The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 27 October 2016

Portrait of the week | 27 October 2016
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The government approved the proposal in Sir Howard Davies’s report for the building of an extra 3,800-yard runway at Heathrow airport, two miles north of the existing two, opening perhaps in 2025, at an estimated cost of £17.6 billion. Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, called the decision ‘truly momentous’, but Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, said it was ‘undeliverable’. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, opposed the decision and Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP, succeeded in his application to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be appointed Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern. He thus triggered a by-election for his seat of Richmond Park, in which he means to stand as an independent. MPs would not vote on the proposal for at least a year. The Labour party was fined £20,000 by the Electoral Commission for failing to declare £123,748 of its general election expenses, including £7,614 relating to the 8ft slab nicknamed the Ed Stone, inscribed with pledges by Ed Miliband, its former leader.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, on returning from a Brussels summit, where her five-minute address at 1 a.m. was met by silence, told Parliament that Britain would be ‘the most passionate, enthusiastic and convinced’ supporter of free trade in the world after it leaves the EU. Mrs May met the leaders of the regional assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and gave them the telephone number of David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU. Northern Ireland’s appeal court ruled that it had been illegal for a baker’s called Ashers to refuse to make a cake with a message on its icing reading ‘Support gay marriage. Queer Space born 1998.’ Russia’s only aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, sailed in a naval convoy through the English Channel bound for the Mediterranean off Syria. Ofcom fined Vodafone £4.6 million for erroneous billing. Seven contenders threw their hats into the ring for election as the leader of the UK Independence party.

Sir Sigmund Sternberg, the metal dealer who fostered friendship between Jews, Christians and Muslims, died aged 95. Jimmy Perry, who with David Croft co-wrote the comedy series Dad’s Army, died aged 93. Raine, Countess Spencer, the daughter of Barbara Cartland and stepmother of Diana, Princess of Wales, died aged 87. Dave Cash, the radio disc-jockey, died, aged 74. Pete Burns, who enjoyed success in Dead or Alive with ‘You Spin Me Round’, and later showed off his plastic surgery on Celebrity Big Brother, died aged 57. Police said an 11-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by three boys aged less than ten in Teddington cemetery where they had been attending a gipsy funeral.


Men with sledgehammers demolished shelters at the migrant camp near Calais called the Jungle as about 4,000 of its 7,000 inhabitants were taken away in buses on the first two days of its evacuation, to be given the opportunity to claim asylum or face deportation. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that 2016 would be the worst year yet for deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean, with about 3,740 people having died up to 23 October. Indian court officials confiscated a train with 100 passengers on board to secure compensation owed by the railway department to a farmer in Karnataka state from whom it had acquired land in 2006.

Iraqi government forces in alliance with Kurds, Shia militias and Sunni Arab tribesmen continued their advance on Mosul, which had been held for two years by the Islamic State. The Islamic State made diversionary attacks on Kirkuk and Rutba. At least 59 cadets and guards were killed by Islamist terrorists at the Balochistan Police College in Quetta, Pakistan. Mortada Mansour, the chairman of the Egyptian football team Zamalek, blamed ‘sorcery’ for its defeat by the South African Mamelodi Sundowns.

Wily Walloons held up the signing of a trade deal known as Ceta between the European Union and Canada that had taken seven years to negotiate. Twenty-six sailors held hostage by Somali pirates since 2012 were released. Authorities in Shengzhou, Zhejiang Province, cancelled a scheme to give out a packet of tissues for every 50 cigarette ends handed in when volunteers collected five million cigarette ends. Bobby Vee, the singer whose hits included ‘Take Good Care of My Baby’ and ‘The Night Has a Thousand Eyes’, died aged 73. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith forbade the wearing of human ashes in jewellery.             CSH