The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 29 October 2015


After it was twice defeated in the Lords on its plans to reduce working tax credits, the government announced a review of the workings of Parliament, to be led by Lord Strathclyde, the former leader of the House of Lords. Peers had voted for a motion by Lady Hollis of Heigham to delay the measures until the introduction of ‘full transitional protection’ for those who would suffer loss, and for a motion by Lady Meacher to delay them until the government had responded to an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The IFS had said that three million working families would be on average £1,300 a year worse off. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, blamed the Lords for breaching a convention by defeating ‘a financial matter passed by the elected House of Commons’. He said he would return to the matter in the autumn statement on 25 November. Michael Meacher, the Labour MP, who had been married to Lady Meacher from 1962 to 1987, died, aged 75.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, visited Iceland in order to say that arrangements there and in Norway to trade with the European Union, but remain outside it, would not suit Britain. TalkTalk, the telecommunications company, told its four million current customers that their data might have been stolen in a cyber attack; police investigating the incident arrested a 15-year-old boy in Co. Antrim. More than 2,000 staff are to sue Morrisons, the supermarket, after personal and financial details were posted online; Morrisons denied it was responsible. The British economy grew by 0.5 per cent between July and September, a slower rate than the 0.7 per cent growth of the second quarter of 2015. A conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Mars was visible.

Tony Blair, the former prime minister, spoke about responsibility for the Iraq war in an interview with CNN.

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