Portrait of the week

Portrait of the Week: pornography, ‘sulky livers’ and abortion

7 May 2022

9:00 AM

7 May 2022

9:00 AM

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Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, announced £300 million more in military aid for Ukraine. Speaking by video to the Ukrainian parliament, he said: ‘This is Ukraine’s finest hour, that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come.’ BP lost $24.4 billion by withdrawing from its shareholding in the Russian energy giant Rosneft, but would have otherwise made a profit of $6.2 billion in the first quarter of this year. Only 27,100 refugees from Ukraine had arrived in Britain by 27 April, the latest figures available, though 86,100 visas had been issued. At least 254 non-Ukrainian migrants were brought ashore from small craft in the Channel on 1 May, when the weather had improved after 11 days, and 293 the next day; more than 7,000 had arrived in 2022.

Neil Parish, the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, had the whip removed after two female Conservative MPs said they had seen him looking at pornography on his mobile phone in the Commons chamber. He explained he had originally been searching for Dominator farm machinery. He then applied for the stewardship of the Manor of Northstead, which would disqualify him from remaining an MP. Imran Ahmad Khan, the former Conservative MP found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy, was granted the stewardship of the three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham, which had the same effect. Boris Becker, thrice Wimbledon champion, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to two and a half years’ imprisonment for concealing assets of £2.5 million from his creditors after he was declared bankrupt in 2017. Alexanda Amon Kotey, 38, originally from Paddington, London, a member of the Islamic State terror cell known as ‘the Beatles’ was given eight life sentences by a Virginia court for his role in the murder of American hostages in Syria.


In the seven days to 2 May, 1,219 people had died with coronavirus, bringing total deaths (within 28 days of testing positive) to 174,912. In the previous week 2,207 had died. Numbers with Covid remaining in hospital in the United Kingdom fell from about 16,000 to about 13,000. Amanda Milling, the minister for overseas territories, was sent for talks with the acting premier of the British Virgin Islands, the former premier of which had been arrested in the United States for alleged drug trafficking and money laundering. The writer Elspeth Barker, widow of the poet George Barker, died aged 81.

Abroad

About 100 women and children who had spent more than 60 days sheltering underground at the Azovstal steelworks at Mariupol were evacuated with the help of the UN and Red Cross. Hundreds remained but Russia resumed its bombardment. Kyiv had been hit by missiles during the visit of António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN; in the attack a journalist died in a block of flats where she lived. Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin said that Chancellor Olaf Scholz was ‘acting like a sulky liver sausage’ by not visiting Kyiv. Lviv was hit by missiles and Odessa airport put out of use. Kharkiv repelled a Russian assault.

Asked how Ukraine could be Nazi if its president is Jewish, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said: ‘I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood… Wise Jewish people say that the most ardent anti-Semites are usually Jews.’ The EU hatched plans to stop buying Russian oil by the end of the year, though not gas. The Pope said he had offered to travel to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin to discuss the war in Ukraine; he had met Patriarch Kirill of Moscow by Zoom and said afterwards that Kirill must not make himself ‘Putin’s altar boy’.

A draft ruling from the US Supreme Court was leaked; it said the court was prepared to overturn Roe vs Wade, the judgment in 1973 that legalised nationwide abortion in the United States. ‘If this decision holds,’ President Joe Biden said, ‘It’s a fundamental shift in American jurisprudence.’ The Islamist militant group al-Shabab said it had killed more than 170 Burundian soldiers who were part of an African Union force in Somalia. The total in the world reported to have died with Covid reached 6,263,123 by 2 May. Four officials were sacked after an elderly patient in a Shanghai care home was taken away in a body bag while still alive. Jacky Hunt-Broersma, 46, a woman from Arizona with one leg, ran 104 marathons in as many days. Iraq was covered by a dust storm.

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