Portrait of the week
Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, announced that Britain would send an extra 500 troops to Afghanistan, bringing its strength there to 10,000.
Floods swept Cumbria after 12.4 inches of rain fell in 24 hours (at Seathwaite), the most ever recorded in Britain.
Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, said during his speech at the Lord Mayor’s banquet that he wanted a meeting of allies in London in January about Afghanistan, to set a timetable and ‘identify a process for transferring district by district to full Afghan control’.
Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said that British forces would be fighting the Taleban in Afghanistan until at least 2014, by which date the Afghan National Army would ‘be able to take the lead on security across the country’.
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 Gordon Brown is prepared to campaign actively for Mr Tony Blair, whom he replaced as Prime Minister, to be the first permanent president of the European Council of the European Union, Downing Street said.
On the brink of a planned national postal strike, Royal Mail announced it was recruiting 30,000 temporary staff to deal with the existing backlog and the normal Christmas rush, twice the number usually taken on.
Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, is to pay back £12,415.10p that he claimed in expenses between 2004 and 2008
A speedy round-up of the year's news