The Week

Leading article

Ignoring Iran

Crises in the Gulf and Conservative leadership elections come around with unnerving regularity. It is not unknown for both to coincide — that happened in 1990, when Margaret Thatcher was overthrown in the lead-up to the first Gulf War. On that occasion, drama on the domestic front did not smother Britain’s response to the international

Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week | 27 June 2019

Home A neighbour of Boris Johnson, 55 (a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative party and hence for the prime ministership), recorded a loud argument Boris was having one night with Carrie Symonds, 31, in the flat in Camberwell they shared. The neighbour called the police (who later said ‘There were no offences or


Diary – 27 June 2019

I spent the early part of last week in London, filming what are known in the television trade as PTCs (‘pieces to camera’). These will form the connecting tissue for a three-part documentary series loosely based on my most recent book, The Square and the Tower. Ten years ago, I did a lot of this

Ancient and modern

Rory’s classic mistakes

If Rory Stewart had taken full advantage of his education at Eton and read classics at Oxford rather than PPE, he would not have made the basic mistakes that blew apart his short-lived campaign to become prime minister. Not that his failure was one of content: far from it. His views on public services and


Barometer | 27 June 2019

To debate or not to debate Is Boris Johnson wise to shun TV debates? — Prior to the 2015 Labour leadership election, TV debates had not been part of party leadership debates, and have only been part of general elections since 2010. — The first election to feature a TV debate was the 1960 US


Letters | 27 June 2019

Appeasement? Sir: Your editorial (‘Plan B’, 22 June) refers to the need for Boris Johnson, as prospective PM, to have ‘warm words for our European allies — even if we end up without a deal’. The use of the word ‘allies’ troubles me. The dictionary defines the word in context: ‘Any time there’s a disagreement