Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

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Carillion, the construction and service-provider with 20,000 employees and many contracts for the public sector, went into liquidation with debts of £1.5 billion, owing 30,000 businesses £1 billion. The government said it would pay employees and small businesses working on Carillion's public contracts 'to keep vital public services running rather than to provide a bailout on the failure of a commercial company', as David Lidington, the minister for the Cabinet Office, told Parliament. Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, asked the Official Receiver to investigate the conduct of its directors; 'Any evidence of misconduct will be taken very seriously,' he said. The annual rate of inflation fell back a smidgen to 3 per cent in December, from 3.1 per cent the month before, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index; but, measured by the Retail Prices Index, it continued to rise, to 4.1 from 3.9 per cent. The Office for National Statistics prefers the CPIH (with H for housing), which fell to 2.7 from 2.8 per cent. There were outbreaks of measles in five areas.

Henry Bolton, aged 54, the leader of Ukip, dumped his 25-year-old girlfriend Jo Marney (for whom he had left his wife, who had given birth to their second child at St Pancras station in 2016), declaring: 'As of last night the romantic side of our relationship is ended.' The Mail on Sunday had published messages Ms Marney had sent saying Meghan Markle would 'taint' the royal family 'with her seed'. Jon Lansman, the founder of the Momentum group, which supports Jeremy Corbyn, was voted on to the Labour Party National Executive Committee, along with two other Momentum candidates.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, said that the sum advertised before the EU referendum on the side of a bus was too small. It had said: 'We send the EU £350 million a week -- let's fund our NHS instead,' but the amount would rise to £438 million by the end of the post-Brexit transition period, he said. The Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence in court against Samson Makele, who had been charged in July 2017 with raping a woman after the Notting Hill Carnival in August 2016; it emerged that photographs on his phone showed the couple cuddling in bed. Ben Stokes, the England cricketer, was charged with affray; there had been a fight outside a Bristol nightclub on 25 September. …

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