The Spectator

Portrait of the Week – 9 February 2017

Also in Portrait of the Week: US judiciary throws up Trump’s travel ban; Alastair Cook quits as England Test captain

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John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said he was ‘strongly opposed’ to an address being made during a state visit by President Donald Trump, either in Westminster Hall or the Royal Gallery in the Lords: ‘I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations,’ he said. Lord Fowler, the Lord Speaker, told the Lords: ‘I was not consulted,’ and added: ‘I will keep an open mind and consider any request for Mr Trump to address this Parliament.’ Alastair Cook, aged 32, resigned as captain of the England Test cricket team after 59 Test matches; he is England’s highest scorer in Tests, with 11,057 runs.

David Jones, a Brexit minister, said in a debate on the European Union (notification of withdrawal) bill that MPs would have a say on the final draft Brexit agreement before it was voted upon by the European Parliament: ‘It will be the choice of leaving the EU with a negotiated deal or not.’ A white paper on housing referred to the ‘many barriers to people moving out of family homes that they may have lived in for decades’. ‘Our housing market is broken,’ Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, told MPs. ‘We have to build more.’ In January 174,564 new cars were registered, the most in 12 years. The energy-supplier Npower said it was to raise electricity prices by 15 per cent from March. One in 14 people in England was found by a BBC investigation to be on an NHS waiting list for treatment, 350,000 of them for more than 18 weeks. The RMT union characterised as a ‘betrayal’ an agreement between the operators of Southern railways and the drivers’ union, Aslef.

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