Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt


David Cameron, the Prime Minister, toured Europe trying to gain support for reforms to favour Britain's position in the European Union. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, said she did not rule out treaty changes in Europe and would be a 'constructive partner' of Britain in seeking reforms. Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister, was found to be on a list of 89 figures from the EU banned from entering Russia. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said he would do something to reduce the cost of agency staff for the NHS in England, which amounted to £3.3 billion last year. The government, which has reduced its stake in Lloyds bank from 41 per cent to 19 per cent, said it would mount a sale of Lloyds shares to the public in the next 12 months. Marks & Spencer was to become the first British retailer to add vitamin D to its packaged bread.

Charles Kennedy, an MP from 1983 to 2015, when he was defeated for the seat of Ross, Skye and Lochaber, who led the Liberal Democrats from 1999 to 2006, died, aged 55. Twenty-one long-finned pilot whales stranded themselves on the shore of Skye. The Speaker of the House of Commons rebuked Scottish National MPs when they applauded a speech, saying: 'The convention that we do not clap in this Chamber is very, very long established and widely respected.' The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority stood by its recommendation of a pay rise for MPs from £67,060 to £74,000. Four people were seriously injured when two carriages crashed on a rollercoaster ride at Alton Towers in Staffordshire.

Eight men were arrested in Oxford by police investigating child sexual exploitation. One of the postage stamps issued to commemorate Magna Carta bore the legend: 'Gender equality and women's empowerment are essential components of human development and basic human rights.' Rail strikes planned by the RMT union were suspended after an offer of a 2 per cent pay rise this year. Trains were delayed by fallen trees in high winds. Matisse, a dog that won Britain's Got Talent , was found to have been substituted by another dog during a difficult tightrope-walking display in the finals.


Italy rescued 3,300 migrants from the Mediterranean in one day. France and Germany said that revisions were needed to a European Commission plan to distribute 40,000 asylum seekers throughout the EU. …

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