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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Chequers: Man arrested after car crashes into gates of Prime Minister's country estate

A driver has been arrested after a car crashed into the gates of the Prime Minister’s country estate, Chequers, on Tuesday.

Police were called to the scene in Missenden Road, Aylesbury, shortly after midday after a white Volkswagen Scirocco hit the barriers at the entrance to the property.

The driver, a 44-year-old man from Buckinghamshire, suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital, where he remained on Tuesday evening.

He has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and drink-driving.

He was the only person in the car, said Thames Valley Police.

“While we are still in the very early stages of our investigation, there is currently no evidence to suggest there was any intention to harm anyone,” said a force spokesperson.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pictured at Chequers in May 2023 (PA Wire)

Chequers, or Chequers Court, is a country house near the village of Ellesborough in Buckinghamshire at the foot of the Chiltern Hills.

The house and its estate have been the official second home of the serving prime minister for more than 100 years.

It has 10 bedrooms, a heated indoor swimming pool in the Orangery, a putting green, and 1,500 acres of lawns.

The retreat has provided fresh air and open space for sitting prime ministers since 1917, when it was gifted to the nation by Conservative minister Sir Arthur Lee and his American heiress wife, Ruth.

As set out in the Chequers Estate Act 1917, it was hoped to draw the sitting PM to “spend two days a week in the high and pure air of the Chiltern hills and woods”.

The thinking behind that being “the better the health of our rulers, the more sanely will they rule”.

A stained-glass window in the building reads: “This house of peace and ancient memories was given to England as a thank-offering for her deliverance in the great war of 1914–1918 as a place of rest and recreation for her Prime Ministers for ever.”

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