21st Century Britain timeline

21st century timeline, Britain, Brexit

Here is a timeline for 21st century Britain – the story so far…
This has become more detailed as time has passed. If you have suggestions for events that you think should be included, please submit them via the contact page.

Click/tap 2021 to skip to that year and the following decade.


UK forces intervene in the civil war in Sierra Leone.
Parliament passes the Freedom of Information Act, granting public right of access to information held by public authorities, with certain limitations.
The Big Brother reality TV series launched on Channel 4.  It featured eleven contestants, isolated from the outside world for several weeks in a custom-built house, where they were filmed and recorded.


Foot and mouth crisis hits farmers.
The Eden Project opens in Cornwall.
Libyan intelligence agent, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is found guilty of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
9/11.  On 11th September, Islamic al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four aircraft and flew them at targets in the USA. Two are flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, a third into the Pentagon and a fourth crashes after passengers tackle the hijackers.  Almost 3,000 people are killed (67 of them British) and thousands more injured.
Prime Minister Tony Blair offers US President Bush British support for a campaign against international terrorism. The RAF joins in strikes against targets in Afghanistan. British troops are deployed as part of a NATO force.  US, British and other allied forces remained in Afghanistan for 20 years.


HM Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Golden Jubilee – 50 years.
The last coal mine in Scotland closes.
Meanwhile…on 29 March, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia became members of NATO.  It was the largest enlargement in the alliance’s history.


The UK joins a US-led military invasion of Iraq, ostensibly to end the country’s support for terrorism and because it is alleged to have ‘weapons of mass destruction’.
England wins the Rugby World Cup, narrowly defeating Australia 20-17 in the final.


The Hutton Report, the result of an investigation into the suicide of government scientist David Kelly, clears the government of any wrongdoing.
Ten new states join the European Union – Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Facebook is launched in the USA.
The Indian Ocean tsunami kills in excess of 200,000 people.


London bombings of 7/7 – 52 people are killed and about 700 injured in four Islamist suicide bomb attacks on London’s transport network.


21 April – HM The Queen’s 80th birthday.
Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko is murdered in London having ingested radioactive polonium.  Suspicion later falls on ex-KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi, sparking a diplomatic row with Russia.
Daniel Craig stars as the latest James Bond in Casino Royale.


Gordon Brown replaces Tony Blair as Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party.
Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the 7th and final book in the series, is published.
The surviving members of Led Zeppelin perform their first full-length concert in 27 years at London’s O2 Arena.
Meanwhile – Apple launch the iPhone.


Global financial crisis plunges the UK into recession.
Meanwhile – Barack Obama becomes the first black, and the 44th, President of the United States.


Britain withdraws most of its troops from southern Iraq.
Meanwhile – Albania and Croatia joined NATO.


The general election in May leaves the Conservative Party as winners but without an overall majority in the House of Commons.  Conservative leader David Cameron forms the first coalition since the Second World War, with the Liberal Democrats led by Nick Clegg.
The coalition government announces large-scale public spending cuts aimed at reducing UK’s budget deficit.


In a wider context – the Arab Spring – revolutions and protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and several other Arab countries.  The Syrian civil war begins.
Britain plays a prominent part in the international intervention in the conflict in Libya.
Prince William married Catherine (Kate) Middleton in Westminster Abbey on 29 April.  They subsequently took the titles the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The government announces a public inquiry, the Leveson Inquiry, into phone hacking and police bribery by now defunct the News of the World newspaper, and the culture and ethics of the British newspaper industry in general.
Jimmy Savile, DJ, fund-raiser and eccentric media personality, died.  After his death, it emerged that he had been a prolific and predatory sex offender.
The killing of 29-year old Mark Duggan by police is a catalyst for widespread rioting and looting in many poorer areas of London, and in several other English cities.
In a wider context – Terrorist Osama bin Laden is killed during a US raid.


HM the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – 60 years.
Britain hosts the hugely successful Summer Olympics and Paralympics.


British Army Drummer Lee Rigby is hacked to death in south London by two Islamic extremists.
The Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a son George – heir to the throne after his grandfather, Charles, and father, William.
The House of Commons votes against UK military involvement in Syria.


Support surges for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in local and European elections.
Thousands of yellow bikes appear in Yorkshire to celebrate the start of the 101st Tour de France.
In September, a referendum in Scotland rejects independence (cessation from the UK), with 55% opting to remain within the United Kingdom and 45% favouring departure.
Same-sex marriage becomes legal in England, Wales and Scotland.
The UK ends combat operations in Afghanistan.


At the general election in May, the Conservative Party win a majority – against the predictions of pollsters.  Its coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, lose all except 8 seats.  UKIP wins nearly 4 million votes, but just 1 seat; and the Scottish National Party wins all but 3 seats in Scotland, becoming third largest party in parliament.
On 9 September, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning UK monarch ever, after Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years and 7 months.


21 April – HM The Queen’s 90th birthday.
Iranian-British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained by the Iranian authorities on spying charges, marking the beginning of a long-running saga to free her from captivity.
Outsiders Leicester City Football Club win the Premier League.
MP Jo Cox was fatally shot and stabbed as she was about to hold a constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire.  Her murderer, right-wing terrorist Thomas Mair, was subsequently given a whole life sentence. Jo Cox famously said, ““We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”
In a national referendum in June, the UK narrowly voted to leave the European Union.  Prime Minister David Cameron resigned and was succeeded by former home secretary, Theresa May.


Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee – 65 years.
On 29 March, the Prime Minister invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, beginning the UK’s withdrawal (nicknamed ‘Brexit’), from the European Union (EU).
Islamist Khalid Masood kills five people, including a police officer, and injured 45, driving a car along the pavement on Westminster Bridge and attempting to break into Parliament.
In May, a homemade bomb packed with shrapnel killed 23 people and injured more than 500 at Manchester Arena after a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande.
In June, three Islamic terrorists drove a van at people on London Bridge and subsequently rampaged through the area with knives. 8 were killed and 48 injured.  The terrorists were shot dead by police.
A disastrous fire at Grenfell Tower, a block of flats in North Kensington, London, in which 71 people died, highlights inadequate safety measures in tower blocks.
The June general election called by Prime Minister Theresa May, in the hope of increasing her majority, resulted in a narrow Conservative victory and a minority government supported by the Northern Irish Democratic Unionists.


In February, the UK was battered by some of the worst weather in decades, nicknamed ‘the Beast from the East’.  17 people died.
Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent, novichok, in the historic city of Salisbury.  Britain blamed Russia for the attack, sparking a diplomatic crisis. 153 Russian diplomats were expelled from 29 countries.
Political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was exposed for gathering data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles without people’s consent.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned in the wake of the Windrush scandal, in which people, mostly of Caribbean heritage, were illegally denied rights, or even deported from the UK.
Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales married US actress Rachel Meghan Markle in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.  They took the titles the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
England was defeated 2-1 by Croatia in the semi-finals of the World Football Cup in Russia.
A Trump baby blimp flew over London during the US President’s visit to Britain.
The 96-year old Duke of Edinburgh undertook his last solo public engagement.
In December, Prime Minister Theresa May survived a vote of no confidence in her leadership, but her Brexit plan had still not been agreed by Parliament.


High street bakery chain Greggs launched a meat free sausage roll.
China became the first nation to land a spacecraft on the dark side of the moon.
The Office for National Statistics reported that knife crime in England and Wales was at its highest level since records began in 1946.
Inspired by the teenage Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, thousands of school pupils across the UK went on strike as part of a global campaign for action on climate change.
Flooding in Derbyshire resulted in the evacuation of 1500 residents of Whaley Bridge and nearby communities.
World leaders expressed concern over major fires in and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
Security concerns arose over the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network.
In Paris, a disastrous fire wrecked the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame.
Prime Minister Theresa May resigned as Conservative Party leader.  She was replaced by Boris Johnson.
11.7 million UK TV viewers watched England lose 1-2 to the USA in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.  It was the most-watched British television broadcast of the year.
14 July was dubbed ‘Super Sunday’.  England narrowly defeated New Zealand in a nail-biting Cricket World Cup final at Lord’s; Lewis Hamilton won a record sixth Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone; and in the Wimbledon men’s tennis final, Serbian Novak Djokovic beat Swiss Roger Federer in the longest ever final at four hours 57 minutes.
US citizen, Anne Sacoolas, was involved in a fatal road accident in which 19-year old motorcyclist Harry Dunn had died. Mrs Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity and fled the UK.
39 Vietnamese immigrants were found suffocated to death in a refrigerated lorry container in Essex.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, announced he was stepping down from public duties.
In the general election on 12 December, the Conservative Party achieved a majority of 80 in the House of Commons, with 365 seats.  The Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, was reduced to 203 seats – their lowest proportion of seats since 1935.
On 20 December, MPs voted in favour of the Brexit withdrawal agreement by 358 to 234, paving the way for the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 January 2020.
On 25 December, Gavin and Stacy’s Christmas Day TV special was watched by 11.6 million people, the biggest festive ratings success in more than a decade.
Meanwhile, news seeped out of China that the authorities were treating dozens of cases of a new coronavirus in the provincial metropolis of Wuhan.


Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced plans to “step back as senior members” of Britain’s royal family.
The first two cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom were confirmed on 31 January.
The United Kingdom and Gibraltar formally withdrew from the European Union and an 11-month transition period began, during which they remained in the Single Market and Customs Union.
The Government confirmed it was looking at the feasibility of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The WHO named the Coronavirus disease ‘COVID-19’.
A study showed that life expectancy in England had not grown for the first time in more than 100 years.
The first death from the coronavirus in the UK was confirmed on 5 March.
The WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.  The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the first of many measures aimed to protect the economy and jobs.  These came to include the furlough scheme, which paid 80% of wages for those employed, but unable to work, up to £2,500 per month.
13 March – normal life began to shut down in the UK.  Local elections were postponed, the Premier Football League season was suspended and there was panic-buying at shops, particularly of items such as pasta, toilet paper and anti-bacterial gel.
16 March – Prime Minister Johnson advised people to avoid non-essential travel and contact with others, including at pubs and other social venues, and to work from home if possible.
20 March – Cafes, pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres were ordered to close.  On 23 March, a UK-wide lockdown was announced.
26 March – the first of a nationwide weekly ‘clap for carers’ tribute, every Thursday at 8pm.
Keir Starmer was elected as the leader of the Labour Party, succeeding Jeremy Corbyn.
Queen Elizabeth II broadcast to the nation, paying tribute to health and other key workers, saying that the UK will ultimately succeed against the coronavirus and thanking people for following restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson went into intensive care suffering from the coronavirus.
‘Captain Tom’, a 99-year-old war veteran, raised over £32 million for the NHS by walking more than 100 laps of his garden.
There was a crisis in the supply of essential PPE to the healthcare sector.  Thousands of items of protective gowns for the NHS ordered from Turkey failed to meet required standards.
To replace the street parties and other celebrations originally planned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May, people decorated their houses with bunting, had tea on their doorsteps and joined in a nationwide rendition of Vera Lynn’s wartime song, ‘We’ll Meet Again’.
It emerged that Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s senior adviser, ignored lockdown restrictions, drove 260 miles to his parents’ home in Durham and had symptoms of the virus whilst doing so.
6 June – thousands attended anti-racism protests throughout the UK following the killing by police of George Floyd, an American with African heritage, in Minneapolis, USA.  Most attendees breached lockdown restrictions.  The following day, a mob in Bristol pulled down a Victorian statue of Edward Colston, a 17th century slave trader and city benefactor.  In London, a statue of Winston Churchill was daubed “was a racist.”  An estimated 1,000 thugs descended on Westminster on 13 June, ‘to protect Churchill’s statue’ and proceeded to attack police and journalists.
In June, non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants started to reopen, but face coverings became mandatory indoors in public places, including public transport.
A major incident was declared by the local authority in Bournemouth after thousands of people arrived on beaches, in defiance of requests to stay away.
Construction work began on the HS2 high-speed rail project.
There were reports of rising cases of COVID-19 and talk of a second wave.
A new three-tier system was announced for England, to help control the virus.  Just to be different, Scotland later announced a 5-tier system.
A Liberian oil tanker, suspected to having been hijacked by Nigerian stowaways, was stormed by the Special Boat Service off the Isle of Wight.
31 October – a new four-week lockdown was announced for England, ending on 2 December.
The UK terror threat level was raised to ‘severe’, following terrorist attacks in France and Austria.
November 7 – Joe Biden was elected as the 46th President of the USA, a result disputed by the incumbent, Donald Trump.
The leaders of the four nations of the UK agreed plans to allow up to three households to form a ‘Christmas bubble’ between 23 and 27 December.
2 December – The UK approved the new Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the first country in the world to do so.  Enough was ordered to vaccinate 20 million people. On 8 December, 90-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to be vaccinated with it.
The Government announced the identification of a new, more infectious, strain of COVID-19.
The planned relaxation of restrictions over Christmas was limited to Christmas Day only.  Everyone was told to stay local and non-essential shops were closed.  Scotland banned travel to/from other parts of the UK. Wales announced a return to lockdown.
24 December – after months of sabre-rattling and seeming deadlock over a Brexit deal, an agreement between the UK and the EU was finally, at the last minute, reached.
25 December – Britain enjoyed the quietest Christmas anyone had ever known.  The Queen’s Christmas message topped the TV ratings, with an audience of 8.14 million.  ‘Call The Midwife’ came second, with 5.43 million. UK deaths from Coronavirus exceeded 70,000. In under a year, the virus killed more than the total number of civilians killed in almost six years during the Second World War.


On 4 January, due to massively increasing infections and deaths, the Government announced a return to full lockdown in England.  Tougher restrictions were announced in Scotland too.
A second vaccine against COVID-19, developed by Oxford–AstraZeneca, was rolled out.
In the USA on 6 January, a mob of defeated President Donald Trump supporters attacked and occupied the Capitol Building, home of the US Congress, in Washington DC.  Five people died.
The Government said that every vulnerable person in the UK would be offered a vaccine by 15 February, with every adult offered one by the autumn.
26 January – the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK exceeded 100,000.
On environmental grounds, Cumbria County Council shelved plans for Woodhouse Colliery, the UK’s first deep coal mine since 1987.
Meanwhile – the United Arab Emirates (UAE) put a probe called Hope in orbit around Mars.  NASA’s Mars 2020 mission landed its 6-wheeled Perseverance vehicle on the planet.
Amazon opened a cashierless grocery store, Amazon Fresh, in Ealing, the first outside the USA.  It used cameras and sensors to automate shopping.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, made accusations of racism against an unnamed member of the Royal Family and revealed suicidal thoughts on US TV.
Police searching for missing Sarah Everard discovered her remains in woodland in Kent woodland. A serving Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens, was arrested and subsequently jailed for her kidnap and murder.  The tragedy sparks a wave of concern about the safety of women.
The decennial Census was held in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
23 March – A minute’s silence was held to remember the 126,172 people who had died of the COVID-19 virus since the beginning of the national lockdown exactly a year previously.
9 April – Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband of the Queen, died at the age of 99.  He was the longest-serving royal consort in history and widely mourned. A TV audience of 13.6 million watched his funeral at Windsor Castle on 17 April.
In one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British legal history, the Court of Appeal cleared 39 sub-postmasters of theft, fraud and false accounting.  Some of the convicted were imprisoned, lost their livelihoods and homes, went bankrupt – and some died before their names were cleared.
Due to the pandemic, government borrowing reached £303.1bn – the highest level since WW2.
China became the third nation to land on and establish communication from the surface of Mars.
The last Debenhams stores in the UK closed after more than 240 years on the high street.
Self-driving buses were trialled in Cambridge.
On 1 June, nobody was reported to have died this day from COVID-19 for the first time since March 2020.
A new £50 polymer banknote was issued, featuring the image of WW2 computer pioneer Alan Turing.
The Sun newspaper published pictures of Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissing an aide and breaking social distancing rules.  He resigned the following day. I never liked him.
In football, England beat Germany 2–0, their first victory over Germany in a knockout tournament since the World Cup of 1966. Different players, but football pundits seem to like this kind of thing.
The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, Princes William and Harry, unveiled a statue of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, at Kensington Palace. It would have been her 60th birthday.
In the Euro football competition, England reached the final of a major contest for the first time since 1966 by beating Denmark 2-1 at Wembley.
Southern Water was fined a record £90m for deliberately dumping billions of litres of raw sewage into the sea off Hampshire, Kent and West Sussex.
England lost to Italy 2-3 on penalties in the European Championship final at Wembley, following a 1-1 draw after extra time.  Watched by an estimated TV audience of c31 million, the game was marred by thuggish behaviour of some English fans, including the racial abuse of England players on social media.
14 July – Record rainfall across Western Europe caused rivers to burst banks and significant flooding, starting in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.  There were 242 deaths.
Europe’s largest battery storage project, a 100-megawatt system in Minety, Wiltshire, went operational.  It has the capacity to provide electricity for up to 10,000 homes for 24 hours.
19 July – Most remaining legal restrictions on social contact in England were removed.
UNESCO removed Liverpool’s World Heritage status, saying that waterfront developments had resulted in a “serious deterioration” of the historic site. World Heritage Status was awarded to the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales.
23 July – the summer Olympics, postponed since 2020, began in Tokyo. They ended on 8 August.
In New York, USA, a lawsuit was filed against Prince Andrew, which accused him of sexually abusing Virginia Giuffre, aged 38, when she was 17.
In Afghanistan, the UK deployed 600 armed personnel to support the evacuation of British nationals, as well as former employees of the British. There were chaotic and upsetting scenes at Kabul airport before the last flight of British nationals and eligible Afghans on 27 August, and concern about the future of the country.
British tennis player Emma Raducanu won the 2021 US Open Women’s Singles Tournament, on her first attempt.  She was the first female British player to win a major competition since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.
The US, UK and Australia announced a trilateral security partnership, AUKUS (an acronym from Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States) aimed at limiting the power of China, which included helping Australia build nuclear-powered submarines.
Soaring increases in the wholesale cost of natural gas result in energy firms going bust and fears of massive rises in domestic fuel bills as well as inflation due to higher costs for businesses.
A shortage of HGV drivers resulted in a temporary fuel crisis and panic buying at petrol stations. There were fears of shop shortages at Christmas.
Protesters from the action group ‘Insulate Britain’ blocked part of the M25 motorway for the eighth day in three weeks, in some instances gluing themselves to the road, and causing traffic delays.
‘No Time To Die’, the 25th James Bond film and the last to star Daniel Craig as Bond, was finally released, having been held back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
US online shop Amazon opened its first non-food store in the UK, at Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent.
The payment limit for contactless cards increased from £45 to £100.
MP David Amess was stabbed and died while holding a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
The National Living Wage was increased from £8.91 per hour to £9.50, wef April 2022.
The UK hosted the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow from 31 October – 12 November.  World leaders agreed a ‘phasedown’ of coal power, a 30% cut in methane emissions by 2030, plans for a halt to deforestation by 2030, and increased financial support for developing countries.
Meanwhile – China continued to send warplanes to fly over Taiwan’s airspace.  A record number of 196 incursions took place in October.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards found that Conservative MP Owen Paterson had breached lobbying rules. Paterson subsequently resigned as an MP. Former Labour MP Claudia Webbe was given a 10-week sentence, suspended for two years, after being convicted of harassment.
Roger Hutton, Chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club resigned following ongoing accusations that the club was guilty of “institutional racism”.
Footballer Marcus Rashford was awarded an MBE for his campaigning work on behalf of vulnerable children.
Meanwhile, Poland sent troops to its border with Belarus to prevent thousands of migrants, mostly from Iraq, from entering the country. They had allegedly been lured there by Belarus in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the EU.
11 November – A record daily number of 1,000 illegal migrants crossed the English Channel on small boats from France.  On 24 November, a dinghy carrying 30 asylum seekers capsized off the French coast, resulting in at least 27 deaths.
The Met Office issued a rare red weather warning (substantial disruption, risk to life) for Storm Arwen.  There was widespread damage and travel disruption in the British Isles, particularly in the north of England and the east of Scotland, and three people were killed. Some 200,000 homes lost power and thousands were still without power a week later.
Barbados, a member of the Commonwealth and formerly part of the British Empire, became a republic.
On 7 December – video emerged of a mock Downing Street press conference from the previous year, in which attendees joked about a Christmas gathering that had taken place at 10 Downing Street when the UK was in lockdown.  It was the start of ‘Partygate’. Photos continued to be leaked; the government denied any rules had been broken.
Western Intelligence reported more than 100,000 Russian troops massing on the border with Ukraine.
By 29 December 2021, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK reached 148, 637. At the end of December, 47.4 million people had received two doses of vaccine and 33.9 had received their third, booster, dose.
It was warmest New Year’s Eve on record.


4 January – The daily number of recorded cases of COVID-19 in the UK exceeded 200,000 for the first time, with 218,724 cases.
A survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested that 1.3 million people in the UK suffered from long COVID, with lingering symptoms such as fatigue, loss of smell, shortness of breath and concentration difficulties.
The home security service, MI5, warned that an alleged Chinese agent, named as Christine Ching Kui Lee, had infiltrated Parliament to interfere in UK politics.
Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Andrew’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen. He will no longer use the style ‘His Royal Highness’.
Reports emerge of further potential breaches of COVID restrictions at Downing Street.  Among these was the revelation that two staff parties were held at Downing Street the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.  Downing Street apologised to the Queen.
Britain delivered some 2,000 anti-tank missile launchers to Ukraine and allegedly flew surveillance missions in support of a potential Russian invasion.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick confirmed that the force was investigating “potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations” in Downing Street and Whitehall.
Storm Malik left tens of thousands of homes in Scotland and England without power.  Two people were killed, a 9-year-old boy and a 60-year-old woman.

1 February – Boris Johnson holds talks with Ukrainian President Zelensky in Kyiv and says there is “clear and present danger” of an imminent Russian campaign.
The government published a white paper on its ‘levelling up’ strategy, intended to reduce the gap between rich and poor parts of the country.
Energy regulator Ofgem estimated that nearly 18 million households in Britain will pay an average of £693 extra a year for gas and electricity. The Bank of England raised the interest rate from 0.25 to 0.5%.
6 February – The 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne – her Platinum Jubilee.
Tension mounts over Ukraine.  Prime Minister Johnson told a NATO meeting in Brussels that Europe faced “the most dangerous moment” for decades.
Cressida Dick resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner after losing the confidence of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
11 February – The Foreign Office advised UK nationals to leave Ukraine.
HM the Queen tested positive for COVID-19.
24 February – Russia invaded Ukraine.  The unprovoked attack was condemned worldwide.  The UK and its allies announce sanctions against Russia, which increased in scope as the days and weeks passed.  NATO prepared for potential escalation beyond Ukraine’s borders.  The US, UK and others supply arms and other equipment and aid to Ukraine.  Thousands of people flee their homes, many to neighbouring countries, particularly Poland.
Southend-on-Sea became the UK’s newest city.

16 March – Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, detained in Iran since 2016, was freed and allowed to return to the UK.
P&O Ferries suspended services and made 800 employees redundant by video call, saying they were to be replaced by cheaper agency staff.
A report found catastrophic failings leading to the deaths of hundreds of babies and mothers over two decades at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.
A ‘no fault’ rule came into effect in divorce law in England and Wales.  Couples no longer have to separate for at least two years.
Home Secretary, Priti Patel, apologised for delays in accepting Ukrainian refugees to the UK.
Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson, and Rishi Sunak are among those issued with fixed penalty notices for breaches of lockdown rules at gatherings in Whitehall and Downing Street. Johnson is the first sitting Prime Minister to be sanctioned for breaking the law.
Inflation hit the highest rate since 1992.
The Government announced plans to ship migrants who cross the English Channel in trucks or on boats to Rwanda, 4,000 miles away.
The High Court of England and Wales ruled that the Government’s policies on discharging untested patients from hospital to care homes at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was unlawful.
Conservative MP Neil Parish was suspended from the Conservative Whip due to allegations that he watched pornography on his phone in the House of Commons. He later resigned as an MP.
In local elections, the Conservatives lost many seats to Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party. In Scotland, the SNP gained seats.  In Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin received the largest share of votes.
Durham Police investigate whether Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer broke lockdown rules by drinking beer at a constituency office.
10 May – Queen Elizabeth’s ‘episodic mobility problems’ prevent her from attending the State Opening of Parliament.  Her heir, Charles, Prince of Wales and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge deputise for her.
16 May – In the war in Ukraine, the siege of the city of Mariupol, under attack since late February and devastated by Russian shelling, came to an end.
Unemployment fell to its lowest level since 1974, with more job vacancies than unemployed people for the first time since records began.
The Queen attended the official completion of London Underground’s Elizabeth Line at Paddington Station. The new line connects Reading in the west with Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.  It opened to passengers on 24 May.
Meanwhile…Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO.
At the end of the ‘Partygate’ investigation, the Metropolitan Police say that 126 fines have been issued to 83 people.
Eight new cities were named for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – in the UK: Bangor (NI), Colchester, Doncaster, Dunfermline, Milton Keynes and Wrexham.  Outside the UK: Stanley in the Falklands and Douglas on the Isle of Man.
Civil Servant Sue Grey produced her full report into parties at Downing Street – while the rest of the UK was in lockdown – with the approval of their bosses, including the Prime Minister.

Between 3-5 June 2022, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth celebrated Her Majesty’s Platinum (70 years) Jubilee with beacons, parties, concerts and other events.
7 June – cinema chain Cineworld removed the movie ‘The Lady of Heaven’ from its schedule after claims by Muslims that it was blasphemous.
12 June – Queen Elizabeth II became the second longest reigning monarch in history, behind Louis XIV of France who reigned from 1643-1715.
21 June – The biggest rail strike since 1989 took place, affecting 80% of services across Britain.
23 June – The Conservatives lost by-elections in Wakefield to Labour, and Tiverton and Honiton to the Liberal Democrats.
26 June – 80 year-old Paul McCartney wowed crowds at Glastonbury with a set of more than 2½ hours.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon proposed 19 October 2023 as the date for a second referendum on Scottish independence.
Initial results from the 2021 census show a 6.3% increase in the population of England and Wales.  The population of England and Wales is 59,597,300, with that of the whole UK an estimated 66.96 million.
The Government announced a further £1 billion for military aid to Ukraine.

1 July – The Office for National Statistics continues to announce rising cases of COVID-19.
4 July – The number of pubs in England and Wales fell below 40,000, the lowest ever recorded.
6 July – the heads of MI5 and the US FBI warn academics and business leaders of the risks posed by Chinese commercial and industrial espionage.
7 July – Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned as leader of the Conservative Party.  This followed the resignation of more than 50 members of the Government (including members of the Cabinet) in protest at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lack of integrity, and the urging of many other Conservative MPs and ministers.
19 July – the Met Office issued its first ever Red Extreme Heat warning for parts of England as temperatures surged across the UK.  A new record high temperature of 40.3°C was recorded in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, beating the previous record of 38.7°C set in 2019 – as did more than 30 other sites.  Major incidents were declared in London and 15 other areas around the UK as emergency services struggled to cope with call-outs.  The village of Wennington in Essex was one of several places where homes were destroyed by fire.
31 July – a UK TV audience of 17.4 million watched the England Women’s Football Team beat Germany 2-1 in extra time at the final of the Euro competition at Wembley.  A record crowd of 87,192 watched the game at the stadium itself.

4 August – China undertook live firing military exercises off the coast of Taiwan in response to the visit of Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, to the self-governing island on 2 August.
10 August – Consumer financial expert Martin Lewis warned that the rapidly increasing cost of energy bills was “a national crisis” on the scale of the Covid pandemic.
17 August – UK inflation rate hit 10.1 per cent, the highest level in 40 years.

6 September – Liz Truss became Prime Minister having beaten Rishi Sunak in the Conservative Leadership Election. Her priority is to handle an escalating cost of energy for homes and businesses.
8 September – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle, aged 96.  Her son succeeded to the throne as Charles III.
19 September – The State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth took place following a 10-day period of national mourning, during which hundreds of thousands paid their respects as she lay in state.  The service was held at Westminster Abbey, followed by a committal service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Thousands lined the route through London and from there to Windsor.
23 September – Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng announced his euphemistically termed ‘fiscal event’, which included the biggest tax cuts for 50 years, drawing widespread criticism that these were unfunded, would benefit the wealthy, and sparking panic in the financial markets. The pound fell dramatically and the cost of mortgages increased almost overnight.

14 October – Liz Truss sacked her friend and recently appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwartang, and replaced him with Jeremy Hunt. Hunt, considered a safe pair of hands who might steady the market, promptly reversed most of the Truss/Kwartang tax proposals. There was speculation about how long Prime Minister Truss would last in her position.
19 October – Home Secretary Suella Braverman resigned. There were chaotic scenes in Parliament with accusations that Conservative MPs were bullied to vote with the Government.
20 October – after just 45 days in office, Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned, resulting in a further Conservative Party leadership competition.  She is the shortest serving Prime Minister in British history.
24 October – following an accelerated process, Rishi Sunak is chosen as leader of the Conservative Party. There was one other declared candidate, Penny Mordaunt, who withdrew at the last minute having failed to reach the required 100 MPs needed to secure her nomination.
24 October – following an accelerated process, Rishi Sunak is chosen as leader of the Conservative Party. He is the UK’s first British Asian Prime Minister and, at 42, the country’s youngest leader in over 200 years.  There was one other declared candidate, Penny Mordaunt, who withdrew at the last minute having failed to reach the required 100 MPs needed to secure her nomination.

‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters block Piccadilly in central London and spray paint nearby luxury car showrooms.  On future occasions, protestors from the group glue themselves to roads, including motorways, and spray objects with orange paint to draw attention to their cause.
28 October – the first televised sentencing of a murder trial in England and Wales takes place at the Old Bailey in London.

1 November – Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock is suspended from the Conservative Party after joining the cast of TV’s ‘reality’ show, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
23 November – the Supreme Court ruled that a second Scottish independence referendum cannot be held without the consent of the government of the UK.
24 November – Net migration into the UK hit an all-time high of 504,000 in the year to June.
A wave of strikes takes place over the run up to Christmas, including nurses, train drivers, postal workers, ambulance drivers and border force staff.
An independent report finds that the London Fire Brigade is “institutionally misogynist and racist”.
29 November – It is reported that approximately 46% of the roughly 1.3 million free-range turkeys in the UK have died of bird flu, or been culled because of it.

7 December – Despite concerns about climate impact, Woodhouse Colliery, Cumbria, the first new coal mine in the UK for years, receives government approval.
9 December – a new jet fighter aircraft, the Tempest, is to be developed by the UK, Italy and Japan.  It will enter service in 2035.
13 December – a temperature of −17.3°C is recorded in Braemar, Aberdeenshire.
Four people die as a result of a crowd crush at the Brixton Academy in south London on 15 December.
A male European bison joins the female bison herd at the Wilder Blean project in Kent.
24 December – five people were shot with a sub-machine gun at the Lighthouse Inn, Wallasey, Merseyside.  One, 26-year old beautician Elle Edwards, died.  The shooting was part of a feud – which Elle Edwards had nothing to do with.
25 December – King Charles made his first Christmas broadcast.



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