Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

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Credit: The Spectator

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Maria Miller resigned as Culture Secretary after a week of being the centre of a game of hunt-the-issue. She had paid back expenses, but only the £5,800 requested by the Commons standards committee, not the £45,000 suggested by the parliamentary commissioner for standards; she had apologised in the Commons, but her apology lasted only 32 seconds; her special advisers were accused of putting pressure on the Daily Telegraph not to report on her expenses embarrassment because she had power over newspaper regulation; the chairman of the 1922 Committee called the scandal 'toxic'. Mrs Miller told her constituents: 'I am devastated.' Teesside Crown Court heard that John Darwin, who faked his own death in 2002, has paid only £121 of a £679,000 proceeds-of-crime order.

The International Monetary Fund said that the British economy would be the fastest-growing in the G7 this year, at 2.9 per cent. From September new methodology at the Office for National Statistics will add between 2.5 per cent and 5 per cent to Britain's gross domestic product. Lord Robertson, the former secretary general of Nato, in a speech on Scottish independence, said: 'The loudest cheers for the break-up of Britain would be from our adversaries and from our enemies.' Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, appealed against a judge's ruling that he should decide if men who had sexual intercourse with men should be allowed to donate blood in Northern Ireland, as in the rest of the United Kingdom; Mr Hunt said it should be a devolved matter. Sir Anthony May, the Commissioner for Interception, said that the 514,608 requests in 2013 for data (such as who owns a particular telephone) had 'the feel of being too many'. Peaches Geldof, the daughter of Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates, was found dead at her home in Kent; she was 25. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, discovered a music trio: 'Who I really like right now is London Grammar. I think they are brilliant.'

President Michael D. Higgins became the first Irish head of state to make a state visit to Britain; Martin McGuinness, the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland and former IRA commander, attended the state banquet at Windsor. The Queen, on a visit to Pope Francis, gave him some honey and a jar of chutney. …

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