The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 6 April 2017

Also in Portrait of the Week: Donald Trump threatens North Korea; Labour suspends Ken Livingstone for two years

Portrait of the week | 6 April 2017
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Theresa May, the Prime Minister, visited Saudi Arabia without covering her hair, or even wearing a hat. Earlier, asked whether Britain’s response to Spain’s ambitions to rule Gibraltar meant war-war or jaw-jaw, said: ‘It’s definitely jaw-jaw.’ She was responding to a hoo-ha over remarks by Lord Howard of Lympne, a former leader of the Conservative Party, about a paragraph at the end of draft negotiation outlines circulated by Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, that said: ‘No agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.’ Lord Howard had said on television that ‘another woman prime minister sent a task force halfway across the world to protect another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country’.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said that patients faced longer delays before knee and hip replacements as a ‘trade-off’ for improvements in other areas. Nicola Sturgeon flew to California after signing a climate-change agreement with the state. Earlier, she had formally asked Mrs May for another independence referendum. The National Trust was accused of ‘airbrushing’ Easter from its activities by branding a children’s pursuit ‘Cadbury’s Egg Hunt’; the Prime Minister called the omission of the word Easter ‘absolutely ridiculous’. A house in Kingston, Surrey, worth more than £1 million, on which basement works were being carried out, collapsed into rubble.

The Chief Rabbi accused the Labour Party of ‘failing the Jewish community’ by not expelling Ken Livingstone, who was suspended by a party tribunal for two years (one already accounted for) after saying last April: ‘When Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.’ Thirteen people were charged in connection with an attack on a 17-year-old Iranian Kurdish asylum seeker in Croydon which left him unconscious. Darcus Howe, the Trinidadian who became prominent in protests against racialism in Britain in the Seventies, died aged 74. A 28-day limit on police bail has come into force in England and Wales. After police mounted river searches and scrambled a helicopter in search of a nine-year-old boy in Gateshead, he was found hiding under his bed.


Before a meeting with Xi Jinping, the ruler of China, President Donald Trump of the United States said: ‘If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.’ North Korea fired a missile into the Sea of Japan on the eve of the meeting. Welcoming President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt to the White House, Mr Trump said: ‘You have a great friend and ally in the US and me.’ Michael Flynn, the US National Security Adviser from 20 January to 13 February, said he was willing to testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees in exchange for immunity from prosecution. At least 262 people died in a mudslide in Mocoa, Colombia.

At least 72 people were killed in a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said that air strikes been made by Syrian government or Russian jets. A bomb killed 14 people in the St Petersburg metro on a day that President Vladimir Putin was visiting the city; the authorities blamed a man who died in the attack, Akbarzhon Jalilov, a naturalised Russian, born in Kyrgyzstan in 1995. China imposed restrictions on Muslim Uighur people in the western province of Xinjiang by criminalising ‘abnormal’ beards, wearing veils and a refusing to watch state television. A bomb for which the Taleban said they were responsible, at a Shia mosque in the city of Parachinar in north-west Pakistan, killed at least 22 people. Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the Russian poet, died aged 84.

The Venezuelan supreme court took the legislative powers of the opposition-dominated national assembly into its own hands, but three days later reversed its decision. The president of Paraguay sacked the interior minister and the chief of police after Congress was set on fire by protesters against the president standing for a second term of office. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa sacked his finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, leading to political calls for his resignation and the downgrading by S&P of the country’s credit rating to junk status. A 59.6 carat pink diamond found by De Beers at a mine in Africa in 1999, sold for a record £57 million at an auction in Hong Kong.          CSH