Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Boris vs Jeremy, Brexit party rallies and Hong Kong protests

6 July 2019

9:00 AM

6 July 2019

9:00 AM


Boris Johnson, the bookies’ favourite for the leadership of the Conservative party, would, if he became prime minister, ‘show the public sector some love’ said his supporter Matt Hancock. Jeremy Hunt, his rival for the leadership, said: ‘If you’re a sheep farmer in Shropshire or a fisherman in Peterhead… I will mitigate the impact of no-deal Brexit on you.’ The 160,000 members of the Conservative party, few of them public-sector workers, and even fewer sheep farmers or fisherfolk, were sent postal ballots from 6 July to vote for the new leader. The Speaker chose not to select an amendment by Dame Margaret Beckett and Dominic Grieve intended to stop Britain leaving the EU without an agreement by depriving some public services of funding in the event. Serco, the outsourcing company, was fined £19 million after charging the government for tagging prisoners who were no longer alive. Siteserv, a recycling company, was fined £40,000 for allowing 2,000 tons of refuse to combust spontaneously and burn for two weeks at a depot in Cowbridge, Glamorgan.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit party held a rally of 5,000 supporters in Birmingham to present 100 candidates for the next general election, but none of their names were disclosed. George Osborne, the former chancellor and present editor of the Evening Standard, and his wife, Frances, are to divorce after 21 years of marriage. Min Hogg, the founder of the World of Interiors, died aged 80. The body of a man was found in a garden in Clapham, south-west London, thought to be that of a stowaway fallen from an airplane from Kenya.

Chris Williamson, the Labour MP readmitted to the party last week after being suspended in February over things he had said about anti-Semitism, was suspended again after more than 100 Labour MPs wrote to the party chairman. The Times reported that two senior civil servants had said that Jeremy Corbyn, aged 70, might have to stand down due to ill health. Among the week’s stabbings were an 18-year-old man from Walworth, who went to A&E, and a 26-year-old woman from Croydon, who was eight months pregnant and left a baby son who survived her for four days.


As police stood by, demonstrators broke into the glass-fronted Legislative Council building in Hong Kong, spraying graffiti, unfurling Union flags and occupying it for hours. Hundreds of thousands marched peacefully on the same day in protest at a proposed law to allow extradition to China. Iran exceeded the limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium agreed in 2015 with world powers, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed. In Libya, an air strike on a detention centre outside Tripoli killed dozens of would-be migrants. Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, posted an angry poem on Instagram after one of his wives, Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein, went into hiding in London.

President Donald Trump of the United States, on a visit to South Korea after the G20 summit in Japan, invited Kim Jong-un, the ruler of North Korea, on Twitter to meet him at the Military Demarcation Line two days later, which he did, with Mr Trump stepping briefly into North Korea and Mr Kim briefly into the South. Earlier, Mr Trump had said that American companies could resume selling products to Huawei, the Chinese telecoms company. At the summit, President Vladimir Putin of Russia had said in an interview with the Financial Times that in the West, ‘the liberal idea has become obsolete’. Fourteen crew in a Russian nuclear-powered mini-submarine in the Barents Sea were killed by fumes in a fire.

After three days of wrangling, EU leaders nominated Ursula von der Leyen, the German Defence Minister, as President of the European Commission, to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker. Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was chosen as head of the European Central Bank and Charles Michel, the Prime Minister of Belgium, is to succeed Donald Tusk as President of the European Council. When the new European Parliament assembled, British Brexit party MEPs turned their backs during the anthem, and Catalans protested outside at three separatist MEPs being unable to take their seats. Magid Magid, the Green MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, wearing shorts, a baseball cap back-to-front and a T-shirt inscribed ‘F**k fascism’, said he was asked to leave the building.   CSH

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