SIR – Two of those running for the Conservative leadership were in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, and complicit in his shameful government.
A clean pair of hands should be the order of the day.
J P Shelley
SIR – Jeremy Hunt, a failed health secretary, is now backing Rishi Sunak, a failed Chancellor, to be prime minister.
SIR – My thoughts on the contenders: none of them.
Thank you, Boris Johnson. Your behaviour has meant we are heading for a Lib-Lab hung parliament.
Piccotts End, Hertfordshire
SIR – Rishi Sunak was subjected to an offensive and ludicrous line of questioning on the radio yesterday morning. It was put to him that, because he had never been really poor, he didn’t understand really poor people (unlike, say, Sir Keir Starmer).
He did, however, exhibit a fatal flaw for a future prime minister. He persisted in treating his Today interviewer as rational and sensible.
SIR – Taxes, wokery, rail strikes, the environment, the cost of living, fuel prices, heating costs – these things will all be totally irrelevant if Vladimir Putin is not stopped in his tracks.
The next prime minister must follow the example set by Boris Johnson.
Ventnor, Isle of Wight
SIR – In 2018 Penny Mordaunt came to speak to us in Wales, and she so impressed me that I have had her marked down as a leader for this country ever since.
I believe that a military background helps a person to analyse a proposition from all angles, and take decisions that will benefit all. This is something Boris Johnson should have done. When, for example, he announced that no new petrol or diesel cars could be purchased from 2030, my reaction was: where will all the charging points be positioned? What about all the tower blocks and terraces of houses?
Penny Mordaunt is the lady I wish to see in No 10.
Sally A Williams
Dinas Cross, Pembrokeshire
SIR – I was inclined to favour Penny Mordaunt in the race for PM, but after reading Charles Moore’s article (Comment, July 12) on her “woke” views I changed my mind.
I could not support someone who does not see the funny side of Dad’s Army – nor someone who has failed to acknowledge that a person carrying a baby in her womb is a woman.
SIR – Penny Mordaunt’s determination to succeed Boris Johnson has its roots in Ireland’s 19th-century Land War. In 1886, an Irish nationalist called Edward Mordaunt was evicted from his Co Wexford farm after refusing to pay his rent. The landlord seized his possessions for debt, throwing his family of nine children into poverty.
Re-establishing himself as a village shopkeeper, Edward fought on. In 1890, he served a three-month prison sentence for allegedly intimidating neighbours to stop them from buying sheep and cattle from his successor as tenant, John Johnson.
The interloping Johnson was driven from the scene and Edward eventually recovered his land. One of his sons joined the British Army, founding a branch of the family that settled in England. Edward’s great-great-granddaughter now aims to replace another Johnson in Downing Street.
Ms Mordaunt’s tough streak can be traced to Ireland’s agrarian nationalist revolution. History is trying to repeat itself, from Wexford to Westminster.
Professor Ged Martin
Youghal, Co Cork, Ireland
SIR – The BBC’s wage bill for top talent has fallen by 1.5 per cent (“More BBC stars than ever in six-figure club”, report, July 13). In the previous year we cut our overall spend on on-air talent by 10 per cent, and this is stable year-on-year.
Costs for on-air talent represent just 4 per cent of what we spend on content, with 95 per cent of spending – the overwhelming majority – going towards content and delivery. We are acutely aware of operating efficiently and ensuring value for money, which is why we have made more than £1 billion of savings in the past five years.
The BBC operates in a highly competitive market, subject to inflation, and pays considerably less than commercial rivals – but audiences still want to see top talent on the BBC.
Group Chief Operating Officer, BBC
SIR – How gratifying it must be for viewers now facing renewal of the licence fee of £159 – particularly pensioners who were once exempt – that so many BBC presenters are about to receive substantial salary increases. Even some who have accepted reductions are nevertheless beneficiaries of six-figure salaries.
John D Berman
New Barnet, Hertfordshire
SIR – Fiona Bruce is paid more than £400,000 for reading the news and presenting Question Time. Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer get almost £2 million for talking about football. If I were on a bus next to Tim Davie, the BBC’s director-general, who is paid more than half a million pounds a year, I’d have no idea who he was.
The public simply cannot carry on funding these obscene salaries.
SIR – For a lookalike quiz about Tory hopefuls, might I suggest Catherine Deneuve for Penny Mordaunt?
Silly speed limit
SIR – I agree with Sally Jones (Comment, July 14) that the Welsh government’s proposal for a 20 mph limit in urban areas will backfire badly.
I was a minor functionary of the Ministry of Transport in 1970, when a similar proposal was urged by some of Edward Heath’s government and strongly supported by senior officials.
The transport minister John Peyton, always his own man, stoutly resisted. “I am not prepared to introduce legislation that incites customarily law-abiding citizens to defy the law,” he declared. “And any law that cannot be effectively enforced is bad law.” End of ill-conceived proposal.
SIR – A 20 mph limit might be suitable for some residential roads, but not as the default limit. Presumably, sooner or later, the Welsh government will lower it again, perhaps to 5 mph.
SIR – Why not just go the whole way and ban cars?
David J Hartshorn
SIR – A cycle lane installed recently by widening the pavement cost the Surrey taxpayer £1.8 million.
Cyclists ignore it and ride on the narrower road, slowing traffic and increasing congestion and pollution. Emergency vehicles often struggle to make progress through the traffic.
SIR – Beverley Purver (Letters, July 13) recalls Lincolnshire milk 30 years ago being delivered in plastic bags that could be put straight into the freezer or, with the corner snipped off, used in a jug. The same system is in place throughout Canada to this day.
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
SIR – Searching for a contact address, I found deep in the M&S website the following statement: “We’re no longer accepting whitemail due to Covid-19, please contact us by phone or email.”
Presumably “whitemail” is newspeak for letters. And if it is, the generation who still write them will never find this information.
The coffee-shop chain gang is not for tea lovers
SIR – Like Melanie McDonagh (Comment, July 11), I have never been a great fan of large coffee-shop chains, but not because of their cost. My objection is that their tea tastes absolutely horrible – not helped by the accepted practice of lobbing a teabag into a cup with the milk, then jamming a plastic top on it.
Whether at home or in the office, I use a little mesh ball with loose-leaf tea and leave it for four or five minutes to diffuse gently while I contemplate the world, catch up on emails, make a phone call or do anything but stand in a queue.
Most teabags are made from single-use plastic but, ignoring the saving to the planet, I’d urge others to try this method because it is an infinitely better-tasting cuppa (as well as being significantly cheaper). But why can’t coffee-shop chains offer loose-leaf tea in a pot, as so many of the independents now do, when we sit down to drink there?
The heatwave is a disaster killing hundreds
SIR – The attempts by Sir John Hayes (report, July 12) and Philip Johnston (Comment, July 13) to downplay the risks from the current hot weather are an insult to the hundreds of families whose loved ones are dying from heat.
Each year the Government publishes figures showing that about 2,000 people in England are killed by heatwave conditions. Although most have underlying health issues, their deaths could be prevented if Britain managed the growing risks properly, for instance, by ensuring homes do not overheat.
This heatwave is a natural disaster that is killing hundreds of people.
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
SIR – Will working from home be as tempting when people remember there’s air-con at the office?
SIR – The letters on beachwear etiquette (July 12) reminded me of an eight-day package holiday to Valencia that a friend and I went on in 1976, for £8.99.
As the only unattached ladies, we were “adopted” by a charming couple from Farnham. The husband was a butcher who had lost one arm, as he put it, “in an argument with a meat slicer”. He remained dressed in an immaculate tweed three-piece suit throughout the holiday.
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