Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: a new royal baby, more Brexit rows and the Trump-Macron bromance

28 April 2018

9:00 AM

28 April 2018

9:00 AM


No. 10 insisted: ‘We will not be staying in the customs union or joining a customs union.’ The undertaking came after a defeat for the government on the matter in the House of Lords and before a vote in the House of Commons. The government proposed two alternatives: one being a ‘customs partnership’ in which the UK would collect tariffs on the EU’s behalf on goods coming from other countries, and the other being a ‘highly streamlined customs arrangement’. Jacob Rees-Mogg called the notion of a customs partnership with the EU after Brexit ‘completely cretinous’ and remarked that Theresa May, the Prime Minister, ‘is carrying out the will of the British people but it’s hard to read what level of enthusiasm she has for it’. In unseasonal heat, Britain managed to go for three days without using coal to generate electricity.

The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a boy weighing 8lb 7oz at St Mary’s Hospital, London; he is fifth in line to the throne behind his elder sister, Charlotte, under the Succession to the Crown Act, 2013. The Queen was obliged to celebrate her 92nd birthday by listening to Shaggy, Sting and Craig David at the Albert Hall. A statue by Gillian Wearing of Millicent Fawcett the suffragist holding a tea towel bearing the words ‘Courage calls to courage everywhere’ was unveiled in Parliament Square, 59 years after a statue of her husband Henry in Vauxhall was destroyed by Lambeth council.

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, kept on apologising over the mistreatment of Commonwealth immigrants who had come to live in Britain before 1973. ‘Anyone from the Windrush generation,’ she said, ‘who now wants to become a British citizen will be able to do so’, without having to pay fees. The Labour MP David Lammy said they were being offered something that was already their right. The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council met Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, and asked him to resolve cases of alleged anti-Semitism in a ‘fixed timescale’. Paul Pester, the chief executive of TSB, said he was ‘deeply sorry’ about online customers being locked out of their accounts for four days; some customers could see others’ account details. Dale Winton, the presenter of television shows like Supermarket Sweep and Pets Win Prizes, died aged 62. Teachers reported that they had to display digital clocks in A-level examination halls because candidates found it hard to tell the time on a clock with hands.


President Donald Trump of the United States gave every sign of being in love with President Emmanuel Macron of France, who was paying a state visit. ‘We do have a very special relationship,’ he said. ‘He is perfect.’ Before he arrived, Mr Macron urged America to extend an agreement with Iran limiting its nuclear programme because there was no ‘plan B’. President George H.W. Bush, aged 93, was taken to a hospital intensive care unit with an infection, a week after the death of his wife, Barbara.

A man drove a van for two-thirds of a mile down Yonge Street, Toronto, repeatedly mounting the pavement and running into people, killing 10 and injuring 15. Police arrested Alek Minassian, 25, who was charged with ten murders and 13 attempted murders. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria called ‘satanic’ an attack on St Ignatius Catholic church in the village of Mbalom in Benue state, that left 16 dead, including two priests. Saudi Arabia threatened to bar Nigerians from this year’s hajj to Mecca lest they spread Lassa fever, according to Nigerian Muslim sources. An air strike by the Saudi-led coalition was reported to have killed 20 at a wedding party in northern Yemen. A bomb killed at least 57 people in a queue at a voter-registration centre in Kabul; Isis said it had been behind the bombing.

Serzh Sargsyan resigned as the prime minister of Armenia after two weeks of street protests against his holding on to power after having held two terms as president. South Korea sought to please Kim Jong-un, the ruler of North Korea, by serving him Swiss rösti at lunch at the summit in the demilitarised zone. The Finnish government decided not to extend a trial in which 2,000 unemployed had, since January 2017, been paid a basic income of £490 a month. A rare Marsican bear died when conservationists in the Apennines set about fitting it with a radio collar.  CSH

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