Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

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Harriet Harman, the acting leader of the Labour party, said that 3,000 people had had any votes they cast in the Labour leadership contest set aside. Voters for the contest had been reduced from 610,000 to 553,954, mostly because people could not be found on the electoral register, but 1,900 alleged sympathisers with the Greens and 400 Conservatives had been debarred, not to mention Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union. It was admitted that in mid-August the chimes of Big Ben were up to six seconds out.

A 1950s Hawker Hunter jet in an air display at Shoreham in West Sussex crashed in a ball of fire on a main road, killing 11 people; the pilot was critically injured. The Civil Aviation Authority said that such vintage jets would no longer be allowed to perform 'high-energy aerobatics' over land at air shows. Britain ordered £47 million of mobile air defence radars to protect the Falkland Islands. The Met Office lost its weather forecasting contract with the BBC. British brassica growers are suffering the worst aphid attacks in a decade.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, signed an agreement with Bernard Cazeneuve, her French counterpart, to set up a 'control and command centre' run by British and French police to pursue people-smuggling gangs. The number of people in Britain who were born abroad rose above eight million. Harvey Proctor, the former MP, accused police of a 'homosexual witch hunt' after being interviewed for the second time as part of Operation Midland, an inquiry into claims that powerful men abused children in the 1970s and 1980s. He said he was asked about the former prime minister Sir Edward Heath and the former chief of the defence staff Lord Bramall, who has previously categorically denied any involvement with child sexual abuse. London overtook Brussels to become the European city with the most congested roads.

Abroad

The Shanghai Composite share index fell by 7.6 per cent in one day, which the Xinhua press agency called Black Monday. This startled stock markets elsewhere, sending the FTSE down 4.7 per cent and the Dow Jones down 3.6 per cent. The next day, western stock markets rallied a little and China cut its interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point. …

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