Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt


Britain decided to send 40 'military advisers' to Mali, 70 more with an RAF Sentinel surveillance aircraft and 20 with a C17 transport plane, and 200 to neighbouring states in a training role;

Britain was 'keen', according to Downing Street, to aid France there. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, visited Algeria. The British economy shrank by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the Office for National Statistics, meaning that there was no growth at all last year.

The FTSE 100 share index went above the 6,300 mark for the first time since May 2008.

Qatari Diar, the property arm of the emirate of Qatar, put its £3 billion development project at the Chelsea Barracks under review. The government published its Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The Court of Appeal ruled that the law requiring people to disclose all previous convictions to certain employers is a breach of human rights. Someone stole a Chevrolet that the footballer Paul Scholes had left with its engine running to defrost it in the drive of his house at Greenfield, Oldham.

In revenge for the government's dropping legislation to reform the House of Lords, Liberal Democrat MPs voted with the opposition against legislation to reduce the number of MPs and redraw constituency boundaries, defeating it by 334 votes to 292. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrat party, said that the Conservatives had 'decided to completely reinvent the wheel and tie the country up in knots' by seeking to renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership of the European Union. The Succession to the Crown Bill, sponsored by Mr Clegg, completed its stages in the Commons. The Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce are to stand trail in the coming week, charged with perverting the course of justice over allegations that she took speeding points for him so he could avoid prosecution.

The route of the second phase new high-speed rail line, HS2, a fork from Birmingham to Manchester or Leeds, to be opened by 2033, was announced. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, called the £33 billion project an 'engine for growth'. The Charity Commission wrote to the RSPCA, asking it to review its policy after it spent £326,000 prosecuting the Heythrop hunt, with which David Cameron rode before hunting was made illegal. …

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