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, when asked by Iain Dale in an interview on LBC: 'If there was a Brexit vote now, would you vote Brexit?' repeatedly refused to say. Earlier, briefing the House of Commons on Brexit, she said that the country must prepare for 'every eventuality'. The government published two papers on trade and customs arrangements that envisaged ways by which Britain could thrive as an 'independent trading nation' even if no trade deal were reached with Brussels. Mrs May admitted that during a transitional period, the European Court of Justice would retain jurisdiction. Asked five times if the government had received legal advice on whether the process of departure under Article 50 could be revoked, Mrs May only repeated: 'The government made clear that we have no intention of revoking that. We will be delivering on the vote of the British people.' On progress in negotiations, Mrs May said: 'The ball is in their court.' The EU spokesman Margaritis Schinas said: 'The ball is entirely in the UK court.' David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, had lunch with Michel Barnier, the chief EU negotiator, in Brussels. They had sea bass and roast beef, with English and French wine. No talks were scheduled for the following day.

BAE Systems said it was cutting 1,920 jobs in military, maritime and intelligence services, partly because of poor orders for the Typhoon/Eurofighter. The Scottish government is to set up a publicly owned company to sell energy to customers 'as close to cost price as possible', Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, announced. Some parents said their children were unable to buy food for lunch because the website of the payment company ParentPay went down for several hours. A van stopped by police in Sawtry, Cambridgeshire, was found to be carrying 6,822lb of cheese -- 2,822lb more than the vehicle's weight limit.

A 'race audit' promised by Mrs May turned out to be a new website aggregating information already published. She said that institutions must 'explain or change' racial disparity. The website showed all sorts of anomalies, such as that white teenagers were four times more likely to be smokers than black teenagers and that white women were more at risk of domestic abuse than ethnic minority women. By the end of the year, Britain is expected to have attracted 39. …

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