Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Article excerpt


The government postponed a Commons vote on relaxing the Hunting Act in England and Wales after the Scottish National Party said it would oppose the changes. Scottish police admitted that a crashed car off the M9, reported to them on a Sunday, was not examined until the Wednesday, when one of the two passengers inside it was still alive. She died three days later. A case of H7N7 bird flu was found at a poultry farm near Preston, Lancashire, where 170,000 chickens were slaughtered. British people were being urged by the Foreign Office to leave Tunisia because 'a further terrorist attack is highly likely'. Up to 5,000 were flown home.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, rejected a bill from the European Union for a billion pounds as Britain's contribution to a bridging loan to Greece under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, about which David Cameron, the Prime Minister, thought he had secured an undertaking in 2010 against its being used for further eurozone bailouts. The annual rate of inflation, measured by the Consumer Prices Index, fell to zero in June, from 0.1 per cent in May and, as measured by the Retail Prices Index, remained unchanged at 1 per cent. Unemployment rose, for the first time in two years, by 15,000. The government announced legislation to make it harder for unions to call strikes. Gillian Clarke, the wife of Kenneth Clarke, the Conservative MP, died aged 74.

Harriet Harman, the acting leader of the Labour party, met opposition from Labour MPs when she urged the party to abstain on the Welfare Reform Bill. Three of the four contenders for the Labour leadership, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn, disagreed with the policy she floated, leaving only Liz Kendall to say that she was 'absolutely right'. Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, restored the ability of family and friends to send parcels of books directly to prisoners. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools, suggested that some of the pupils disappearing from school registers in Birmingham and in Tower Hamlets, east London, were being sent to unregistered Islamic schools.


Leaders of eurozone countries agreed, after a lengthy meeting in Brussels, to offer Greece a third bailout on much harsher terms than those rejected by Greek voters in a referendum last week. …

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