Portrait of the Week

The Spectator, July 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

Portrait of the Week


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In a ministerial reshuffle, William Hague, who promised to leave Parliament at the election, was made Leader of the House, being replaced as Foreign Secretary by Philip Hammond, who was replaced as Defence Secretary by Michael Fallon. Sir George Young Bt, aged 73, was sacked as Chief Whip. Michael Gove was demoted to Chief Whip. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said: 'I wanted one of my big hitters, one of my real stars, one of my great brains, someone who has done extraordinary things for education in this country, to do that job.' Mr Gove was replaced as Education Secretary by Nicky Morgan, who will keep her portfolio as minister for women. Disabled people got a minister all of their own, Mark Harper. Kenneth Clarke, aged 74, first appointed a whip in 1972, was sacked as minister without portfolio. Owen Paterson was sacked as Environment Secretary, to be replaced by Liz Truss, who had been an education minister. David Willetts, the universities minister, was sacked, and so were Alan Duncan, as international development minister, and Damian Green, as policing minister. Priti Patel, Anna Soubry, Claire Perry, Penny Mordaunt and Amber Rudd were promoted. Liam Fox declined the offer of minister in the Foreign Office.

The Church of England Synod voted for women bishops by 152 in favour, 45 against in the House of Laity; 37 to 2 in the House of Bishops; and 162 to 25 in the House of Clergy. The Archbishop of Canterbury responded by dancing thoughtfully. Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said he was all for killing people who were suffering. A jury at Canterbury Crown Court was told that a male nurse planned to eat a 14-year-old girl, having bought an axe in Broadstairs.

The rate of inflation measured by the Consumer Prices Index rose sharply to 1.9 per cent, from 1.5 in May; as measured by the Retail Prices Index it rose to 2.6 per cent, from 2.4. Unemployment fell 121,000 to 2.1 million. Lord Hill of Oareford was nominated as Britain's next European Commissioner, to be replaced as leader of the House of Lords by Baroness Stowell of Beeston, a former head of corporate affairs for the BBC. Sir Bob Kerslake is resigning as head of the Civil Service and Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, is to swallow up his job. Newport Primary School in Leyton, east London, sent pupils fasting for Ramadan home at lunchtime for 'health and safety' reasons, but relented when parents said no one could collect them. …

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