The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 13 October 2016

Donald Trump loses support over lewd and sexist comments; Samsung scraps smartphone that keeps bursting into flames

Portrait of the week | 13 October 2016
Text settings


The pound fell against the dollar and the euro, weakening by 19 per cent against the dollar from its level at the time of the EU referendum to lows last seen in 1985. The FTSE 100 index almost beat its highest-ever closing level. There was much unrooted talk about what votes Parliament should have on the Brexit process and when. A spokesman for Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said: ‘Parliament is of course going to debate and scrutinise that process as it goes on’ and would then perhaps vote on the ‘final deal’. Cuadrilla was given permission by the government to drill four shale-gas wells in Lancashire that would employ hydraulic fracturing. Wolfgang Suschitzky, the photographer, died aged 104. Some Tory MPs called for the commissioning of a new royal yacht.

Steven Woolfe, a Ukip MEP who wants to become its leader, had to stay in hospital for a few days after collapsing two hours after an altercation in Strasbourg with another Ukip MEP, Mike Hookem. Mr Woolfe was accused by some of having spoken to the Conservatives about a reconciliation between the parties. Diane Abbott became shadow home secretary in a front-bench reshuffle by Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party. Shami Chakrabarti, who joined the party in April to chair an inquiry into its alleged anti-Semitisim and was made a peer in September, became shadow attorney general. Dame Rosie Winterton, who had tried to intercede between Mr Corbyn and Labour MPs, was sacked as chief whip, to be replaced by Nick Brown. Sir Keir Starmer, who became shadow secretary of state for exiting the European Union, was among ten MPs back on the Labour front bench after leaving it over the summer. Newcastle and Gateshead were selected to hold quite a small exhibition in 2018 called the Great Exhibition of the North.

Boris Johnson, in his first speech in Parliament as Foreign Secretary, criticised Russia’s bombing of hospitals and civilians in Syria, warning that it was ‘in danger of becoming a pariah nation’. Police released e-fits of two men suspected of abducting and raping a 14-year-old girl on her way to school in Oxford. The Duchess of Cambridge visited Holland alone, having lunch with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, while her husband knighted Rod Stewart at Buckingham Palace. Wayne Rooney was dropped from the England football team for the game against Slovenia, a goalless draw. People in Devon and Norfolk were warned not to buy mattresses from men hawking them door to door, after some were found to be dirty, discarded and repackaged.


Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for the American presidency, was heard making lewd remarks on a 2005 tape obtained by the Washington Post: ‘I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything... Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.’ In a TV debate with Hillary Clinton, the Democrat candidate, he said: ‘I apologise to my family. I apologise to the American people, but this is locker-room talk.’ Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, was the most senior of several members of Congress who dropped support for Mr Trump.

Samsung scrapped production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after continuing reports of their bursting into flames; owners were advised to let them run down. Perhaps 900 people were found to have been killed in Haiti by Hurricane Matthew and the floods it brought. Andrzej Wajda, the great Polish film director, died aged 90. Tory Island, population 151, off County Donegal, was looking for a new parish priest after the retirement of the incumbent.

The besieged sector of Aleppo continued to be bombed. President Vladimir Putin of Russia cancelled a visit to France after the French government said talks would be confined to Syria. An Eritrean migrant died and his wife was injured in an accident involving a British car driver on a motorway near Calais, where dozens of migrants were trying to climb on to lorries. At least 14 people were killed in an attack on a Shia shrine in Kabul on Ashura, a Muslim holy day. The Australian opposition Labor party said it would block a plan by Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister, for a referendum on same-sex marriage. Scientists in Denmark were at work on a new variety of grass that would reduce the amount of methane that cows belch into the atmosphere.            CSH