Portrait of the week

Carillion crashes owing £1.5 billion: directors’ conduct is probed

20 January 2018

9:00 AM

20 January 2018

9:00 AM

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Carillion, the construction and service-provider with 20,000 employees and many contracts for the public sector, went into liquidation with debts of £1.5 billion, owing 30,000 businesses £1 billion. The government said it would pay employees and small businesses working on Carillion’s public contracts ‘to keep vital public services running rather than to provide a bailout on the failure of a commercial company’, as David Lidington, the minister for the Cabinet Office, told Parliament. Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, asked the Official Receiver to investigate the conduct of its directors; ‘Any evidence of misconduct will be taken very seriously,’ he said. The annual rate of inflation fell back a smidgen to 3 per cent in December, from 3.1 per cent the month before, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index; but, measured by the Retail Prices Index, it continued to rise, to 4.1 from 3.9 per cent. The Office for National Statistics prefers the CPIH (with H for housing), which fell to 2.7 from 2.8 per cent. There were outbreaks of measles in five areas.

Henry Bolton, aged 54, the leader of Ukip, dumped his 25-year-old girlfriend Jo Marney (for whom he had left his wife, who had given birth to their second child at St Pancras station in 2016), declaring: ‘As of last night the romantic side of our relationship is ended.’ The Mail on Sunday had published messages Ms Marney had sent saying Meghan Markle would ‘taint’ the royal family ‘with her seed’. Jon Lansman, the founder of the Momentum group, which supports Jeremy Corbyn, was voted on to the Labour Party National Executive Committee, along with two other Momentum candidates.


Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, said that the sum advertised before the EU referendum on the side of a bus was too small. It had said: ‘We send the EU £350 million a week — let’s fund our NHS instead,’ but the amount would rise to £438 million by the end of the post-Brexit transition period, he said. The Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence in court against Samson Makele, who had been charged in July 2017 with raping a woman after the Notting Hill Carnival in August 2016; it emerged that photographs on his phone showed the couple cuddling in bed. Ben Stokes, the England cricketer, was charged with affray; there had been a fight outside a Bristol nightclub on 25 September.

Abroad

President Donald Trump of the United States was reported by Senator Dick Durbin to have asked: ‘Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?’ People in Hawaii received a message on their mobile phones at 8.07 on Saturday morning saying: ‘Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.’ No correction was made for 38 minutes. In Turkey an aeroplane with 168 passengers left the runway at Trabzon (the ancient Trebizond) on the Black Sea and dropped down a muddy cliff, up which everyone climbed without much injury.

The EU sought to tighten conditions applying to Britain during its transitional period, up to the end of 2020, so that freedom of movement would continue, but Britain would need EU permission to continue current international trade agreements with non-EU countries. Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, said that Britain would be welcome to stay in the EU if it changed its mind about Brexit; ‘Our hearts are still open for you,’ he suggested. In California, police found 13 children captive in their parents’ house, some chained to beds. More than 1,000 young people in Denmark were charged with using Facebook Messenger to distribute indecent video clips of two 15-year-olds having sex. In Moscow, the sun was found to have shone for only six minutes during December,

Burma agreed to accept back 1,500 Rohingya refugees each week from Bangladesh. The Nigerian army released 244 people suspected of following Boko Haram who, it said, had been rehabilitated. Turkey, Russia and Syria objected to the United States training Kurdish forces to defend the border between Syria and Turkey. Turkish forces shelled the Kurdish enclave of Afrin. Oliver Ivanovic, a Serb party leader in Kosovo, was shot dead. The floor literally fell out of the Jakarta stock market when the mezzanine floor at the Indonesia Stock Exchange, built in 1997, collapsed, injuring 70 people. President Emmanuel Macron of France came to London, offering the loan of the Bayeux Tapestry and demanding that Britain should admit more asylum seekers.          CSH

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