Portrait of the week

Portrait of the Week: Brexitry, Jaguar and the Lib-Dems’ non-leader

22 September 2018

9:00 AM

22 September 2018

9:00 AM


Britain was overwhelmed by Brexitry. Before flying off to an EU summit in Salzburg, Theresa May, the Prime Minister, interviewed on Panorama, said that if Parliament did not ratify the Chequers plan, ‘I think that the alternative to that will be having no deal.’ The International Monetary Fund warned against ‘a no-deal Brexit on WTO terms that would entail substantial costs for the UK economy’. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: ‘We must heed the clear warnings of the IMF.’ Mr Hammond was said to have suggested in cabinet that Britain might have to remain a member of the EU beyond 29 March next year, but he was ‘slapped down’ by Mrs May. Storm Ali, the first of the season, named after Mohammed’s son-in-law, sent debris flying in Scotland.

Free movement from the EU should end after Brexit, and Britain should allow no preferential access to the labour market for citizens of any other country, according to a report from the Migration Advisory Committee commissioned by the government. The office of Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, was said to recognise that a hard border with Northern Ireland could be avoided by technology. But it seemed to envisage a border between Britain and Northern Ireland rather than one between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The number of vapers in Britain was found to have grown to more than three million — four times as many as in 2012.

Jaguar Land Rover said it was putting 1,000 workers at its Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham on a three-day week until Christmas; customers were said to be worried that the government would make diesel vehicles expensive and unsaleable. BMW brought forward the month’s summer maintenance shutdown at its Mini factory in Oxford to April 2019, to reduce any ‘possible short-term parts-supply disruption’ associated with Brexit. The Liberal Democrats met in Brighton, where Gina Miller, an enemy of Brexit, said: ‘I am not addressing you as leader-in-waiting.’ Britain froze direct financial aid to the Zambian government because of worries about corruption. Frank Field, the independent Labour MP, called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead a consortium of ‘good people’ to stop the collapsed payday lender Wonga being sold to ‘another loan shark’. Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, the long-standing companion of John Betjeman, died aged 92.


Russia and Turkey said they were establishing a demilitarised zone nine to 15 miles wide between Syrian government forces and rebel forces in the province of Idlib. Syrian missiles shot down a Russian military aeroplane with the loss of all 15 on board, but Russia blamed Israel for giving too little notice that its own aircraft were engaging in a raid on Syrian positions at the time. The Emir of Qatar gave Turkey, one of its supporters, a Boeing 747-8 worth about $500 million amid criticism that Turkey had planned to buy such a private jet during an economic crisis that has seen the lira fall 40 per cent this year. Germany’s domestic security chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, was forced to resign as head of the federal BfV agency after casting doubt on some videos purporting to show foreigners being hounded in Chemnitz.

On the eve of a vote to confirm the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University, accused him of having assaulted her sexually in 1982, when he was 17 and she 15. The United States announced new tariffs on 6,000 items from China, including handbags, textiles and rice, worth $200 billion; the Chinese retaliated with tariffs on American goods such as liquefied natural gas. Yusaku Maezawa, 42, a Japanese billionaire, booked a return journey to the moon in 2023 with Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. Prosecuting people who use cannabis privately or grow their own, is unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled. Coca-Cola was in talks about developing a ‘non-psychoactive cannabidiol’ drink.

Dozens of people in the Philippines died in landslides in the wake of Typhoon Mangkhut. Flooding badly affected South and North Carolina after Hurricane Florence made landfall as a tropical storm. Videos of the beefy President Nicolás Maduro tucking into a meal at an expensive steak restaurant in Istanbul annoyed many Venezuelans, 64 per cent of whom had reported losing weight because of the country’s economic woes.

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