The Spectator

Portrait of the week | 6 July 2017

Also in Portrait: the growing cost of Hinkley Point, North Korea’s missile test, Barack Obama’s new tartan


Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, urged colleagues to make the case for ‘sound money’; he said, ‘We must hold our nerve,’ as he came under pressure to end the public-sector pay cap of a 1 per cent rise a year. Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, thought that pay rises could be awarded in ‘a responsible way’; Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, did not think that taxes would need to increase to accommodate pay rises. Firemen boasted of a 2 per cent pay rise. The government won the vote on the Queen’s Speech by 323 to 309 after heading off an amendment by the Labour MP Stella Creasy, by suddenly announcing that women in Northern Ireland (where abortion is illegal) would be able to have free abortions on the NHS in England. Talks with the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein failed to restore a power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland. A tartan was registered in Barack Obama’s name in Edinburgh.

The retired judge appointed to head an inquiry into the fire last month at Grenfell Tower, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, a 70-year-old white man, was criticised by Emma Dent Coad, the newly elected Labour MP for Kensington, who said: ‘We need somebody who can actually understand human beings and what they have been through.’ Nicholas Paget-Brown resigned as leader of Kensington and Chelsea council and was replaced by another Conservative councillor, Elizabeth Campbell. Police thought that the total of those who died in the fire would not be known before the end of the year. Three hospitals in England failed fire safety checks on cladding round their buildings. Jeremy Corbyn made 20 appointments to his shadow front bench.

A delegation from the City of London took to Brussels proposals for a free-trade deal on financial services after Brexit.

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