Portrait of the week

Migrants rescued from Channel, PM shares platform with Sadiq Khan

Also in Portrait of the Week: Duke of Edinburgh unwell, Austin Reed chain to close, Zika Virus threat to Rio Olympics

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

4 June 2016

9:00 AM


Two British men were charged with immigration offences after the rescue by night of 18 Albanian migrants, two of them children, from an inflatable boat off Dymchurch, Kent. ‘We don’t want the English Channel turning into the Mediterranean with fleets of small boats coming over,’ said Chris Grayling, the Leader of the House of Commons and a campaigner for Britain to leave the EU. Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, Boris Johnson MP and Gisela Stuart, a Labour backbencher, said in an open letter to David Cameron, the Prime Minister, that the Conservative manifesto promise to reduce net immigration to ‘the tens of thousands’ was ‘plainly not achievable as long as the UK is a member of the EU, and the failure to keep it is corrosive of public trust in politics’. At the G7 summit in Japan, Mr Cameron repeated the scheme he had mooted in March of sending a British warship to waters off Libya to deter migrants and seize boats taking arms to the Islamic State. Lord Neill of Bladen, Patrick Neill, for some years Warden of All Souls, died aged 89. Peter Owen, the publisher, died aged 89.

Mr Cameron, launching a Britain Stronger In Europe ‘battle bus’, appeared on a platform with Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, describing him as ‘someone who is a proud Muslim, a proud Brit and a proud Londoner’. During the mayoral election campaign the Prime Minister had accused Mr Khan of ‘sharing platform after platform with extremists and anti-Semites’. Lord Waldegrave of North Hill, the Provost of Eton, told the government’s Chief Whip that he would stop sitting as a Tory peer if the government persisted in its plans to make employers ask job applicants whether they had been to private schools. The Duke of Edinburgh, aged 94, on ‘doctor’s advice’, missed events in Orkney for the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.

All 120 Austin Reed shops would close by the end of this month at the cost of 1,000 jobs, the company’s administrator said, as no realistic offer had been received for the business. The captain of England, Alastair Cook, aged 31, became the youngest player to score 10,000 Test runs. A man in his eighties escaped with minor injuries when his car crashed after he had driven more than five miles in the overtaking lane in the wrong direction down the M60.


About 700 migrants drowned in three days in a series of shipwrecks off the coast of Libya, the UN refugee agency said. Of those, nearly 100 died when a smugglers’ boat capsized within sight of an Italian navy vessel that rescued another 562 people. Within a few days, nearly 6,000 migrants trying to reach Europe illegally were rescued from flimsy craft in the Mediterranean. Off the island of Lefkada on the western coast of Greece, rescuers also picked up 29 migrants who had been making for Italy. Eight children and three adults were struck by lightning at a birthday party in a Paris park, leaving several in a critical condition.

The World Health Organisation rejected a call, in an open letter from health experts, for the Brazil Olympics to be postponed in order to halt the spread of the Zika virus. Kenya said that Dadaab, the world’s biggest refugee camp, which houses 300,000 Somalis, would close in November and its people would be repatriated. Soldiers of the Islamic State fought back as the Iraqi army and Shia militias tried to retake the city of Fallujah. Iran said that its citizens would not make the Hajj to Mecca this year; last year hundreds of Iranians died in a stampede. In April Spain saw an increase in tourist numbers of 11 per cent over the year before, attributed partly to the dangers of terrorism in other sunny holiday spots.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany shared an umbrella with President François Hollande of France at a cemetery near Verdun to mark the centenary of the battle there. Strikes against new labour laws spread in France. The United States warned that the Euro 2016 football championship being held in France could be a target of terrorists. Staff at Cincinnati Zoo shot dead Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla, which had grabbed a four-year-old boy who had fallen into the moat of its enclosure. The Swiss opened the 35-mile Gotthard base rail tunnel, the world’s longest and deepest. Moet Hennessy marketed a red wine called Ao Yun, grown at an altitude of 8,500 ft in Yunnan on the edge of the Tibetan plateau, and selling at €300 a bottle. CSH

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