The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 10 November 2016

Prince Harry defends his girlfriend; Sir Jimmy Young dies at 95; Theresa May insists Brexit is on track

Portrait of the week | 10 November 2016
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Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said she still expected to start talks on leaving the EU as planned by the end of March, despite a High Court judgment that Parliament must decide on the invoking of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that would set Brexit in train. Opinion was divided over whether the High Court had required an Act of Parliament or a vote on a resolution. The government appealed to the Supreme Court, which is to hear the case from 5 December. The judgment set off a confused game of hunt the issue. One issue was whether the press is allowed to be rude about judges. The Daily Mail’s headline had been ‘Enemies of the people’ and the Daily Telegraph’s ‘The judges versus the people’. On her way to India for a trade visit, Mrs May said: ‘I believe in and value the independence of our judiciary. I also value the freedom of our press.’ A snail from Nottingham with a left-spiralling shell was paired with another from Ipswich with a view to their mating.

Prince Harry objected to the ‘smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls’ about Meghan Markle, his girlfriend ‘a few months into a relationship’ , who is an American actress with a black mother. Sir Richard Henriques’ independent inquiry found that Operation Midland, Scotland Yard’s investigation into allegations of paedophilia by famous people, should have been abandoned ‘much earlier’ and entailed ‘grave’ errors; Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police commissioner said: ‘I am today issuing a public apology to Lord Bramall, Lady Brittan and Harvey Proctor.’ More than 200 prisoners in Bedford jail rioted and started fires. During a so-called Million Mask March in central London, police arrested two people for refusing to remove a face mask.

About 9,000 online customers of Tesco Bank had money stolen from their accounts over the weekend; Tesco refunded £2.5 million. Marks and Spencer set about closing 30 clothing stores and opening 200 new ‘Simply Food’ shops. A tram overturned in Croydon. Sir Jimmy Young, the light broadcaster who interviewed Margaret Thatcher 14 times, died aged 95. Andy Murray achieved world No. 1 ranking in men’s tennis. The jockey Freddy Tylicki was paralysed from the waist down after a fall when his mount Nellie Dean was caught in a four-horse pile-up at Kempton. Toblerone buyers complained about the bars having wider gaps between the chocolate peaks.


Donald Trump was elected President of the United States for the Republican party, beating Hillary Clinton, the Democrat candidate, and surprising most of the world. Mr Trump said: ‘I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.’ At his election headquarters supporters chanted: ‘Lock her up.’ In late-night bars some Democrat supporters shouted at the television. Others wept. The stock markets took it badly; the price of gold rose. Janet Reno, the US attorney general under President Bill Clinton, died aged 78. McDonald’s sued Florence council, claiming $20 million damages, after it was refused permission to open a shop in the Piazza del Duomo.

The pro-Kurdish HDP party in Turkey boycotted parliament in response to the arrest of its joint leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag. Michael Roth, the German Europe minister, said that people persecuted in Turkey were welcome to apply for asylum. ‘Europe, as a whole, is abetting terrorism,’ President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said in a televised speech. The Hungarian parliament defeated an attempt by Viktor Orban, the prime minister, to block the settlement of 1,294 refugees allocated by the EU. Islamic State set fire to at least 19 oil wells near Mosul as a coalition of Iraqi government forces and others pressed an attack to retake the city. Advancing forces found a mass grave at Hamam al-Alil, said to contain about 100 decapitated bodies. At the same time the Islamic State capital of Raqqa in Syria was attacked by predominantly Kurdish forces.

India suddenly withdrew 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, to expose ill-gotten gains. Rurik Jutting, a 31-year-old British banker educated at Winchester and Cambridge, was found guilty of sadistically murdering two Indonesian women in Hong Kong. A sinkhole 100ft across swallowed a street in the city of Fukuoka in Japan. The Australian senate defeated a government plan to hold a non-binding referendum, known there as a plebiscite, on same-sex marriage.   CSH