Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

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In the shadow cabinet chosen by the new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the Exchequer went to John McDonnell, a left-winger who had run his campaign for the leadership. Although Mr Corbyn's defeated rival Andy Burnham was given the Home Office portfolio, most appointments were from the left. Angela Eagle, the new shadow business secretary, was also named shadow first secretary of state and would perform at Prime Minister's Questions when the Prime Minister was away. Her twin sister Maria Eagle got the defence portfolio. Even Diane Abbott was given international development. Mr Corbyn had received 59.5 per cent of 422,664 votes cast; of the 105,000 who had paid £3 to register as supporters, 88,499 voted for him. Tom Watson was elected deputy leader. Mr Corbyn agreed to kiss hands on being sworn of the Privy Council, but at a service to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain he refused to sing the national anthem. Facebook announced that it was going to introduce a 'Dislike' button.

Peter Robinson refused to continue as First Minister of Northern Ireland, and all but one of his Democratic Unionist party ministers resigned, chiefly over the part of the IRA in last month's murder of Kevin McGuigan. The power-sharing executive was paralysed, but Arlene Foster, the finance minister, was left to act at Mr Robinson's request as first minister. Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National party, said that in its manifesto for next year's Scottish Parliament election, the party would say when it might seek a possible second referendum on independence. Brian Close, who first played cricket for England aged 18, died, aged 84. Unemployment rose by 10,000 in the second quarter.

The Assisted Dying Bill, which sought to have doctors killing the terminally ill who requested it, was rejected by MPs by 330 votes to 118. The Trade Union Bill, which demands higher thresholds in strike ballots, won a second reading by 33 votes. MPs voted for government plans to reduce working tax credit payments for low earners. Sadiq Khan won the Labour nomination to stand for Mayor of London, unexpectedly beating Tessa Jowell. The London Fire Brigade warned of the dangers of spontaneous combustion after a fresh pile of laundry burst into flames in a Hackney linen cupboard. …

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