The Spectator

Portrait of the Week – 7 November 2009

Mr David Cameron, the leader of the opposition, had to explain why a ‘cast iron guarantee’ by the Conservatives to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty would no longer be possible, now it had been ratified.

Mr David Cameron, the leader of the opposition, had to explain why a ‘cast iron guarantee’ by the Conservatives to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty would no longer be possible, now it had been ratified.

Mr David Cameron, the leader of the opposition, had to explain why a ‘cast iron guarantee’ by the Conservatives to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty would no longer be possible, now it had been ratified. The Royal Bank of Scotland will sell 318 branches and the Lloyds banking group more than 600 in a move demanded by the European Commission to avoid a breach of competition rules. Lloyds announced a £13.5 billion rights issue, the biggest ever attempted in Britain, in an attempt to free itself from the government’s asset protection scheme. Mr Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said he would put another £30 billion of taxpayers’ money into the banks. The European Commission gave approval to the splitting of Northern Rock, with the sale of a retail banking segment. Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, met Sir Christopher Kelly, two days before the publication of his much-leaked proposals for reforming MPs’ expenses, to tell him that ‘politics must never be allowed to become the preserve of the independently wealthy’, even though, by the time they met, the proposals were already at the printer’s. One leaked proposal was that MPs should no longer employ close relatives. Mrs Harriet Harman, the Leader of the Commons, said it would be unfair immediately to sack wives working for MPs. Mr Tony McNulty, a former minister, apologised to the House after the Standards and Privileges Committee found that he had claimed for the running costs of a house where his parents lived, which were ‘not wholly and exclusively incurred in connection with his parliamentary duties’; he paid back £13,837.

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