The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 27 October 2016


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.

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