Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in a speech designed to show that Britain was no longer to be a 'soft touch' for immigrants, said that people from the European Union would have to show they had a 'genuine chance of getting work' in order to claim UK unemployment benefits for more than six months. The UK Border Agency was to be abolished, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, told the Commons, because its performance was 'not good enough', and 'the number of illegal immigrants removed does not keep up with the number of people who are here illegally'. The agency would be split up and returned to the Home Office, with one half focusing on the visa system and the other on immigration law enforcement. David Miliband, the former foreign secretary, announced that he was leaving politics to become head of the International Rescue Committee charity in New York.

In its annual report on counter-terrorism, the Home Office said that more than 500 people, including those who held extreme far-right views or were inspired by al-Qa'eda, had been put through a counterterrorism deradicalisation programme called Channel. It also said that hundreds of European jihadists had gone to Syria to fight. Thousands in Scotland and Northern Ireland were left without electricity for days when snow formed deep drifts and ice brought down pylons. Castle View School in Canvey Island, Essex, banned triangular flapjacks after a boy was hit in the face by one.

The government response to the Francis report on failings at Stafford Hospital decided to place a duty of candour on NHS boards, to set up a new ratings system for hospitals and care homes, and to make trainee nurses spend up to a year working as healthcare assistants. During a television interview, Eddie Mair questioned the integrity of Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, asking him if he hadn't lied when Michael Howard, the then Tory leader, asked him about an affair. 'You're a nasty piece of work, aren't you?' he asked. Boris Berezovsky, aged 67, the Russian oligarch and critic of President Vladimir Putin, was found dead at his house near Ascot in Berkshire. An app invented by Nick D'Aloisio, aged 17, was acquired by Yahoo, which gave him a job in a deal said to be worth millions of pounds. …

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