Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Mr Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, visited Northern Ireland and announced that British officials would resume contact with Sinn Fein, but he added that he did not expect to see the province outside the United Kingdom during his lifetime. Apprentice Boys threw stones and bricks at police who prevented them from marching through the Catholic village of Dunloy in Co. Antrim. Mr Gerry Adams, who has been elected in the Sinn Fein interest to represent the seat of West Belfast but refuses to take the oath of allegiance, bought lunch at the Terrace cafeteria of the House of Commons; he had poached haddock, swede, Parmentier potatoes and some red wine. He was accompanied by Mr Martin McGuinness, who ate the same, but with peas, and drank Coca-Cola; the Speaker has ruled that they will be barred from such facilities after the end of the debate on the Queen's Speech. Mr Mohammed Sarwar, the Labour member for Glasgow Govan and Britain's first Muslim MP, said that newspaper allegations that he bribed a rival candidate in the election campaign were totally false; he said he had given 5,000 to one of his opponents to help him out of debt, after the election. Miss Ann Widdecombe, a former Home Office minister, continued her campaign against Mr Michael Howard, the former home secretary and a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative party, claiming in the House of Commons that he made statements to the House which were not sustainable about the dismissal of Mr Derek Lewis as director-general of prisons; Mr Howard said in reply, `At no time did I cross the line between what I was entitled to do and what I wasn't.' Mr Gordon Brown announced a new watchdog for banking, pensions and insurance, including Lloyd's. The FTSE share index reached a new high of 4,723, then fell back. The government said that its ban on cigarette advertising would include a prohibition of sponsorship for sporting events. …

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