News McAfee claims to have lost the majority of his fortune during the financial crisis

Tycoon leaves US for Canada after building manager says guns and gangs made him fear for his life

The Ashcroft Affair: Leaked FO memos cast doubt on reputation

MICHAEL ASHCROFT, the billionaire treasurer of the Conservative Party, has one major problem - the British Establishment does not trust him.

Leading Article: Mr Hague should cool his ardour for his party treasurer

IT IS not difficult to guess what attracted William Hague, a man who inherited a bankrupt party, to the Tories' treasurer, the billionaire businessman Michael Ashcroft. It is more tricky to see what Mr Ashcroft saw in Mr Hague. Perhaps it was Mr Ashcroft's liking for a long shot; as Steven Norris, the former Tory minister, once said: "He's like the guy who backs Jamaica in the World Cup." Perhaps it was the prospect of a peerage, although he was refused one in the Queen's birthday honours on the advice of the all-party Scrutiny Committee. Or perhaps it was the impulse to add another trinket to his eclectic collection, which currently includes, among other things, a London taxi, Victoria Crosses and a slice of the Belize economy. He has not exactly acquired the Tory Party. But he has been keeping it afloat, to the tune of pounds 2m.

The Ashcroft Affair: Revealed: The Tory deal that saved Ashcroft millions in tax

JOHN MAJOR'S government put pressure on the Central American state of Belize to save millions of pounds in tax for the billionaire Tory treasurer, Michael Ashcroft.

Revealed: How Tories helped save Ashcroft millions in tax

JOHN MAJOR'S government put pressure on the Central American state of Belize to save the billionaire Tory treasurer, Michael Ashcroft, from paying millions of pounds in tax.

Gardening: Spend, spend, spend

GARDENS ARE for sitting in as well as working at - though wherever I sit, I always see something that needs doing, so the sitting is short lived. Junk shops are a useful hunting ground for garden chairs. An old wooden (or Lloyd Loom) chair, a can of spray paint, and you can provide garden seating for less than pounds 10 a throw.

Ashcroft still hopes for a place in Lords

WILLIAM HAGUE'S controversial party treasurer is still hoping for a peerage despite being blocked by the committee which scrutinises political honours, it was revealed yesterday.

Comment: The Tory Party piranha

Profile: Michael Ashcroft

The 50 Best beaches; TODAY'S FORECAST: IS VERY SUNNY INDEED

Life, as they say, is a beach: but which of the world's greatest strands is the one for you? For this week's 50 Best, Rhiannon Batten, with help from Lucy Gillmore and Simon Calder, has combed the globe, from Scotland to the Seychelles, looking for the best places to surf, stroll, shimmy or sunbathe. All you have to do is bring a towel ...

Tory move for backer's peerage is blocked

MICHAEL ASHCROFT, the controversial millionaire businessman and Conservative Party treasurer, has been refused a peerage even though he was formally nominated by William Hague.

Travel: Latin America - The king of the jungle

A trip to Tikal in Guatemala is well worth the effort. By Rhiannon Batten

Travel: Meet St Francis of the sea

Ingrid Kennedy goes snorkelling with Ras, a diver who has a magic touch with the exotic fish that swim off Belize

Prescott attacks flag 'buccaneers'

JOHN PRESCOTT launched a stinging attack yesterday on the "flag of convenience" shipping register of the central American state of Belize, which is controlled by Michael Ashcroft, the Conservative Party treasurer and multi-millionaire.

PARLIAMENT: SAFETY AT SEA; Tory attacked over Belize shipping links

THE CONSERVATIVE treasurer was attacked in the House of Lords yesterday for his links to a "flag of convenience" shipping register with one of the worst safety records in the world.

Curious case of the high-flying Tory treasurer and the sinking ships

HE'S A multi-millionaire, treasurer of the Tory party, a City takeover expert, tax exile, ambassador to the United Nations, and friend of the Thatchers - Michael Ashcroft's cv is impressive.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried