Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

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Britain will leave the single market on leaving the European Union, Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said in a speech at Lancaster House. Britain will leave the customs union to boot, she said, and 'Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe.' As for EU citizens living in Britain, she wanted to 'guarantee their status here in the UK, but we do need reciprocity'. She proposed a 'phased process of implementation' of a Brexit agreement, but not 'some kind of permanent political purgatory'. Parliament would be able to vote on the final agreement between Britain and the EU. In sum, she declared: 'No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.' The annual rate of inflation rose from 1.2 to 1.6 per cent in December, measured by the Consumer Prices Index, its highest since July 2014; as measured by the Retail Prices Index, the rate rose from 2.2 to 2.5 per cent. Unemployment fell to 1.6 million and average wages rose by an annual rate of 2.8 per cent.

James Brokenshire, the Northern Ireland Secretary, was obliged by law to call an election in the province, which will be held on 2 March, after the collapse of the power-sharing administration. The Supreme Court allowed Abdul-Hakim Belhaj to sue Jack Straw, who was foreign secretary when Mr Belhaj, regarded by western intelligence as a terrorism suspect, was turned over to the Libyan authorities. A court approved payments by Rolls-Royce of £497 million to the Serious Fraud Office and £141 million to the US Justice Department to settle bribery and corruption cases. A woman was fined £80 under litter laws for pouring a cup of coffee down a drain in Ealing.

The Earl of Snowdon, the former Antony Armstrong-Jones, married to Princess Margaret from 1960 to 1978, died aged 86. Tristram Hunt, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, said he was giving up his seat to become the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley, which last year ceased to offer A-levels in any of its schools, made plans to open a centre where they might be taught.

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Everyone took a keen interest in the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, including those who called for a boycott. …

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