The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 12 January 2017


Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, proposed a limit on incomes: ‘I would like to see some kind of high earnings cap, quite honestly,’ he said on the BBC’s Today. The London Underground went on strike for a day and Southern railway workers for three. Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein resigned as the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland in protest against the mishandling of a multi-million-pound energy scheme by Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist Party first minister, who was forced out of office in the power-sharing administration by his move. Mr McGuinness, who has spent a decade in the post, was also said to be suffering from a rare form of heart disease. Peter Sarstedt, the singer-songwriter, best known for his hit ‘Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?’, died aged 75.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said that Britain could not hang on to ‘bits of EU membership’. She added: ‘We’re leaving. We’re coming out. We’re not going to be a member of the EU any longer.’ This was taken to mean an end to membership of the single market, and the pound fell. In a speech a day later, Mrs May said that Brexit provided an ‘opportunity to fundamentally change Britain for the better’. She proposed what she called a ‘shared society’, exemplifying it by improved treatment of those with poor mental health. Downing Street called Sir Tim Barrow, Britain’s new ambassador to the European Union, a ‘tough negotiator’ who would bring ‘energy’ to Brexit talks. The cost of decommissioning oil and gas fields in the North Sea would be £53 billion, a fifth of it falling on the government in the next five years, according to Wood Mackenzie, the market researchers, rather than the £30 billion total previously estimated.

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