Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

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'Unless we take difficult, painful decisions, ' David Cameron, the Prime Minister, told the Conservative party conference, 'Britain may not be in the future what it has been in the past.' He said that it was 'an hour of reckoning for countries like ours. Sink or swim, do or decline.' Earlier he had said that a referendum on the terms of EU membership is the 'cleanest, neatest and simplest' solution, though a general election would count as an alternative.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, was feted at the conference, and said in a speech that if he was a mop, Mr Cameron was a 'broom that is clearing up the mess left by the Labour government', with 'George Osborne the dustpan, Michael Gove the J-cloth, William Hague the sponge.' George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said the government was determined to press ahead with a further £10 billion of cuts from the benefits budget. The International Monetary Fund predicted that the British economy would shrink by 0.4 per cent this year, compared with the 0.2 per cent growth it predicted in July. The proposed takeover of BAE by EADS floundered. Four days after flying to Britain, Fazal Ahmad, 38, an Afghan, died of the viral Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever at a London hospital.

The gravestone of the late Sir Jimmy Savile was removed during the night at the request of his family, as the Metropolitan Police, beginning enquiries into allegations against him, said that he was 'a predatory sex offender'. Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, said that he would change the law to allow householders to use 'disproportionate' force against burglars, as long as it was not 'grossly disproportionate'.

Five terrorism suspects were extradited to the United States: Abu Hamza on 11 counts, Babar Ahmad on four, Syed Talha Ahsan on three, Adel Abdul Bary on 284 and Khaled al-Fawwaz on four. Abu Hamza, who has no hands, appeared in a New York court without his prosthetic hook. Hammersmith and Fulham Council asked Abu Hamza's wife whether she would like to move into somewhere smaller than the five-bedroom council house where she lives with two of their eight children. Jeremy Hunt, the new Health Secretary, said he thought the maximum age for abortion should be lowered to 12 weeks; Maria Miller, the new women's minister, favoured 20 weeks; as did Theresa May, the Home Secretary. …

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