Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Trump visits, Change UK crumbles and a row over Tiananmen Square

8 June 2019

9:00 AM

8 June 2019

9:00 AM


President Donald Trump of the United States made a state visit to the United Kingdom, avoiding protesters by arriving at Buckingham Palace by helicopter. He brought quite a few of his family, visited Westminster Abbey and was given halibut and lamb at a state banquet. Proposing a toast, the Queen said: ‘After the shared sacrifices of the second world war, Britain and the United States worked with other allies to build an assembly of international institutions to ensure that the horrors of conflict would never be repeated.’ Trump joined the Queen in ceremonies to commemorate D-Day. Earlier, Trump had swapped insults with Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, and, asked by the Sun about the prospect of Boris Johnson becoming prime minister, had replied: ‘I think he would be excellent.’ To Theresa May, the Prime Minister, Trump said: ‘I think we will have a very, very substantial trade deal.’ Although she was resigning as party leader on 7 June, he added: ‘Stick around. Let’s do this deal.’ He arranged to meet Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit party, but declined to meet Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, who had boycotted the banquet. Larry, the Downing Street cat, found a refuge between the rear wheels of the Beast, the President’s bulletproof Cadillac.

In one day, 74 migrants were intercepted as they crossed the English Channel on eight boats. Peter Willsman, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee, was suspended from the party after a recording was published of him saying to a journalist: ‘This is off the record. It’s almost certain who is behind all this anti-Semitism against Jeremy [Corbyn]. Almost certainly it’s the Israeli embassy.’ Killdren, a band booked for Glastonbury this month, was criticised by some for the lyrics of its song ‘Kill Tory Scum’: ‘Even if it’s your dad or your mum, kill Tory scum.’

After the number of candidates for the leadership of the Conservative party had reached 13, James Cleverly and Kit Malthouse withdrew from the contest. Six of Change UK’s 11 MPs left to sit as independents, and Anna Soubry became the leader of the rump. Police said that they were pursuing ‘violent dissident republicans’ after a bomb was left under the car of an off-duty officer at a Belfast golf club.

Neil Woodford, a fund manager, suspended trading in his largest fund before Kent County Council could withdraw £263 million. Liverpool won the Champions League by beating Tottenham 2-0 in Madrid. Cases of gonorrhoea in England rose by 26 per cent between 2017 and 2018 to 56,259, the most since 1978.


A 39-year-old Iranian imam was sentenced in France to two years’ jail for helping migrants to cross the English Channel in inflatable boats, on the sale of which he received a commission, according to the prosecution. Having signed a free trade deal with Mexico on 30 November, President Trump imposed a 5 per cent tariff on imports, which would rise unless Mexico curbed illegal migration to the United States. Claudia Sheinbaum, the mayor of Mexico City, said that in schools from now on, ‘Boys can wear skirts if they want and girls can wear trousers if they want’.

On the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Mike Pompeo, the American Secretary of State, called upon China to ‘make a full, public accounting of those killed’. In response, a Chinese spokesman said: ‘These lunatic ravings and babbling nonsense will only end up in the trash can of history.’ A South Korean newspaper reported that Kim Hyok-chol, the envoy for US affairs appointed by Kim Jong-un, the ruler of North Korea, had been shot by firing squad with four other officials after the failure of Kim’s summit with President Trump in February. Twelve people were killed in a mass shooting at a government building in the state of Virginia; a suspect, DeWayne Craddock, shot dead by police, was said to be a disgruntled city employee.

At least 60 protesters were killed when troops opened fire in Khartoum. The Sudanese military cancelled an agreement to make a transition to civilian rule within three years and said that elections would be held within nine months. Eight climbers, led by the experienced British mountain guide Martin Moran, were missing after an avalanche on Nanda Devi in the Himalayas. A fissure opened on one side of the crater of Mount Etna, sending out lava that glowed red by night.                        CSH

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