The Week

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For weeks, Westminster has been full of rumours about the private life of a certain cabinet member. It was said he had started to visit a dominatrix in Earl’s Court but ended up falling in love with her and taking her to official functions. Like a Westminster remake of the film Pretty Woman, in fact,

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 14 April 2016

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, after spending a week parrying questions about his late father’s investment fund Blairmore, suddenly published a summary showing that on his own taxable income of £200,307 in the past year he had paid tax of £75,898. Downing Street said ‘potential prime ministers’ and chancellors should be expected to publish


Diary – 14 April 2016

With hindsight maybe it was silly for me to bleat, ‘As everyone knows, the Johnsons are neither posh nor rich’ on Newsnight just before my older brother published his tax returns showing the impressive sums he’s made in journalism and publishing. I can only imagine how the antlers of rival 12-point stags such as Niall

Ancient and modern

Tax returns to boast about

As Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell whinge away about how rich David Cameron’s family is, they might consider that in the last six years he has funded schools ’n’ hospitals to the tune of £402,283. How much have they put in? Since wealthy ancient Athenians loved to boast about the vast sums they contributed via property taxes


Barometer | 14 April 2016

Boss cuts The chief executive of the Co-operative Group, Richard Pennycock, asked for a pay cut, saying his job had got easier now that the business is more steady — not to mention smaller. His basic pay will fall from £1.25m to £750,000 and his overall pay will drop 60%. Some other bosses who have

From the archives

All quiet on the Western Front

From ‘Observing: an average day’, The Spectator, 15 April 1916: 5.10 a.m. The signaller on duty at the telephone has just said cheerfully, ‘5.30, Sir.’ I agree, and ask him if the wires are all right. They are! 5.50 a.m. Unroll the mufflers round my head and the blankets and kick off the sandbags. Then get off


Letters | 14 April 2016

In defence of Charles Sir: As a former full-time member of the Prince of Wales’s office, and a part-time equerry for 20 years, I can identify with some of HRH’s interests, just like Geoffrey Wheatcroft (‘How to save the monarchy’, 9 April). In my case we share a passion for churches and other historic buildings.