The UK is a leader in theatrical art with a long and rich dramatic tradition. In London alone there are about a hundred theaters. The Shakespeare Globe Theater was built in 1997 according to an old tradition to recreate the Shakespeare scene that existed in the 17th century. A major theater festival is held annually in Edinburgh.
The early highlights of British literature include the historical epic Beowulf (probably from the 8th century), Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and William Shakespeare’s drama. The first modern novel Pamela was written by Samuel Richardson 1740–1741. The following century saw the emergence of writers such as Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and Charles Dickens.
Of the 20th century writers, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, EM Forster, George Orwell, Graham Greene and William Golding are among the foremost. In recent years, playwright Harold Pinter (2005) and novelists VS Naipaul (2001), Doris Lessing (2007) and Kazuo Ishiguro (2017) have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. A younger generation of writers includes Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Margaret Drabble, A. L. Kennedy, Monica Ali, Zadie Smith and Jeanette Winterson.
Children’s book author JK Rowling has reached many readers with the books about the wizard boy Harry Potter.
From the 1960s, Britain became known for its rock and pop music with groups such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and The Clash. Other big names in popular music are P J Harvey, Adele and Amy Winehouse.
The state support for the visual arts mainly goes to the purchase of works of art for public museums and galleries. The British capital is also a hub for the international art market. Well-known art dealers are Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
The biggest names in art life are the painters John Constable, William Turner and Francis Bacon, the sculptor Henry Moore and the architect and designer William Morris. Recent years’ most talked about artists include Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud and Damien Hirst.
Sinn Fein Minister is accused of violating coronary restrictions
Northern Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill is in blustery weather. This, since the Sinn Fein politician participated in the funeral of Bobby Storey, who is considered, among other things, to have been the IRA’s intelligence chief for a period in the 1990s, in violation of the corona restrictions. Prime Minister Arlene Foster, of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), calls on O’Neill to at least temporarily step aside while her actions are being investigated by police. Foster says she is currently unable to appear alongside her government colleague to present Northern Ireland’s line to fight the pandemic. Sinn Fein defends O’Neill, saying that she has followed the rules of social distancing and more and that the funeral was designed according to the wishes of the Storey family. Under the current regulations, a maximum of 30 persons may be gathered outdoors, but during the funeral of Storey, 120 people attended the ceremony inside the church. In addition, around 1,800 people gathered along the streets to honor Storey. However, it does not seem as if the DUP is prepared to dismiss the government because of this.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of United Kingdom, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Britain criticizes new security law in Hong Kong
According to Abbreviationfinder, Britain criticizes a new security law that is now in force in Hong Kong (see also May 2020). According to it, activists who disseminate information in support of independence can be arrested and prosecuted. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the law is a violation of the British-Chinese settlement of 1985 that led Britain to hand over Hong Kong to China in 1997. At the same time, Johnson offers up to three million Hong Kongers the opportunity to settle in the UK for the long term be able to apply for British citizenship. As it is today, 350,000 Hong Kong residents who have UK special passports can only stay in the UK for six months if they do not have a visa.
Leicester is quarantined
The English city of Leicester is quarantined following a new outbreak of covid-19. Of all new reported cases of the viral disease in the past week, ten percent have taken place in Leicester.
Boris Johnson promises investment in infrastructure
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a speech in the English city of Dudley, presents a plan for how the government should try to boost the economy after the corona pandemic. He describes it as a “New deal,” in an allusion to the stimulus program launched by US President Franklin D Roosevelt to boost the US economy after the 1930s depression. The UK Government is now pledging £ 5 billion to invest in infrastructure and housing. Johnson now hopes that his government can get a fresh start after all the criticism of how the corona crisis has been handled. Labor leader Keir Starmer criticizes the government for not containing a lot of new or very much money, as most of it is about initiatives that have already been announced, but which are now to be announced.
The Scottish Government’s conduct is being investigated
A parliamentary inquiry is being launched into how the Scottish Government handled complaints against former Prime Minister Alex Salmond. He was released earlier this year in court from accusations that he committed sexual abuse when he was Scotland’s head of government (see March 2020). Before the legal process began, the Scottish Government had launched its own internal investigation, which was later accused of failing to comply with current rules, and this is the one to be investigated.
Three dead in suspected terrorist act
Three people are killed in what police suspect is a terror attack in Reading just outside London. Another three people are severely cut. The suspected perpetrator is a 25-year-old Libyan who in 2019 should have been noticed by the British intelligence service MI5. He is arrested just five minutes after the police were alerted to the act. The man is believed to have acted on his own.
Johnson and von der Leyen promise intensive talks in July
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meet via video link to discuss the UK’s and EU’s future relations. Although all consultations have gone so far so far, both say they are optimistic that a settlement can be completed by the end of the year. The UK is adamant about not requesting an extension of the transition rules that expire in December. The parties promise to increase the pace of negotiations in July.
GDP falls by 20 percent in April
The corona crisis and the shutdown of society hit hard on the British economy, which fell by just over 20 percent in April, the highest figure for a month measured. However, April is the month when the toughest restrictions have been in force and assessors believe that the consequences will not be as great after that, as several quarantine eases have been made.
The UK and Japan begin talks on trade agreements
The UK and Japan start talks on a new trade agreement. If it is not clear before the end of 2020/2021, when the transitional rules between the UK and the EU cease to apply, trade between the countries will take place according to WTO rules.
Protests against racism in the UK
In London and elsewhere in the UK, protests are being made against racism in the country and against police violence and discrimination affecting African Americans in the United States. In most places, it takes place under calm conditions, but in some places violence erupts later in the evening. In Bristol, the protesters overturn a statue of Edward Colston, then traded with slaves in the 17th century, and push it down into a river. The demonstrations were held even though the authorities failed because of the ongoing pandemic. The next day, Prime Minister Boris Johnson expresses some understanding of the anger that exists against racism, but condemns the violence. In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan decides to take down a statue depicting a slave trader, Robert Milligan, located outside a museum
No progress in talks with the EU
The UK and the EU conclude yet another round of negotiations, the fourth in the order, on what their future relations should look like without any progress being made. But both sides nevertheless show some willingness to compromise. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier says that the EU can open certain exceptions to the principle of equal competition by allowing Britain to be exempted from certain EU rules on state subsidies. The UK negotiating delegation says it can agree on some tariffs on agricultural products if the EU agrees to withdraw its demands for the UK to comply with EU environmental and labor market rules, as well as government subsidies.
Johnson will lead the effort against covid-19
The Daily Telegraph announces that Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself is taking over the leadership of efforts to combat the ongoing corona pandemic in the country, with the help of two committees. The criticism of how the government has managed the crisis has grown recently, among other things, that it delayed for too long in imposing strict restrictions to prevent the spread of infection, that it did no more to protect the elderly in the nursing homes and that it took too long time to build up a functioning test system. With nearly 50,000 deaths in covid-19, the UK is one of the countries most affected by the pandemic. According to figures from the statistics agency ONS, the number of deaths may be even higher, as around 62,000 more than usual have died during the pandemic. According to a report from Public Health England covid-19 has hit particularly hard on elderly residents, those over 80 years of age run 70 times more likely to die than those under 40 years. Even blacks and people from ethnic minorities are more vulnerable than white Britons. Men have also been hit harder than women.
Dominic Raab: Hong Kong residents can become British citizens
The United Kingdom, along with Australia, Canada and the United States, criticizes Beijing’s plans for a new security law for Hong Kong that it believes violates China’s international commitments. According to the bill, it will be a crime to try to undermine Beijing’s authority in Hong Kong. The following day, Britain’s Foreign Minister Dominic Raab says that around 300,000 Hong Kong residents who have a British special passport can become British citizens.
Scotland and Wales begin to ease the coronary restrictions
Now, Scotland is also beginning to ease the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus causing covid-19, after a 66-day quarantine. From May 29, among other things, people from different households are allowed to meet, as long as they keep the distances (two meters), and no more than eight people at a time. But one should not visit anyone else’s house. Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon emphasizes that the basic rule is still to stay home as much as possible. Similar easing of restrictions will also begin in Wales, but from 1 June.
Minister resigns in protest against Cummings business
A lower-level Conservative minister, Scot Douglas Ross, is leaving the government, in protest over how it has handled the allegations against Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s top adviser, for breaking the quarantine rules. Cummings himself has refused to step down and the prime minister has taken his counsel in defense. He says it will be extra difficult to defend this as voters in his constituency have not been allowed to visit sick relatives or say goodbye to them because they have followed the quarantine rules that Cummings has helped to design.
Boris Johnson refuses to dismiss counsel
24th of May
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s adviser Dominic Cummings ends up in blustery weather after media reports that he had broken the quarantine rules and traveled with his wife and son from London to his parents’ home in Durham in north-east England. It leads to a debate as to whether certain rules apply only to ordinary Britons while the elite can do as they please. The opposition is pushing for Johnson to dismiss Cummings, something he refuses, but the dissatisfaction also lies within the Conservative Party. He defends the counselor’s decision as he explains that Cummings went to his parents to ensure that someone could take care of the son if both parents were too ill. It is widely speculated in the media that the reason for Johnson’s refusal to dismiss Cummings is that he is overly dependent on him politically.
English schools reopen June 1
24th of May
Prime Minister Boris Johnson now confirms that all schools in England will open as scheduled on June 1 for all pupils up to sixth grade. Some older students may return to school on June 15 to prepare for their exams. All schools in England have been closed since March 20, due to the ongoing pandemic, except for children whose parents carry out socially necessary tasks.
Government debt is rising rapidly
The ongoing corona crisis is hitting hard on the UK economy and the state is forced to take large loans, over £ 62 billion in April alone. Government debt now corresponds to almost 100 percent of GDP, the highest figure since 1963. Only retail sales have fallen by almost a fifth in the same month.
Gove: New controls against Northern Ireland are needed
Some new checks will be required between the British mainland and Northern Ireland from January 1, 2021. This is stated by Cabinet Minister Michael Gove in the House of Commons while presenting the government’s plan for how the new system will work, a plan which, however, contains few details. The checks are not really new, as the UK government said yes to this in the exit agreement agreed with the EU in the fall of 2019. The EU requires strict customs controls to be carried out and fees to be shipped on goods shipped to Northern Ireland if they will be shipped on to Ireland. This is yet another point that must be resolved before the end of the year when the transitional rules between the UK and the EU expire.
Northern Ireland eases the restrictions
Northern Ireland is now also beginning to ease the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of covid-19, including allowing six people who do not belong to the same household to meet, churches and other religious meeting places for those who wish to pray on their own hand, and some sports activities, such as tennis and golf, can be resumed. The intention is that the restrictions should be eased in five steps, and that the provincial government should evaluate the situation every three weeks. From some quarters, demands have been made for Northern Ireland and Ireland to coordinate the opening of society. Signals from Scotland indicate that some restrictions in the restrictions may be relevant from 28 May.
The UK and the US are to start trade talks
The UK and the US will now start official negotiations on a possible free trade agreement. Because of the corona pandemic, they will be held via video link. The UK Government hopes that by lowering customs duties and removing other barriers to trade, it will be possible to increase trade by up to 0.07 percent over the next 15 years.
Effortless round of talks between the UK and the EU
15th of May
The third round of talks between the UK and the EU on how their future relations should look is slow. Both parties express frustration that such progress has been made. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier says the UK government does not want to seriously discuss the EU’s requirement for the parties to be able to compete on equal terms. Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost simultaneously expresses frustration that the EU is not prepared to find a solution that favors both parties, calling the EU countries’ position “ideological”. The EU is also pressing for the parties to reach an agreement by October at the latest for member states’ parliament to approve it before the end of the transitional period at the end of the year.
GDP fall of 6 percent in March
UK GDP fell by almost 6 percent in March, according to official figures. Almost all industries have been hit by financial problems, and the situation has deteriorated ever since.
England eases restrictions on the covid-19
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces some easing of restrictions imposed to reduce the spread of the virus that causes covid-19. He urges people to pay attention to avoid the spread of infection. But his plan is criticized from several directions for being vague and for containing contradictory messages. In retrospect, however, more news comes via a 51-page report, Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, with practical advice for various industries. Important points are about how companies should slowly be able to resume their business, people are urged to avoid public transport, to use face protection (including homemade ones) and foreign visitors to the UK must be quarantined for 14 days. Scotland,
The Bank of England forecasts a 14 percent GDP fall
The British central bank Bank of England warns that the UK will enter an unprecedented recession due to the ongoing pandemic. If the restrictions are phased out from June to September, the country’s GDP is expected to fall by 14 percent. The Bank of England also announces that the interest rate will remain at a record low of 0.1 percent.
Turkish protective clothing is rejected
About 400,000 protective garments for care workers ordered from manufacturers in Turkey do not meet UK safety requirements, reports the Daily Telegraph. The NHS, the UK public health care system, has urged hospitals not to place their own orders on protective equipment for staff caring for covid-19 sufferers. Nearly half of the equipment ordered from Turkey was picked up by the British Air Force in April, but has not been distributed to healthcare personnel but remains in storage.
Johnson promises 200,000 tests a day in late May
Prime Minister Boris Johnson regrets that so many deaths in covid-19 have occurred in nursing homes and says the government is working hard to remedy this. However, deaths in nursing homes continue to increase, as they have begun to decline in hospitals. Johnson promises that from the end of May, the UK will be able to test 200,000 people a day to see if they suffer from covid-19.
The Welsh Parliament changes its name
The Welsh Parliament changes its name today from Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru to Senedd Cymru. This happens after a three-year process.
Britain has the highest death toll in Europe for covid-19
Britain is now the country in Europe that has the most deaths in covid-19. To date, 29,427 people have died of the viral disease in the UK, just over 100 more than Italy. This figure applies to those who have tested positive for covid-19. However, it is not easy to compare the figures, however, the UK has a larger population than Italy, and Italy has tested more people than the UK. According to Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, the UK has so far tested nearly 1.4 million people to determine if they are suffering from covid-19 or not.
Scottish nursing home severely affected by covid-19
In Scotland, which has just over 11,000 confirmed cases of covid-19, now 2,272 people have died of the viral disease. More than half of the deaths have occurred in hospitals, 39 percent in nursing homes and others in their homes or elsewhere. The majority of those who have died were over 65 years of age. Over the past week, the majority of deaths, almost 52 percent, have occurred in nursing homes. Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon expresses great concern that so many nursing homes have been affected, despite strict guidelines being introduced on March 13. About 3,400 cases of covid-19 have been reported from Northern Ireland, and 329 people have died in covid-19.
Mass testing of covid-19 begins in England and Wales
It will now be possible for millions of people in England to test if they suffer from covid-19. Those who can apply to be tested are those who work in nursing homes, whether they have symptoms or not, but also all over the age of 65 and people who cannot work from home and who show symptoms. The government aims to enable 100,000 people to be tested every day, but when testing begins today, 43,000 tests are conducted. In Wales, which is also initiating mass testing, the equipment is running out in some places, and the regional government is choosing not to test employees and residents of nursing homes that do not show symptoms. In the past, only patients in hospitals and people performing the necessary work have been tested.
The Emirate-owned shipping company is seeking support for ferries
The DP World Group, which is based in Dubai but accounts for 15 percent of all freight traffic to and from the UK, has requested financial support from the UK Government to cope with ferry traffic from collapse due to the corona crisis. DP World owns the shipping company P&O and is located in London and Southampton. Seven vessels have been taken out of service because passengers are no longer allowed to travel, and freight transport is not enough to keep the shipping company afloat, Sultan Ahmad bin Sulayem, who is the chairman of the board, tells the BBC. The company has laid off 1,400 employees and the British state pays 80 percent of their salaries. The British government, which has allocated support for certain socially important transports, dislikes that DP World intends to pay a dividend to its owners while demanding state aid.
Johnson: Too early to ease the quarantine
It is too early to relieve the restrictions that have been introduced to reduce the spread of the new corona virus, if today it would risk a second wave of infection. It says Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is now back at work after being ill in covid-19. He also says he understands the concerns that the business community feels about the financial problems that follow in the wake of the pandemic and a desire for information about when and how quarantine can begin to be alleviated. To date, 20,732 people have died in hospitals in the suites of covid-19 in the UK.
No progress in the Brexit talks
At least, talks between the EU and the UK about their future relationship are slow. So far, a number of video conferences have been held over the past week. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier says that the time to reach an agreement is about to expire and there is a great risk that it will be a contractless Brexit. No progress has been made at all in areas that are important to the EU, which is largely about enabling the parties to compete on equal terms. The UK government insists on setting its own rules and Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants a free trade agreement with the EU in line with what Canada has. The next round of deliberations will be held on May 11.
Record high death rates in England and Wales
The death toll in England and Wales week 15 (April 4 and 10) is at the highest level that has been measured for this time year of 20 years, according to new figures from the ONS statistics authority. By 2020, 18,500 people have died during week 15, which is about 8,000 more than it usually is. Just over 6,200 deaths are associated with covid-19. Approximately 1,000 of these deaths have occurred in various nursing homes. Analysts say the high numbers may also indicate that the community shutdown also leads to deaths for other reasons, not least when visits to the emergency clinics have been halved since the pandemic began. Similar trends are also reported from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
High pressure when programs for layoffs are started
When the UK government’s laid-off staffing program starts today, 67,000 applications will be received in the first half hour. The government has promised, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, to guarantee everyone who is laid off 80 percent of their salaries, but no more than £ 2,500 a month.
Johnson is criticized for dealing with the corona crisis
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says no restrictions will be lifted until it is certain that it will not trigger a second wave of infection from the virus that causes the covid-19 disease. Johnson should also have met Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, who has so far taken over some of the prime minister’s functions. It happens the day after an article in the Sunday Times newspaper drew devastating criticism of Johnson and the government for how it handled the Corona crisis. Johnson, among other things, has chosen not to attend five early meetings about the threat that the new corona virus could pose to Britain, despite a number of warnings from both healthcare and researchers. The article also states that preparedness for a possible pandemic was poor, much because all the space was taken by planning Brexit.
“No extension of the transition period current”
The UK will not agree to extend the transitional rules agreed with the EU beyond the day’s end date of December 31, 2020. A spokesman for the UK government says flexibility will be needed to deal with the corona crisis and it is important to it becomes clear as soon as possible which rules should apply. This is happening at the same time as the UK and the EU agree to hold another three rounds of trade talks: April 20, May 11 and June 1.
Britain extends quarantine for three weeks
The UK is now extending its quarantine measures for another three weeks. This is announced by Foreign Minister Dominic Raab. The decision is justified by the fact that the spread of infection is still too large to be able to lift the restrictions. He lists five areas that need to be under control for society to re-open: that healthcare is able to take care of those who are seriously ill, a clear decline in the number of people who die in covid-19, that there is enough protective equipment and other necessary equipment to meet demand and not risk a new peak of newly infected. The governments of Scotland and Wales are also extending protection measures in their parts of the country. At the same time, several emergency calls from the NHS indicate that there is a lack of protective equipment in several places.
Northern Ireland’s quarantine is extended to 9 May
The government of Northern Ireland decides to extend the restrictions that have been introduced to prevent the spread of the new corona virus. Prime Minister Arlene Foster announces that the closure of large sections of society will now continue until May 9.
More will be tested for covid-19 at nursing homes
Health Minister Matt Hancock promises that anyone who lives or works in nursing homes that have symptoms consistent with covid-19 should be tested if they are infected by the new coronavirus. So far, only the first five showing symptoms have been tested. This is happening at the same time as information comes to indicate that more people are infected by covid-19 than can be seen in the figures published by the Ministry of Health, where only those who have died from the disease in hospital are included. According to data from the ONS statistics bureau, death certificates from England, where covid-19 is mentioned, indicate 15 percent higher in England than in the figures presented by the government. At the same time, the new Labor leader Keir Starmer requires the government to present a strategy for how society can be reopened.
OBR: risk of GDP falling by 13 percent in 2020
As a result of the corona crisis, the UK economy may shrink by 13 percent in 2020 and unemployment may rise to 10 percent, according to a forecast by OBR, the agency that examines the government’s budget. The forecast is even gloomier in the short term, GDP risks falling by 35 percent until June, if the shutdown of society continues until then. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak emphasizes, according to the British media company BBC, that this is just one of several possible scenarios. At the same time, he expresses great concern that two million Britons risk losing their jobs because of the crisis.
Boris Johnson is discharged from the hospital
Boris Johnson is now allowed to leave the hospital and he thanks via a video on Twitter the public health service, the NHS, for saving his life. However, he will not return to service yet. At the same time, it is reported that over 10,000 people have now died in covid-19 in the UK.
Johnson gets intensive care, Raab temporarily takes over
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is ill in covid-19, is being moved to an intensive care unit at a hospital in London. It is described as a precaution and Johnson is said to be conscious. The Prime Minister, who fell ill on March 27, has until today continued to do government work. Now part of his duties is being taken over by Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.
Queen Elizabeth urges the British to stick together
Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech to the nation in which she urges the British to stick together to overcome the corona crisis. She hints at the spirit that prevailed during the Second World War. This is only the fifth time since she became Queen in 1952 that she gives a speech to the nation, in addition to the traditional Christmas speeches. At the same time, it is reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken to hospital “for routine sampling” after being ill in covid-19 for more than ten days, however, there is speculation that he is sicker than is officially stated. By April 5, nearly 48,000 cases of covid-19 have been reported in the UK and nearly 5,000 people have died of the viral disease. At the same time, it is clear that northern and central England have been hit extra hard by the corona virus.
Keir Starmer becomes new Labor leader
As expected, Keir Starmer becomes the new Labor leader. He gets over 56 percent of the vote from party members and other supporters, with Rebecca Long-Bailey in second place and Lisa Nandy in third. Angela Rayner is simultaneously elected vice-party leader. Starmer promises to try one party and work with the government to deal with the corona crisis. Previously, Starmer Labor was the spokesperson on Brexit issues. He later appoints Lisa Nandy as the party’s spokesperson on foreign affairs, while Anneliese Dodds is given responsibility for finance and Nick Thomas-Symonds for home affairs.
Johnson promises mass tests for covid-19
Prime Minister Boris Johnson promises that more people in the UK will be tested to find out if they have been hit by covid-19 or not. It happens after the government has received harsh criticism for it being slow to get started with mass tests of in front of healthcare personnel, but also of the population at large. According to the Reuters news agency, 13,000 people a day are tested in the UK, compared to 500,000 a week in Germany. Health Minister Matt Hancock later sets the goal that the UK will conduct 100,000 tests a day by the end of April. By the end of March, 29,474 cases of the viral disease had been discovered in the UK and 2,352 had died. More than half of the British believe, according to an opinion poll, that the government was acting too slowly to deal with the corona crisis.
Northern Ireland faces strict restrictions
Northern Ireland is introducing new restrictions to combat the spread of covid-19, which is even tougher than those in the rest of the UK. Residents are now only allowed to leave their homes without special reasons, everyone who can work from home is ordered to do so and some companies are forced to stay closed. The trader who violates the rules, which will be in force between March 30 and April 12, can be sentenced to fines of up to £ 5,000, for individuals the upper limit is £ 960. 324 cases of covid-19 have been reported in Northern Ireland and 15 people have died in the disease.
Boris Johnson ill in covid-19
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been infected by covid-19. He says that he will continue to work as long as possible and that today he has only mild symptoms. Johnson has now self-insulated himself at home. Health Minister Matt Hancock has also been infected. So far, nearly 11,700 cases of covid-19 have been reported in the UK and 578 people have died.
The NHS receives reinforcement from volunteers
In just one day, a quarter of a million Britons have volunteered to assist the NHS, to assist particularly vulnerable groups in providing food and medicine, transport and calling those in isolation. About 11,000 retired doctors, nurses and others have started working again, and about 24,000 students who are attending medical and nursing courses last year will also start working for the NHS. At the same time, it is announced that Crown Prince Charles has fallen ill in covid-19 and is in quarantine.
Alex Salmond is released in court
Former Prime Minister Alex Salmond of Scotland is being released in court on charges of sexual abuse. In twelve cases he is completely acquitted by the jury, in one case there is considered to be insufficient evidence (see January 2019). Nine women have accused Salmond of assault, he himself has repeatedly rejected all charges.
Johnson orders the British to stay home
The British government is now adopting even tougher rules to counter the ongoing coronary pandemic. All stores that do not provide essential goods must now close. The British are ordered to stay at home and are only allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicines, to travel to work (if deemed absolutely necessary) and for an hour of exercise each day. They are also encouraged to avoid meeting friends and family. You can only spend time in the company of another person, if it is not about family members. The police are also given the right to intervene against those who violate the rules. An evaluation of the measures, which will come into effect that evening, will be done within three weeks, says Prime Minister Boris Johnson, when he presents them at a televised speech to the nation. Scotland and Wales also decide to shut down large sections of society. To date, 335 people have died in the covid-19 viral disease in the UK.
The government introduces a wage guarantee
The UK Government promises to pay 80 percent of the salary to workers who cannot work because of the ongoing pandemic, as long as they are not notified of their employers’ dismissal. However, a ceiling is set at £ 2,500 a month. The message is welcomed by employers’ organizations, but unions express concern about what happens to self-employed and freelancers who are not covered by the social security systems. At the same time, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that all restaurants, pubs, theaters, cinemas and gyms should be closed to try to reduce the rate of spread of the new corona virus. So far, nearly 4,000 cases of covid-19 have been reported from the UK, and almost 67,000 people have been tested for the disease. Most exposed is London.
British schools are closed
Minister of Education Gavin Williamson announces that all public schools in England from March 20. Exceptions are made for children of parents who work in, among others, healthcare, the NHS, the emergency services and other important positions. In the past, Scotland and Wales have also decided to close schools at the same time. Northern Ireland has also announced a school closure but from March 23. Education issues are handled by the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while London decides responsibility for the English schools.
The government announces a new support package
The government announces a new support package, worth £ 350 billion, to counter the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic. It includes, among other things, loan guarantees, tax breaks and grants to companies that risk going bankrupt. 71 people have so far died in the UK as a result of covid-19.
Hashem Abedi is convicted of terrorist acts
Hashem Abedi, brother of the suicide bomber Salman Abedi who carried out a terror attack in Manchester 2017, is being convicted of murdering the 22 people killed in the act. Hashem Abedi is believed to have helped his brother in preparing for the attack, something he himself denies. 264 people were physically injured in the act and 670 have suffered psychological deaths.
Study led the government to tighten measures against covid-19
The British Government’s decision to tighten up measures to limit the spread of the new corona virus is considered to have come after a new study was presented. It was done by a group around Professor Neil Ferguson at Imperial College London and, using new data from Italy, painted up a “worst-case scenario” where perhaps hundreds of thousands of people would die in the UK and the healthcare system would find it difficult to handle such a major storm of very ill patients. Just as in Sweden, before the pandemic, the United Kingdom suffered a large shortage of intensive care units. Nearly 2,000 Britons have now been infected with covid-19, which is a 26 percent increase over a day earlier. However, government adviser Patrick Vallance believes that the number of infected people is much higher than that, perhaps as many as 55,000. Vallance says the United Kingdom hopes to limit the number of deaths due to the pandemic to 20,000. All unnecessary operations are postponed until April 15. The Foreign Ministry is now advising the British not to make any unnecessary trips abroad.
Johnson invites everyone over 70 to stay home
Prime Minister Boris Johnson now comes with a series of new relationship orders. The British are urged to limit their social contacts as much as possible. Those who have reached the age of 70, pregnant women and other vulnerable groups are requested to stay at home for twelve weeks from the coming weekend. Those who can be encouraged to work from home. Johnson also asks the British not to seek care unless it is absolutely necessary. However, no decision is made to close the schools, despite strong opinion on this. The government’s handling of the pandemic with the new corona virus that causes covid-19 has received harsh criticism from many quarters, as a number of debaters and experts believe that the measures taken so far are insufficient.
Big stimulus policy in Sunak’s first budget
11th of March
Finance Minister Rishi Sunak’s first budget includes a stimulus package worth £ 30 billion to mitigate the effects of the ongoing corona crisis. An important point is tax relief for many English small businesses, they also promise sickness benefits for people who cannot work because they are asked to quarantine, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not, the care gets five billion pounds in extra funding, while fuel taxes will continue to be frozen. He also announces that the UK will increase its borrowing over the next five-year period, after ten years of tough austerity policies. He also promises to evaluate the budgetary rules that apply, but still stays within the current framework.
Over 300 patients in covid-19
More than 300 people in the UK have now been infected by the new corona virus, which is feared to cause a pandemic. Five people have until today died of covid-19 disease. However, representatives of the Prime Minister’s staff say that the situation does not cause major sporting events to be canceled, at least not yet. The standby mode is still in stage 1, where the measures are aimed at preventing the virus from spreading. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, says that the government is preparing new crisis measures, which are about slowing down the spread of the virus that is feared to have spread in society when it is not possible to determine how they have been infected. The corona eruption causes a major fall on the London Stock Exchange. A few days later, the central bank lowers the interest rate from 0.75 percent to 0.25 percent.
4th of March
The British airline Flybe goes bankrupt. The company has had financial problems for a long time, but reduced bookings due to the Corina virus reaching Europe make the problems acute. Flybe has 2,400 employees,
The UK and the EU start negotiations
The UK and the EU formally start talks on what their relations should look like after the transition period ends at the end of the year. The parties appear to agree on some more technical issues concerning energy and transport, while they are far apart in terms of whether the UK should adhere to EU rules in a number of areas, follow rulings in the European Court of Justice or not. Other points of conflict concern which rules apply to the financial market and fishing rights that are so important to the United Kingdom. Ten meetings with calls are booked.
The government announces tougher immigration rules
The British government is making plans to introduce tougher immigration rules to the country, with a points-based system similar to Australia’s. Interior Minister Priti Patel says the same rules should apply to labor immigrants from EU countries and those from the rest of the world. The scoring system should only include well-educated people who already have a job when they move to the UK. The government also says it wants to reduce the immigration of low-skilled labor from the EU. As it is now, for example, 80,000 EU citizens come to the UK every year to harvest fruit, that number will be reduced to 10,000 in the future. According to Patel, these jobs will be taken over by the more than 8 million Britons currently outside the labor market. However, several media point out that many of the students in this group are studying, are sick or take care of relatives. The idea is that the new rules will start to apply at the end of the year, when the transitional period following Brexit is over.
Severe floods in Wales
The Dennis storm is causing severe flooding, especially in Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, where hundreds of people are being evacuated from their homes. The water reaches record levels in eight rivers, but there are warnings of flood threats at another 120 rivers. Prime Minister Boris Johnson denies that the government has not made sufficient preparations to deal with the floods, but points out that all properties will not be protected from the effects of climate change.
Johnson re-furnishes and loses his finance minister
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is doing a great deal of redevelopment in his government and several ministers are allowed to go, but the big gag is that Sajid Javid himself is asking to leave the government after Johnson urged him to dismiss all of his closest advisers. Javid is replaced by Rishi Sunak, who received his first ministerial post in 2018. He has been a member of parliament since 2015. The change takes place only four weeks before the budget is presented. Chancellor Geoffrey Cox also leaves the government. Among those who are losing their jobs are Business Minister Andrea Leadsom, Northern Ireland Minister Julian Smith, who many believe has made a strong effort when, after three years, Northern Ireland received a new provincial government during his seven months in office, Housing Minister Esther McVey, Environment Minister Theresa Villiers and a number of ministers in lesser positions.Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s advisor, hand behind the furniture
Clear sign for high-speed trains despite increased costs
The British government is giving the go-ahead for the project to build a high-speed rail link between London and northern England, called HS2. This is despite the fact that a review of the project made in 2019 shows that the costs will be much higher than planned, £ 106 billion, which is almost twice as much as when the HS2 plans were adopted in 2015.
A new crisis against terrorism
A new law is planned to prevent people convicted of terrorist offenses from being released after serving half their sentence. The change in the law was updated after a former terrorist man injured two people in a knife attack in Streatham in south London in early February. The man had been released from prison a month earlier after serving half of a three-year prison sentence for, among other things, possession of terrorist material. According to the proposal, which includes England, Scotland and Wales, a terrorist can only be released after serving two-thirds of his sentence and only after the release board has given his approval. If everything goes as planned, the law should come into force at the end of the month in time to prevent another terrorist convicted person from being released prematurely.
Expulsions to Jamaica are criticized
The United Kingdom continues to deport people who have served a prison sentence of at least twelve months to Jamaica. A plane with 20 people on board now leaves the UK. 30 who would have originally been on the plane remain in the country after the expulsion decisions have been appealed in court. According to Finance Minister Sajid Javid, all those expelled are Jamaican citizens and not part of the so-called Windrush generation, people who immigrated to Britain between 1948 and 1971 from the Caribbean. In the spring of 2018, it was revealed how hundreds of those who had the legal right to live in the country but could not prove it had to quit their jobs, become homeless, lost their right to health care and other social benefits, were locked into special migration centers and in some cases expelled. Votes have been raised for the government to stop the deportations until a report on the Windrush scandal has been published. Critics claim that many of those expelled / expelled have lived in the UK since they were children.
Johnson wants a “Canada Agreement” with the EU
When Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for the first time after the UK exit, sets the tone for the forthcoming negotiations with the EU. He says he wants a free trade agreement of the kind Canada has, which means that most customs duties on import goods are removed. Some customs checks are still being done, but the EU does not require Canada to comply with a number of EU rules (for example, state aid, competition law and the environment), which the EU wants the UK to do. He threatens that the UK will choose to follow the WTO- trade rules if the EU does not agree to a “Canada Agreement”. On the same day, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier sticks out the EU’s line, saying that the EU is ready to conclude a favorable trade agreement with the UK, but that it is then important that trade will be possible on equal terms. One sensitive issue concerns fishing, where Johnson emphasized that “British fishing waters would be for British boats”. A restriction on fishing rights would strike hard against French, Belgian and Dutch fishermen.
EU exit a fact
Britain formally withdraws from the EU. This means that the UK representatives leave the EU governing bodies and an eleven month transition period begins. On 31 December, the British will also leave the EU internal market and all EU agreements will expire in the UK. During the transitional period, stiff negotiations await the future relationship between the EU and the UK.
The lower house does not approve changes in Brexit law
Now the so-called exit law has been adopted in its final form of the lower house. It rejects all of the changes that the upper house had wanted. It paves the way for Britain to leave the EU as planned on 31 January. Queen Elizabeth then gives her approval of the Brexit Act on January 23. On January 29, the European Parliament will vote on the exit law, which is expected to be a pure formality. This is followed by an eleven-month transition period in which the UK must continue to follow EU rules, but where the country lacks representation in the EU’s various bodies. At the same time, negotiations on how to start the future relations between the EU and the UK will begin.
The upper house votes no to parts of the Brexit Act
The Conservative government is suffering its first defeat in Parliament after the 2019 elections. These are some parts of Brexit legislation. A majority of the upper house votes for EU citizens living in the UK to receive a printed document showing that they have the right to live there. They also reject a proposal that ministers should be empowered to decide what decisions in the European Court of Justice that British courts and tribunals need not follow. The government is still expected to get through its proposals via new ballots in the lower house. The next day, the upper house goes against the government in yet another case, this time the right of unaccompanied refugee children to reunite with their parents in the UK after the Brexit. In the latest version of the exit law, this has been deleted,
The Queen: Harry and Meghan will no longer represent the monarchy
Queen Elizabeth II announces that Prince Harry and his American husband Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will no longer formally represent the British monarchy. They also lose their royal apanage and will have to pay back the money spent on renovating their home in the UK. They are also not allowed to use the Duke and Duchess titles to make money. The change will take place in the spring of 2020 and is a result of the couple earlier this month announcing via Instagram that they will step back from public assignments, that they intend to become financially independent and partially settle in Canada. One reason for this is partly how Meghan Markle was dealt with by parts of the British press.
“Appropriations to Northern Ireland insufficient”
The UK government promises a £ 1 billion grant to Northern Ireland, plus the same amount of extra money for, among other things, higher wages for nurses, to reform the public sector and to deal with the province’s special circumstances. But the money will be accompanied by strict conditions. Provincial Finance Minister Conor Murphy, from Sinn Féin, expresses dissatisfaction with the size of the appropriation and says it will not cover this year’s costs. Northern Ireland’s Julian Smith emphasizes that Northern Ireland will receive more money when the UK leaves the EU.
British criticism of Iran
The United Kingdom, France and Germany, which were all parties to the JCPOA 2015 International Agreement on Iran’s Nuclear Energy Program, are launching a procedure based on the assessment that Iran does not fulfill the agreement. However, unlike the United States, the three European countries have not withdrawn from the agreement, and they explicitly say they do not support President Trump’s line of putting Iran under maximum pressure. Later that day, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will support a new agreement that would be negotiated by US President Donald Trump. However, a spokesman for the UK government says it does not mean the UK wants to withdraw from the previous agreement.
Johnson says no to a new referendum in Scotland
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says no to a request for Edinburgh to be given powers to announce a referendum on independence for Scotland, as requested by Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon in a letter sent in late 2019. Sturgeon believes Scotland should have the right to decide on it when the Scots majority (62 percent) voted to remain within the EU in the 2016 referendum.
Five candidates in the fight for the Labor leader post in Labor
Five candidates for new Labor leader remain when the first stage of the nomination process is completed. It is Keir Starmer with 88 nominations, Rebecca Long Bailey (33 nominations), Lisa Nandy (31), Jess Phillips (23) and Emily Thornberry (23) (see January 7, 2020). Clive Lewis gives up after only being nominated by five MPs. Later, Jess Philips also jumps off. The vote on who it will be will be held between February 21 and April 2. On April 4, a new Labor leader should have been appointed.
New Northern Ireland government ready
Now the new Northern Ireland provincial government has been formed, with Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) as prime minister and Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin as deputy prime minister. All of Northern Ireland’s five largest parties are members of the new government, except those mentioned above: the Alliance Party, the Social Democratic and Nationalist SDLP, Ulster’s Unionist Party (UUP). Alex Maskey from Sinn Féin is elected new President.
Clear sign for a new government in Northern Ireland after three years
Northern Ireland will face a new provincial government following a three-year political crisis, which has also become more difficult due to Britain’s decision to leave the EU. The Northern Ireland parties thus approve the draft agreement submitted by the London and Dublin governments (you can read the agreement here). According to this, a number of measures will be taken to deal with the serious care crisis in Northern Ireland, with long care queues and staff striving for higher wages and better working conditions and more. An action plan should also be presented for mental health care (the many suicides presented to all among men have attracted considerable attention in recent years). There will also be investments in the schools, more police will be hired, measures will be taken to guarantee the rights of minorities. The controversy surrounding the Irish language law promised in the St Andrews Agreement in 2007 has been resolved by making both Irish and Ulster-Scottish official languages. New commissioners will take over to deal with the language issue and develop the languages and culture.
The lower house gives its final approval of the Brexit agreement
Now the lower house now gives its final approval of the latest exit agreement agreed by the UK and the EU. 330 members voted for the agreement, 231 voted against. Now the agreement will also be dealt with by the upper house, and only if it has serious objections to it will it be taken up again in the lower house. The vote paves the way for Britain to leave the EU as planned on 31 January.
Raab condemns Iran’s robotic attacks
British Defense Minister Dominic Raab condemns Iran’s robot attacks against two air bases in Iraq, where both American and British personnel are stationed. The attacks are a revenge for the shooting death of Iraqi General Qasem Soleimani on January 3. According to Raab, no British were killed in the attacks.
Six Labor politicians want to take over after Corbyn
7 th of January
Six candidates have now announced that they will take part in Labor’s party leadership election. It is Rebecca Long-Bailey, who is the spokesperson on business affairs and is considered to belong to the Corbyn camp within the party and is the party spokesperson on business affairs, Keir Stramrer, who speaks on Brexit issues, Emily Thornberry, spokesman on foreign affairs, as well as MPs Lisa and Lewis Phillips. The new party leader will take up the post on April 4, 2020.
Johnson calls for restraint in the Iran crisis
After the US kills Qasem Soleimani, general of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards and commander of foreign force al-Quds (“Jerusalem Force”) in Baghdad, Iraq, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is not mourning Soleimani’s death but at the same time calls on the parties for restraint. He says he has been in contact with US President Donald Trump, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s President Emmanuel Macron as well as having taken steps to ensure the security of British troops and British interests in the region. Assessors describe this as the first foreign policy crisis Johnson has to deal with, where he must balance support for the United States with attempts to reduce tensions to Iran. The United Kingdom should not have received any warning about what would happen from the US. At home, Johnson is criticized for keeping a low profile in the crisis. It was not until two days after the shooting death that he returned from his vacation in the Caribbean and he chose not to inform the lower house about what happens when it gathered after the weekends.
48 percent of the UK’s electricity from fossil-free fuels
For the first time in 2019, the UK has produced more energy from fossil-free sources than from fossil fuels. Over 48 percent of the electricity comes from solar, wind, water and nuclear power, compared with 43 percent from fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. The UK has promised net greenhouse gas emissions to be down to zero from 2050.