Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt


The government introduced a Health and Social Care Bill to give control of a large part of the NHS budget to consortia of GPs. Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, refused a request from the Iraq inquiry for exchanges between Tony Blair, when prime minister, and President George Bush to be released. Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry chairman, said:

'The inquiry is disappointed.' The House of Lords sat all night when Labour peers delayed the progress of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, which makes provision for a referendum on 5 May on the Alternative Vote for general elections. Lord Taylor of Warwick went on trial on charges of false accounting over his parliamentary expenses.

The annual rate of inflation rose to 3.7 per cent in December from 3.3 per cent in November by the Consumer Price Index, the greatest rise that index has yet recorded in a single month. Unemployment rose by 49,000 to 2.5 million. BP signed a deal with the Russian company Rosneft to explore Russia's Arctic shelf for oil. Rosneft will take a stake in BP, and BP will hold a 9.5 per cent stake in Rosneft. Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition, said: 'I'd be pretty worried about this.' Three married former Anglican bishops were ordained as Catholic priests, becoming part of the new Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Justin Webb, a presenter of Today on Radio 4, announced that he was the natural son of Peter Woods, the television newsreader, who died in 1995. Eight million cigarettes under a false brand name were seized by Customs men in south Armagh.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Daily Mirror should not have to pay the £1 million costs in the privacy action that the model Naomi Campbell successfully brought against it in 2004. A county court judge awarded two homosexual men £1,800 damages each against a bed and breakfast owner who refused to let unmarried couples share double rooms, out of Christian conviction.

Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, convicted of the murder of 13 women, lost his appeal against a ruling that he should never be released. A father and son from Romania were convicted of inviting women to come to Britain to work as cleaners and then making them work as prostitutes in brothels in Manchester and the West Midlands. …

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