Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

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Theresa May, the Prime Minister, told her audience at the Conservative party conference that she wanted to continue, like them, to 'do our duty by Britain'. She said the government planned to make it easier for local authorities to build council houses. On the eve of the conference, Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, in an interview with the Sun sketched out four 'red lines' that he said should apply to Brexit. These included a transition period that must not last 'a second more' than two years. His stipulations went beyond anything agreed by the government, but Mrs May sidestepped questions about whether he was 'unsackable'. Later she said: 'I think leadership is about ensuring you have a team of people who aren't yes-men.' Mr Johnson received a standing ovation for a conference speech in which he said, with reference to the British public: 'Let that lion roar!' Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said the party 'needs to get over its current nervous breakdown and man up a little bit'.

Monarch Airlines ceased trading and 860,000 people lost bookings; the Civil Aviation Authority set about bringing back 110,000 holidaymakers from overseas. Henry Bolton, aged 54, a former army officer, beat Anne Marie Waters, the founder of Sharia Watch, to become the leader of Ukip. 'Bags for life' can spread food poisoning germs, the Food Standards Agency said. The city council revoked the freedom of Oxford granted in 1997 to Aung San Suu Kyi. The Scottish government announced a ban on fracking. The flagpole at Edinburgh Castle on which the Union flag flies snapped in high winds.

The Universal Credit system would continue to be introduced, David Gauke, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said, but benefit claimants left without support would be able to get cash advances. He was responding to an appeal by 12 Conservative MPs to delay the scheme because 24 per cent of new claimants waited for more than six weeks to be paid in full. Postmen belonging to the Communication Workers Union voted to go on strike. Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, said that paper railway tickets would be done away with on most routes by the end of next year. RMT union members working for four railway companies went on strike. …

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