The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 1 February 2018

Also in Portrait of the Week: Donald Trump turns conciliatory in his State of the Union address

Portrait of the week | 1 February 2018
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The EU published its negotiating position on Britain’s period of transition, from 30 March 2019 until 31 December 2020. Britain would have to abide by the rules of the single market, customs union, free movement and decisions of the European Court of Justice, as well as new EU laws. Britain would have no representatives at the table. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chairman of the European Research Group among the Conservatives, said: ‘This will be the first time since the Norman Conquest the UK has accepted rules imposed by a foreign power without having any say over them.’ The UK economy expanded by a half per cent in the last quarter of 2017 according to the Office for National Statistics, which was better than expected. Capita said it would pay no dividend but make a £700 million share issue, only to see its share value fall by 40 per cent. Wetherspoon’s took steak off the menu temporarily after the Food Standards Agency stopped meat leaving the suppliers Russell Hume, although there was no indication that anyone had become ill.

The Crown Prosecution Service is to review all current rape and serious sexual assault cases in England and Wales, following the collapse of several trials through evidence not being disclosed to the defence. All 1.6 million people receiving Personal Independence Payments will have their claims reviewed after a court ruled that changes to its application were unfair to people with mental illness. There is ‘no gender bias’ in pay decisions at the BBC, according to a report by the auditors PWC. Claire Kober resigned as the leader of Haringey Council in the face of an influx of Momentum activists. Mark E. Smith, the lead singer of The Fall, died aged 60. Owen Paterson, the Conservative MP, broke his back in a riding accident.

Gary Haggarty, 45, a former leader of an Ulster Volunteer Force unit, who admitted the murders of five people, had a 35-year jail term reduced to six-and-a-half years in consideration of his role as a paid police informer for 11 years, providing information on 55 loyalist murders. Fred Scappaticci,72, said to have been a leading Army agent in the IRA, codenamed Stakeknife, was arrested and questioned about allegations of involvement in dozens of murders. Chris Parker, a homeless man who stole from victims of the Manchester Arena bomb attack, was jailed for four years and three months. The four ringleaders of the Hatton Garden safe deposit raid of 2015, aged between 63 and 78, must pay £27.5 million or serve another seven years in jail, a judge ordered.


President Donald Trump called for ‘one team, one people and one American family’ in his first State of the Union address, during which he promised to keep Guantanamo Bay open. The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 2.6 per cent in the last quarter of 2017, less than the 3 per cent expected. America published a ‘Putin list’ of 210 leading Russians as stipulated by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act passed last August, but imposed no sanctions against them. Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, died aged 91. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Sweden and then Norway. The 19-nation eurozone’s economy grew by 2.5 per cent in 2017. Italian police arrested a postman after half a ton of undelivered post dating back to 2010 was found in a garage.

An ambulance loaded with explosives killed more than 100 in a shopping street in Kabul, an atrocity claimed by the Taliban. Isis said it was responsible for an attack that killed at least 11 Afghan soldiers. Leo Varadkar, the Prime Minister of Ireland, announced a referendum in May on whether to change the constitutional ban on most kinds of abortion. In Paris, the Zouave statue on the Pont d’Austerlitz was submerged to his waist by the swollen Seine; in 1910, floods reached his neck.

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, said ‘I’m not a quitter’ in the plane on the way to a three-day visit to China, where she cemented a £200,000 deal to export pig semen from Northern Ireland. Southern Yemeni separatists, who had been backing the government against Houthi rebels, surrounded the presidential palace in Aden. Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb, the attorney general of Saudi Arabia, said that an anti-corruption drive has netted $106.7 billion in settlements; the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, where detainees were held, will reopen to the public this month. Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts offered a degree in yodelling.  CSH