Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Mo Farah’s secret, hot weather warnings and hot competition for the Tory leadership

16 July 2022

9:00 AM

16 July 2022

9:00 AM


The Conservatives began the process of finding a new leader, which involves balloting MPs and then sending two names for party members to choose between. Eight candidates initially qualified for the process set out by the 1922 Committee, by gaining nominations from 20 MPs: Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat and Nadhim Zahawi. Grant Shapps, Rehman Chishti and Sajid Javid withdrew before the off. Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, a fancied contender, had decided not to stand, as had Steve Baker, who was not widely fancied. Michael Gove (whom Downing Street had denounced a week earlier as a ‘snake’ when the Prime Minister, attempting to hold on to power, sacked him) did not stand, and nor did Priti Patel. Boris Johnson said he ‘wouldn’t want to damage anybody’s chances’ by offering his backing to a candidate.

The runner Sir Mo Farah, aged 39, revealed that he had been brought illegally from Djibouti to Britain aged nine by a woman he had never met and made to work as a servant in a family; his real name was Hussein Abdi Kahin. In one day, British officials brought to shore 442 migrants in 15 boats attempting to cross the Channel; more than 13,700 such migrants had arrived this year. Bernie Ecclestone, 91, who spent 40 years as the head of F1, was charged with fraud over an alleged ‘failure to declare to HMRC the existence of assets held overseas believed to be worth in excess of £400 million’. Members of the drivers’ union Aslef at eight train companies voted to strike in a dispute over pay. Heathrow airport set a limit of 100,000 for the number of passengers who could leave each day, 4,000 fewer than scheduled. GDP grew by 0.5 per cent in May after shrinking by 0.2 per cent in April. The Queen awarded the George Cross to the NHS in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus rose to one in 25 in England and one in 17 in Scotland (from one in 30 and one in 18 a week earlier), according to the Office for National Statistics. The Russian-born Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan became the women’s champion at Wimbledon. Novak Djokovic won the men’s title. In Co. Antrim, a man helping to construct the Antiville bonfire, a tower of pallets 50ft high, fell to his death. The UK Health Security Agency issued alerts because the weather was hot.


In the Donetsk region, Russian bombardment destroyed flats at Chasiv Yar near Kramatorsk (killing at least 34 and burying others in the rubble), flats in Siversk and a supermarket and housing in Druzhkivka. New missile strikes hit Kharkiv and Mykolaiv. Ukrainian forces counterattacked around Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine said it had destroyed a Russian ammunition depot in Nova Kakhovka, near Kherson; a US-made Himars rocket system was used in the attack. Police in the Kherson region said that Russian forces were burning fields of grain. As many as 7,200 Ukrainian service personnel had gone missing since the start of the Russian invasion, most being held in Russian captivity, according to Oleh Kotenko, Ukraine’s ombudsman.

In the UN Security Council, Russia, an ally of the Syrian government, vetoed a one-year extension to aid deliveries to the province of Idlib, limiting it to six months. Russian natural gas supplies to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline were halted for ten days from 11 July for annual maintenance, but Robert Habeck, the German economy minister, warned EU countries to be prepared for the gas not to resume. The population of the European Union shrank for a second year running by 171,000 from last year and more than 656,000 from January 2020. The population of India will overtake China’s 1.4 billion next year, according to UN figures.

Japan mourned Shinzo Abe, 67, prime minister between 2006-07 and 2012-20, who was shot dead in the street with a home-made gun. In Sri Lanka the presidential palace was stormed by protestors; a state of emergency was declared when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives. Nicaragua expelled nuns of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa, driving 18 in a bus to the border. Elon Musk said he was pulling out of a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter; Twitter said it would go to law. Photographs from the new James Webb space telescope showed light emitted 13 billion years ago. CSH

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