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Portrait of the week

Commons Speaker John Bercow takes a bold stand against Donald Trump

Also in Portrait of the Week: US judiciary throws up Trump’s travel ban; Alastair Cook quits as England Test captain

11 February 2017

9:00 AM

11 February 2017

9:00 AM

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John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said he was ‘strongly opposed’ to an address being made during a state visit by President Donald Trump, either in Westminster Hall or the Royal Gallery in the Lords: ‘I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations,’ he said. Lord Fowler, the Lord Speaker, told the Lords: ‘I was not consulted,’ and added: ‘I will keep an open mind and consider any request for Mr Trump to address this Parliament.’ Alastair Cook, aged 32, resigned as captain of the England Test cricket team after 59 Test matches; he is England’s highest scorer in Tests, with 11,057 runs.

David Jones, a Brexit minister, said in a debate on the European Union (notification of withdrawal) bill that MPs would have a say on the final draft Brexit agreement before it was voted upon by the European Parliament: ‘It will be the choice of leaving the EU with a negotiated deal or not.’ A white paper on housing referred to the ‘many barriers to people moving out of family homes that they may have lived in for decades’. ‘Our housing market is broken,’ Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, told MPs. ‘We have to build more.’ In January 174,564 new cars were registered, the most in 12 years. The energy-supplier Npower said it was to raise electricity prices by 15 per cent from March. One in 14 people in England was found by a BBC investigation to be on an NHS waiting list for treatment, 350,000 of them for more than 18 weeks. The RMT union characterised as a ‘betrayal’ an agreement between the operators of Southern railways and the drivers’ union, Aslef. RAF jets escorted a Pakistan International Airlines aeroplane to Stansted airport after reports of a ‘disruptive passenger’. A 41-gun salute marked the Queen’s 65 years on the throne.

Abroad


A federal judge in Seattle suspended President Donald Trump’s 90-day ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen entering America, and a 120-day bar on all refugees entering. Mr Trump ridiculed the ‘so-called judge’ on Twitter, but two days later an appeal court upheld the judgment against a request by the Department of Justice to restore the ban. Legal action continued. In Germany, Der Spiegel ran a cover illustration of Mr Trump holding the severed head of the Statue of Liberty and a large bloodied knife. Mike Pence, the US vice-president, cast a deciding vote to confirm the appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary. The 19 per cent of Swedish men who use snus, moist tobacco placed under the lip, were warned that the nicotine increased the risk of diabetes.

Iran carried out missile tests during an annual military exercise the day after President Trump imposed fresh sanctions. ‘If the enemy falls out of line, our missiles will pour down on them,’ said Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ aerospace division. In Ukraine, the town of Avdiivka was heavily shelled by pro-Russian rebels and left without water and electricity in freezing conditions. A car bomb killed Oleg Anashchenko, the leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, in eastern Ukraine. After five days of the largest street demonstrations since the fall of communism in 1989, the Romanian government dropped a decree that would have decriminalised offences of corruption where sums worth less than £38,000 were involved. In Afghanistan, dozens of people were lost under heavy snow in Nuristan.

The International Monetary Fund said that Greece ‘needs significant debt relief from its European partners’. François Fillon, the centre-right candidate for the French presidency, apologised for payments made to members of his family for parliamentary work, but he denied that the work did not exist. Marine Le Pen, the Front National candidate, spoke in Lyon against the ‘twin totalitarianism’ of globalisation and Islamic fundamentalism. Emmanuel Macron, the ex-Socialist now standing for his own party En Marche, also spoke in Lyon, attacking the Front National for betraying liberty, equality and fraternity. A French judge ordered ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy to stand trial on charges of illegally financing his campaign in 2012. An Egyptian man was shot and wounded by a French soldier guarding the Louvre in response to his attempt to attack a security patrol with a machete shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’. The University of Lagos banned both male and female students from wearing tight-fitting clothes.         CSH


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