The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 12 November 2015

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David Cameron, the Prime Minister, outlined four changes he sought in Britain’s membership of the EU. He wanted to protect the single market for Britain and others outside the eurozone; to increase commercial competitiveness; to exempt Britain from an ‘ever closer union’; and to restrict EU migrants’ access to in-work benefits. Mr Cameron put the demands in a letter to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council. David Lidington, the Europe minister, said that others in the EU could put forward ‘alternative proposals that deliver the same result’. In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry, Mr Cameron had said: ‘The argument isn’t whether Britain could survive outside the EU; of course it could. The argument is, “How are we going to be best off?”’ Mr Cameron flew to Malta for a summit on the migrant crisis.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that the Treasury, and the transport, local government and environment departments had agreed to 30 per cent cuts in spending. Reading jail was among Victorian prisons to be sold for housing and replaced by nine new prisons, to save £80 million a year. Unemployment fell by 103,000 but average earnings rose. Asked on television about Britain’s nuclear deterrent, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said: ‘If a prime minister said they would never press the nuclear button, the deterrent is then completely undermined.’ Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, accused Sir Nicholas of having ‘intervened directly in issues of political dispute’. Pat Eddery, the 11-times flat racing champion jockey, died aged 63.

A 66-year-old former member of the Parachute Regiment was arrested in Co Antrim by the ‘Legacy Investigation Branch’ of the Police Service of Northern Ireland investigating the events of Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.

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