Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Mr John Major, the Prime Minister, wore a cable-knit jumper at a meeting of the Cabinet at Chequers held to decide upon which policies to fight the election. One of the ideas they discussed was the strengthening of grant-maintained schools. Because some members of the Cabinet did not get back to the Commons to vote, the Government admitted defeat on a clause in a Bill to strengthen grant-maintained schools. But the next day it emerged that a mistake in telling had been made and the vote was a draw. Nearly 100 Tory backbenchers voted to restore caning in schools. Mr Major said he still wanted to have a general election on 1 May. After the Government announced the building of a new royal yacht for L60 million at public expense, Mr bordon Brown, the shadow Chancellor, said that a future Labour government would not pay for it. The Prince of Wales said that he wished he had been consulted; the Queen was sorry to be drawn into party politics. Mr Alan Clark was chosen as the Conservative candidate for the safe seat of Kensington and Chelsea; he said he would `behave in a manner that is seemly and proper'. The Referendum Party, owned by Sir James Goldsmith, withdrew its candidate in the constituency. The trial of five Irish Republican Army prisoners who had tried to escape from Whitemoor Prison was stopped after the Evening Standard identified them as terrorists, in breach of a court order; Mr Max Hastings, the paper's editor, apologised to the trial judge. A lawyer blamed an unnamed prison warder for helping the escape. Catholics expressed fears that confessionals would be bugged by police under the provisions of the Police Bill. The Crime (Sentences) Bill was opposed in the Lords by the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls. Milumil baby milk powder was withdrawn lest there be a link between some batches and a small outbreak of Salmonella anatum. …

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