Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

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In preparation for the vote on the Queen's Speech, the Government, after weeks of negotiations, bought the support of the Democratic Unionist Party in the House of Commons by promising to spend a billion or two pounds in Northern Ireland on broadband and other good things. In reply to expostulations from the Opposition, Nigel Dodds, the parliamentary leader of the DUP, told the Commons: 'We might publish all the correspondence and conversations we had in 2010 with Labour front-benchers, and in 2015 with Labour front-benchers, and indeed also the Scottish National party, because some of the faux outrage we have heard is hypocrisy.' Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, made a speech at Glastonbury and inspired repeated chants of 'Ohhh, Jeremy Corbyn.' A shopkeeper in North Tyneside who took down an orange sign reading 'Singhbury's' when Sainsbury's complained has put up another reading 'Morrisinghs'.

Former chief superintendent David Duckenfield was charged with the manslaughter of 95 people at the Hillsborough disaster and five more people were charged with other offences. The number confirmed dead, or missing presumed dead, in the fire of June 14 at Grenfell Tower in West London remained at 79; some tenants were said to be reluctant to come forward because of unlawful sub-letting. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor of the exchequer, said: 'Those individuals -- 79 so far and there will be more -- were murdered by political decisions that were taken over recent decades.' The Government said that safety tests would be carried out on cladding from 600 other buildings, and all the first few dozen samples failed. But the tests used different criteria from building regulations. Testing of cladding at hospitals and schools was proposed. Camden council had ordered tenants from 644 flats in four tower blocks to leave as night fell on unspecified grounds of safety; dozens resisted the council's cajolery.

The Government sketched its proposals for letting EU citizens remain in the United Kingdom after Brexit; in response, Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator tweeted: 'More ambition, clarity and guarantees needed'. In the face of rising consumer credit, the Bank of England ordered banks to set aside an extra £11.4 billion in capital. Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, announced a delay in plans for another referendum on independence. …

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