Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

Magazine article The Spectator

Portrait of the Week

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Stagecoach and Virgin could only manage to run the East Coast rail franchise for a few more weeks, Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, said, because 'Stagecoach got its numbers wrong. It overbid.' To cut 2,000 Royal Marines and the Royal Navy's two specialist landing ships, a plan considered by the Ministry of Defence, would be 'militarily illiterate', the Commons Defence Select Committee said. Northamptonshire County Council gave notice that it would undertake no new expenditure because it expected to be overspent by £21.1 million by the end of this tax year; last year it opened a £53 million headquarters. The government proposed changes in the law that prevents heterosexual couples forming civil partnerships. Twenty of the Queen's swans at Windsor have died of bird flu and another 20 are dying.

A man known only as 'Nick', who falsely accused famous people of belonging to a paedophile ring, has been charged with possession of indecent images of children. The extradition to the United States of Lauri Love, a student aged 33, accused of breaking into US government websites, was prevented by the high court, which said that 'Mr Love would probably be determined to commit suicide, here or in America'. Darren Osborne, aged 48, convicted of driving a van into a crowd outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, north London, was sentenced to at least 43 years. Terry Perkins, a ringleader of the Hatton Garden safe deposit raid in 2015, who last week was ordered to pay back £6,526,571 or face a further seven years in jail, died in Belmarsh prison aged 69. The trial of three former Tesco executives charged with fraud and false accounting was abandoned when one of them, Carl Rogberg, had a heart attack.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator on Brexit, visited No. 10 Downing Street and said that 'without a customs union and outside the single market, barriers to trade in goods and services are unavoidable'. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, said that Britain was 'leaving the customs union', but wanted a free trade deal with the EU and also the freedom to strike deals with other countries. The British government's Brexit cabinet sub-committee met for two days, to try to discover what it wanted after Brexit. President Donald Trump tweeted that 'thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U [niversal health] system is going broke and not working'. …

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