’t deal with their long term issue.

“That’s the choice we’re facing all the time on a frightening scale.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told Sky News: “We are hugely grateful to GPs and their staff for the care they provide to patients and we are working hard to support and grow the workforce in order to bust the Covid backlogs.

“Numbers of doctors in general practice are increasing – there are record numbers in GP training, and over 1,400 more full time equivalent doctors in general practice in March 2022 compared to March 2019.

“We have invested £520 million to improve access and expand GP capacity and we are helping to create an extra 50 million appointments a year.”

Those in the industry say boosting recruitment is welcome, but retaining staff is not a quick fix.

EU chief tells UK it's 'high time we get Brexit done' over Northern Ireland Protocol

Sky News

European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said it was “high time we got Brexit done” as he fired the latest salvo against Boris Johnson’s government over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Sefcovic told an audience in London that UK legislation designed to tear up parts of the protocol, which governs Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading arrangements, simply “would not work”.

He also warned that the “shadow being cast” by the row would make Brussels more vigilant about continuing to allow British businesses access to financial services, data and certain food markets.

Politics Hub: Inquiry into whether PM misled parliament offers anonymity to partygate witnesses

Ending so-called “mutual recognition” of regulations in those sectors could become a possibility as a result of the UK changing its standards, said Mr Sefcovic, adding that Brussels “will be watching development closely”.

The protocol was devised in order to prevent the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

But a consequence is that goods exported to Northern Ireland from Great Britain are subject to customs checks, outraging unionists who are refusing to join power sharing until this changes.

More on Brexit

Britain has rejected proposals by the EU to resolve the impasse.

Brussels says these would reduce checks on certain goods by 80%, cut customs paperwork in half and allow the movement of certain goods that would otherwise be restricted such as sausages.

Mr Sefcovic said Brexit had increased red tape and hurt businesses on both sides of the Channel but that the EU now wanted to move on from it “to a truly strategic EU-UK partnership”.

He accused Britain of adopting a “my way or the highway” approach.

“We indeed find ourselves in a difficult situation, which will most certainly not simply disappear,” he added.

“You may not hear this often from a European Commissioner, but it is high time we got Brexit done.”

Mr Sefcovic’s comments echoed Boris Johnson’s 2019 election pledge.

They came during a speech at the London HQ of financial news and data provider Bloomberg, where in 2013 David Cameron had announced his intention to hold a referendum on EU membership.

Mr Sefcovic said the EU “has its limits” in what it can offer and must protect the integrity of the single market. It was unrealistic and unfair, he said, for the UK to expect “that all barriers can be lifted when goods move to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK”.

“Post-Brexit, the pre-Brexit reality is no longer an option,” Mr Sefcovic added.

He said for the UK to “unilaterally change the game and decide what enters the EU’s single market” amounted to “a clear violation of international law”.

Mr Sefcovic said Britain’s plan to override the protocol would “lead to constant uncertainty”.

“Ministers in London would have the freedom to change the rules on a whim.

“A dual regulatory regime – where businesses opt for EU or UK regulations – would bury them under a mountain of bureaucracy.”

Mr Sefcovic insisted that, with stability and legal certainty about the protocol arrangements, Northern Ireland could be enjoying “jam on both sides of the bread” through its unique position, making it a magnet for investment.

The speech comes days after the prime minister’s plan to override the protocol cleared its first Commons hurdle despite fierce criticism led by former prime minister Theresa May.

Earlier this month, Mr Sefcovic responded to the publication of the bill by restarting legal action against the UK for allegedly breaching the EU withdrawal treaty as well as launching two new legal infringement actions.

Prince Charles has 'very emotional' first meeting with granddaughter Lilibet

Sky News

The Prince of Wales had a “very emotional and wonderful” first meeting with his granddaughter Lilibet and a “very special” reunion with grandson Archie, it has been revealed.

Prince Charles met his two youngest grandchildren earlier this month when their parents, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, briefly visited the UK.

The heir to the throne and the Duchess of Cornwall were “absolutely thrilled” to see Prince Harry and Meghan and their children when they travelled from California for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, according to a royal source.

Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, also known as Lili, had her first birthday during her stay and also met her namesake great-grandmother, the Queen, for the first time.

Harry, who quit as a senior working royal in 2020, has had a troubled relationship with his father, telling US television presenter Oprah Winfrey how he felt let down and how Charles stopped taking his calls at one stage.

Read more: Royal expenditure tops £100m
Prince Charles has ‘very emotional’ first meeting with granddaughter Lilibet

The monarchy was hit by a crisis when the Sussexes, in the same March 2021 interview, accused an unnamed royal of being racist towards their son before he was born, and the wider institution of failing to help Meghan when she had suicidal thoughts.

But a senior royal source said it had been “wonderful” to have the family back in the UK.

“It was fantastic to see them. It was wonderful to have them back in Britain,” the source said.

“The prince and the duchess were absolutely thrilled to see them.

“The prince, of course, hasn’t seen his grandson Archie for a bit of time and so it was very, very, very special to have some time with him.

“He hadn’t met Lili, his granddaughter, and so to meet her was very emotional, a very, very wonderful thing.”

Lilibet. Pic: Missan Harriman
Image:
Pic: Missan Harriman
Britain's Prince Charles smiles as he arrives to attend the National Service of Thanksgiving held at St Paul's Cathedral during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London, Britain, June 3, 2022 Daniel Leal/Pool via REUTERS

Read more:
New pictures of Harry and Meghan’s daughter Lilibet released
Prince Charles accepting bags of cash for his charity ‘would not happen again’

Harry and Meghan appeared at the jubilee service of thanksgiving in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral but sat far across the aisle from Charles, Camilla and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Sussexes did not take part in any other public jubilee festivities.

Harry and Meghan sat on the opposite side of the aisle from William, Kate, Charles and Camilla
Image:
Harry and Meghan sat on the opposite side of the aisle from William, Kate, Charles and Camilla

Charles also has three other grandchildren, George, Charlotte, and Louis, whose parents are Prince William and Kate.

Cambridges' Caribbean tour flights cost £226,000 alone, as royal expenditure tops £100m

Sky News

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s flights for their controversial Caribbean tour cost the taxpayer more than £226,000, royal accounts have shown.

In 2021-2022, the total travel bill for the monarchy’s official duties, funded by the taxpayer, came to £4.5 million.

The accounts reveal the breakdown of spending by the Royal Family including tours and flight costs, spending on property maintenance and how much it all costs the taxpayer.

In all, official expenditure by the monarchy was £104.2 million, up 17% on the previous year, with £86.3 million coming from the Sovereign Grant – a single payment given to the Queen each year by the government to fund official royal duties and upkeep.

Cambridge’s trip most expensive tour

The pair’s trip in March to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas saw the couple travel by charter jet, and their staff by scheduled flights for a planning trip.

It was heavily criticised for images that were said to have smacked of “colonialism”, alongside protests and demands for apologies and slavery reparations.

More on Meghan Markle

The pair also cancelled a major engagement in Belize after villagers staged a protest against their visit.

The Cambridge’s trip was the most expensive official royal tour of 2021-22.

However, royal aides revealed that Prince Charles had personally spearheaded a switch to the use of sustainable aviation fuel on royal flights in a bid to combat the environmental impact of The Firm’s globe-trotting.

The ministerial RAF Voyager jet – used by the royal family and the government – is now run on sustainable aviation fuel.

Charles’ Barbados flight cost over £138k

The accounts also revealed that Prince Charles’ flight to Barbados to mark the country’s transition to a republic, and his staff’s scheduled air travel for the event, came to more than £138,000.

Barbados celebrated the occasion in December last year, marking 55 years after it gained independence from the UK.

The total travel costs for an official trip to Jordan and Egypt – which saw Charles and Camilla journey to Amman, Cairo and Alexandria – came to in excess of £123,500 including charter plane, the helicopter and scheduled flights for staff.

Key figures from the royal accounts for 2020-2021:

£86.3 million – The total taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, made up of £51.8 million for the “core” funding and an extra £34.5 million for the reservicing of Buckingham Palace.

£1.29 – Cost per person in the UK of funding the total Sovereign Grant.

£226,383 – Cost of official travel for William and Kate’s controversial Caribbean tour.

9.6% – Proportion of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds working for Buckingham Palace, compared to 8.5% in 2020-21. The target was 10%.

£63.9 million – Spending on property maintenance – up £14.4 million or 29% from £49.5 million in 2020-21.

201 – Official engagements carried out by the Queen in the last financial year – 88 more than the 113 she undertook in 2020-2021 during the pandemic.

£1.3 million- Cost of housekeeping and hospitality for the royal household – an increase of half a million or 55%.

£138,457 – Charles’s travel costs for trip to Barbados to mark country’s transition to a republic.

Read more: Prince Charles has ‘very emotional’ first meeting with granddaughter Lilibet

Rental agreement for Frogmore Cottage ‘good deal’

A senior palace source has said Prince Harry and Meghan’s rental contract for their UK home represents a “good deal” for the taxpayer.

The couple are funding the general upkeep of their former home, like maintaining the garden, with the Sovereign Grant effectively acting as the “landlord”, undertaking major works like a normal tenant-landlord relationship.

The pair paid £2.4m to cover the refurbishment and rental of Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle.

The senior royal source said the rent “has been calculated by reference to market valuations for a property of that nature”.

The National Audit Office and the Treasury were “satisfied” with the way the transaction had been accounted for and the “commercial return” for the Sovereign Grant, the source added.

“I can be confident in saying that this is a good deal for the Sovereign Grant and the taxpayer alike.”

The accounts also revealed that £63.9m was spent on property maintenance, up £14.4 million or 29% from £49.5 million in 2020-21.

'Who'd have thought it?': Scores of Glastonbury revellers test positive for COVID

Sky News

A number of Glastonbury Festival revellers have reported testing positive for COVID-19 in the days after the music event.

An estimated 200,000 music fans flocked to Worthy Farm in east Somerset for the 37th iteration of Glastonbury last week.

Crowds gathered to watch headliners Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar along with scores of other artists for the world’s biggest outdoor festival.

Following three years of cancellations due to COVID restrictions, tens of thousands of music fans did not hold back as they soaked up their favourite artists, shoulder to shoulder with other fans.

But the fun was soon over after many revellers took to Twitter to report bringing COVID-19 home with them.

The Times’ science reporter and religious affairs correspondent was one of them. Kaya Burgess tweeted: “I had a wonderful time at Glastonbury. Its magic is undimmed. Though I brought home a rather unwelcome memento… Had avoided Covid for 2½ years.

“And all it took to catch it was cramming shoulder-to-shoulder into fields with 200,000 other people. Who’d have thought it.”

Another Twitter user called Alice wrote: “It finally got me! I have a positive line on a covid test. To be expected after having the time of my life at Glastonbury, hugging everyone I know. Better than catching it in a bloody office. I’m stuck in bed and can’t manage tv. No appetite. Forgetting to feed the furries.”

GP trainee Katy Stevenson tweeted: “returning from Glastonbury 2022 with a dirt tan, heart full of hope and a head full of COVID”.

And Sarah Merrick wrote: “Half my Glastonbury gang have tested positive for covid this evening, including my partner. I’m not feeling great either but am still testing negative.”

In the run-up to the festival, a COVID policy was posted on the official Glastonbury website detailing a number of measures that it recommended that festivalgoers take.

It advised anyone who had a respiratory infection to “try to stay at home” and recommended that people take face masks with them to Worthy Farm.

And those who tested positive for the virus while at the festival were urged to “try to isolate and avoid contact with other people”.

All domestic COVID restrictions, including the measure to isolate after a positive test, were removed by the government in February.

It comes as some experts including Professor Tim Spector, of the ZOE COVID symptom study app, said the fifth wave of coronavirus has already started.

“We’re in a wave at the moment,” he told The Independent, “heading towards a quarter of a million cases a day, that’s a wave already.”

Prof Spector added that summer events could “potentially have a big effect” on COVID rates.

“Events like Glastonbury will drive up cases but the question is how much do they account for,” he said.

“We’ve relaxed everything most people don’t think there’s a COVID problem at the moment, most people don’t wear masks, or even worry about cold-like symptoms.”

Royal Mail managers vote to strike as Britain's summer of disruption set to get worse

Sky News

Royal Mail managers have voted to strike in a dispute over what their union describes as an “ill-thought-out redeployment programme”.

Members of the Unite union backed the industrial action by 86%, and by 89% in Northern Ireland.

Their ballot was a response to what the union says are plans to cut 542 frontline delivery managers’ jobs, as well as implement a redeployment programme with worse terms and conditions.

About 2,400 managers at more than 1,000 delivery offices are involved in the dispute.

The strike dates have not yet been confirmed.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is no surprise at all that these workers have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action.

“Make no mistake, Royal Mail is awash with cash – there is no need whatsoever to sack workers, drive down pay or pursue this ill-thought-out redeployment programme.

More on Royal Mail

“These plans are all about boardroom greed and profiteering and nothing whatsoever to do with securing this vital public service.

‘Ruinous path’

“Shareholders have been seizing the Royal Mail profits, while our members have been holding the service together. Enough is enough.

“Our Royal Mail members are guaranteed Unite’s 100% support in any industrial action they take this summer to get the company off this ruinous path.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by the announcement that Unite members have voted in favour of both industrial action and industrial action short of a strike, also known as work to rule.

“Unite have stated they will be informing us in due course in relation to the terms of any industrial action.

“Throughout the ballot process, Unite head office has misled members about additional job losses. This is not true. Unite has ignored our request to correct these claims.

“There are no grounds for industrial action. The extended consultation on these changes concluded earlier this year, and the restructuring is complete.

“We committed to protecting pay for all managers who stay with Royal Mail, and the vast majority will see an increase in their earnings.

“We allowed managers to request voluntary redundancy with a package of up to two years’ salary, which was over-subscribed. We also made several concessions during the process, which Unite declined.

“The ballot covers around a third of our 6,000 managers and we have contingency plans in place to keep letters and parcels moving in the event of a strike.”

Closed platforms at Waterloo station, London, as train services continue to be disrupted following the nationwide strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. Picture date: Wednesday April 20, 2022.
Image:
Last week’s rail strike saw huge disruption across the network

‘Only the beginning’

The workers would be the latest to head to the picket lines, as Britain faces a summer of disruption.

Last week the rail network was brought to a near standstill by its biggest strike in 30 years, and the TSSA union said on Wednesday its members in train station roles at Avanti West Coast had also voted to strike.

Avanti West Coast operates passenger services including trains from London Euston to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “The ballot result at Avanti is only the beginning.

“Our union is balloting members across almost another dozen train companies and Network Rail.

“If they had any sense they would come to the table and sort this out, so we have a fair settlement for workers.”

Gordon Brown says Britain is 'at war with America over Ireland'

Sky News

Gordon Brown has claimed that Britain is “at war with America over Ireland” – amid opposition from US politicians over plans to tear up the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The former prime minister told Sky News’s Beth Rigby Interviews that there was no chance of the UK signing a trade deal with the world’s biggest economy unless the problems were resolved.

He directly linked the issue with the cost of living crisis that is threatening to deepen in the months ahead – arguing that without repairing trade relations with leading export markets, the economic squeeze would drag on for years.

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Brown also claimed Boris Johnson had no plan to tackle the cost of living and called on him to go on television to explain “what needs to be done” ahead of what is expected to be a sharp plunge in living standards over coming months.

The ex-Labour PM said he did not wish to make personal criticisms of Mr Johnson but made a scathing reference to a much-mocked CBI speech last November in which he “talked about Peppa Pig instead of talking about an industrial strategy”.

Mr Brown also reflected on past dealings with Vladimir Putin and the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko on British soil in 2006 – revealing that at the time the UK knew of Mr Putin sending more assassins into the UK to target others.

His most eye-catching language was on the impact of Britain’s policy on the Northern Ireland Protocol on the other side of the Atlantic.

More on Beth Rigby Interviews

The protocol governs Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading arrangements but problems created by its implementation have resulted in political deadlock, with unionists withdrawing from power-sharing until they are resolved.

Legislation aimed at tearing up parts of the deal this week passed its first passed its first Commons hurdle – despite attracting stinging criticism from MPs including another former PM, Theresa May, and setting Britain on a collision course with the EU.

Gordon Brown speaks to Sky's Beth Rigby 29/6/22
Image:
Gordon Brown speaks to Sky News political editor Beth Rigby

It has also raised hackles among leading US legislators in Washington.

Mr Brown said the UK needed to repair trading relations with Europe and the United States as it seeks economic recovery – but that it was “at war, if you like” with both.

He said: “We’re at war with America over Ireland because America will not sign a trade treaty with Britain as long as we cannot sort out the issues related to Ireland.”

Mr Brown said that would be the case even if US President Joe Biden continues to back a trade deal.

“He may think that but the American congress will not think that,” he said.

“There’s no chance of a trade deal between Britain and America unless we can sort out the problems that are arising in Ireland, and, of course, there’s no chance of getting better trade relationships with Europe unless we can sort these problems out as well.

“And that’s very much part of our future because if we cannot export to the leading markets in the world, and cannot do so successfully with these new industries and new technologies, then the cost-of-living crisis will be with us for years and not just temporarily.”

Mr Brown, who was at the heart of New Labour under Tony Blair – serving as chancellor for a decade from 1997 before becoming PM – was scathing about Mr Johnson’s approach to the cost of living crisis that has seen inflation surge to a four-decade high.

The former prime minister, who played a leading part in the global response to the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, said of the current government: “There is no plan. They don’t seem to have a clue what to do.

“There should be a television broadcast by the prime minister explaining what needs to be done.

“You cannot go through a winter when people are being asked to take the biggest cut in their standards of living for 50 years and not ask people to understand what you’re trying to do, and give them a plan for what do we do.”

Read more:
PM may have avoided knock-out punch – but he soon faces another huge potential blow-up
What is the Northern Ireland Protocol and why does it matter?
What can I do if I can’t pay my household bills? An expert answers

Mr Brown, who as chancellor handed the Bank of England independence in setting interest rates in 1997, did not spare the Bank in his assessment of the current situation.

“The purpose of the Bank of England is to help us get back to stable prices, and stable prices may be 2% or 3% or 4%.

“But to get there they’ve got show us a pathway to it – and unless there’s a pathway then people will be excused for thinking inflation could be 11% this year, 12% next year or 13% the year after – and the Bank of England has not done that.”

But his most trenchant criticism was reserved for the government – echoing claims from other politicians that its approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, the World Trade Organisation and the European Convention on Human Rights diminished its global reputation.

“I think Britain has got to be very careful that we have got respect in the world because we are a country that has valued the rule of law, democracy, freedom, liberty,” Mr Brown said.

“If we appear to be riding roughshod over treaties that we’ve agreed to sign, over laws we’ve asked other countries to sign up to, over rules that historically all British governments have accepted… then it is difficult to persuade other countries to listen to the advice that we’re giving.

“I would caution Boris Johnson against going further, if you like, in ignoring the rule of law.”

Captain Tom Moore Foundation investigated over relationship with daughter's company

Sky News

The Captain Tom Foundation is being investigated over concerns about the charity’s management and independence from the late veteran’s family.

The Charity Commission opened a case into the charity in March 2021, just a month after Sir Tom’s passing, and began reviewing the set-up of the organisation.

The watchdog has now launched an inquiry after becoming concerned about arrangements between the charity and a company linked to Sir Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband Colin.

Concerns were also raised about the trustees’ decision-making and how the charity was governed.

Sir Tom was propelled into the limelight during the COVID pandemic after raising £38m for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday at the height of the UK’s first lockdown in April 2020.

The watchdog says the money raised for the NHS, which was donated to NHS Charities Together, is not part of the scope of its inquiry.

The Captain Tom Foundation was registered in June 2020 following the war veteran’s fundraising efforts.

More on Tom Moore

The publication of the first annual accounts of the foundation in March 2022 revealed the charity incurred £240,000 in costs and gave £160,000 to good causes.

But the commission said it was concerned that a “failure to consider intellectual property and trademark issues” when the charity was set up gave a private company, called Club Nook Limited, the opportunity to trademark variations of the name “Captain Tom” without objection from the charity.

This could have generated “significant profit” for the company, which is controlled by Ms Ingram-Moore and Mr Ingram-Moore, the commission added.

Launched on 16 June, the inquiry is assessing whether the trustees of The Captain Tom Foundation have been responsible for mismanagement or misconduct in the administration of the charity leading to any losses, adequately managed conflicts of interest and complied with their duties and responsibilities under charity law.

Prior to the inquiry opening, the commission engaged with the charity over several issues.

In March 2021, the charity requested the regulator’s permission to employ Ms Ingram-Moore, a former trustee, on a salary of £60,000 per year, for three days a week. The commission requested evidence of the benchmarking exercise undertaken.

The charity provided the commission with this evidence and a revised proposal to appoint Ms Ingram-Moore on a salary of £100,000 on a full-time basis.

Captain Sir Tom Moore's daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore delivers a speech during the official opening of a new garden at the Helen and Douglas House children's hospice in Oxford. Picture date: Wednesday August 11, 2021.
Image:
The charity requested the regulator’s permission to employ Ms Ingram-Moore on a salary of £60,000 per year

Then in July 2021, the regulator refused permission to employ Ms Ingram-Moore as chief executive on a salary of £100,000 – considering the proposed salary neither reasonable nor justifiable.

The following month, the commission permitted the charity to appoint Ms Ingram-Moore as interim chief executive on a salary of £85,000 per year, on a three-month rolling contract, for a maximum of nine months whilst the trustees conducted an open recruitment process.

The charity has since recruited a new chief executive.

Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “The late Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired the nation with his courage, tenacity and concern for others. It is vital that public trust in charity is protected, and that people continue to feel confident in supporting good causes.

“We do not take any decision to open an inquiry lightly but in this case our concerns have mounted. We consider it in the public interest to examine them through a formal investigation, which gives us access to the full range of our protective and enforcement powers.”

The commission previously raised concerns about the payment of consultancy fees to third parties but said it was later “satisfied” that these specific payments were a reasonable reimbursement for expenses incurred by the companies in the formation of the charity.

File photo dated 16/04/2020 of the then 99-year-old war veteran Captain Tom Moore at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, after he achieved his goal of 100 laps of his garden. Captain Sir Tom Moore has died at the age of 100 after testing positive for Covid-19, his daughters Hannah and Lucy said in a statement. Issue date: Tuesday February 2, 2021.
Image:
Sir Captain Tom Moore died at the age of 100 last year

It added that it was also satisfied that the payments were “adequately identified and managed”.

Stephen Jones, chairman of the board of trustees of the Captain Tom Foundation, said: “We will of course work closely with the commission in its inquiry relating to intellectual property management.

“I note that the trustees confirmed with the commission during the process of registration that the ‘image rights and intellectual property rights of the name were held within a private family trust’, and the commission was aware that this was always intended to be the case.

“We welcome that the Charity Commission today reports that it is ‘satisfied’ in relation to questions that had been raised about the foundation’s annual report which was published in February, and has concluded that payments were reasonable and that conflicts of interest were identified and managed.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Capt Tom’s daughter: ‘You will be with me always’

Jack Gilbert, who took on the role of chief executive at the beginning of the month, added: “My appointment marks the start of an important period of transformation for the Captain Tom Foundation.

“With a revitalised and more focused mission, in coming months we will be announcing an array of charitable activities at both grassroots and national levels that change the way we think, feel and act towards age and ageing, combat ageism, and build meaningful connections between communities and generations.

“Working with the board, I am using the NCVO-backed Trusted Charities standards to ensure that in all respects, including governance and finance, the foundation conforms to best practice. These will be externally validated as part of the process.”

Prince Charles accepting bags of cash for his charity 'would not happen again'

Sky News

The Prince of Wales accepting bags of cash for his charity “would not happen again”, a senior palace source has said.

For the first time, one of Prince Charles’s senior aides has responded in detail to the reports that emerged at the weekend that between 2011 and 2015 the prince was handed €3m in cash stuffed into bags by a Qatari sheikh for his charitable foundation.

Speaking about the allegations in The Sunday Times, the aide said: “As we said over the weekend, it was passed immediately to his charities, and it was his charities who decided to accept the money.

“That is a decision for them, and they did so and as they confirmed it followed all of the right processes, the auditors looked at it.”

They added: “The Prince of Wales operates on advice. Situations, contexts change over the years.

“For more than half a decade, with the situation as it has evolved, this has not happened – and it would not happen again. That was then, this is now, and they are not the same.”

The three lots of money, which totalled €3m, were handed to the prince personally between 2011 and 2015 by Qatar’s former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, known as HBJ.

More on Prince Charles

The palace has not denied that on one occasion, he presented the prince with €1m which was reportedly put into carrier bags from Fortnum & Mason, the luxury food store that has a royal charter to provide the Royal Family with groceries.

Clarence House insists all ­correct processes were followed over the donations. The cash payments were deposited into the accounts of the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF), an entity that bankrolls the prince’s private projects and his country estate in Scotland, it added.

Campaign group Republic had demanded full disclosure over the matter, describing the events as “shocking” and saying it raised “serious questions about Charles’s judgment” amid other cash for honours accusations.

The senior palace aide went on to stress the Charity Commission has not opened an investigation. On Monday, the charity watchdog did say it was aware of the reports about donations and is looking into the matter.

It said: “We will review the information to determine whether there is any role for the Commission in this matter.”

The Prince of Wales with the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al Thani in 2013

Charities are allowed to accept donations in cash, and there is no suggestion anything about the payments was illegal.

In February, the Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into an alleged cash for honours scandal after Charles and his former close confidant, Michael Fawcett, were reported over the claims.

Mr Fawcett was accused of promising to help secure a knighthood and British citizenship for a Saudi billionaire donor linked to another of Charles’s charities, the Prince’s Foundation.

Clarence House said the prince had “no knowledge” of the alleged cash for honours scandal.

Today the Prince of Wales was asked about the latest reports during an engagement in Edinburgh but didn’t answer.

He was in the city to preview a sculpture dedicated to NHS workers who contributed during the pandemic at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Last month, he was announced as their new patron, succeeding his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.