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

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.

The Ashcroft Affair: Offshore tycoon with a mean streak who makes the Tory party nervous

"HE IS CRUEL and he seems to get sadistic pleasure from beating the other guy to the deal. He is driven not so much by the money as by the skill it takes to get it."

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.

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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project