Natural resources and energy
The UK has large assets in oil, natural gas and coal. The natural gas and oil in the North Sea began to be mined in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively. At the same time, the coal industry lost significance. In 2015, the last coal mine, Kellingley in Yorkshire, was shut down and now Britain imports coal. Otherwise, almost only gravel, limestone, plaster and pot ash are mined and small amounts of zinc and copper.
The oil industry is largely privately owned. Crude oil is exported, while the UK imports oil from other countries. During the 2010s, domestic oil and gas production decreased significantly and in 2011 oil and gas imports were larger than exports. In recent years, efforts have been made to produce liquefied natural gas (methane) at Milford Haven.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by United Kingdom with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Oil and natural gas are the most important sources of energy. Electricity is mainly produced from natural gas, coal and nuclear power, and to an increasing extent renewable energy sources such as solar energy and wind power (3.6 percent in 2016).
In 2016, eight nuclear power plants were in use, most of them old and are scheduled to be closed by 2035. All were previously owned by British Energy, which was privatized in 2008 and sold to EDF Energy, which is largely owned by the French state.
Several new reactors are planned, but many of the projects are delayed, partly because it is difficult to finance the construction. In 2013, the government approved EDF’s plans to build two new reactors at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, with the help of state-owned Chinese company China General Nuclear Power (GNP). In July 2016, Prime Minister May considered stopping the project out of concern for China’s role in it, but in September of the same year, the government gave the go ahead.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, UK stands for United Kingdom. Visit itypeusa for more information about United Kingdom.
EDF and two Chinese companies also involved in two other UK nuclear projects: Sizewell C in Suffolk and Bradwell B in Essex.
The safety at Sellafield, a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, is disputed. Ireland, Norway and Denmark have tried to get the British to shut down the plant after reports of radioactive emissions. In 2016, the plant was taken over by the state through the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Even after that, there have been new alarms about security flaws.
In Sussex, for example, companies have started searching for shale oil and gas, which has sparked protests from the locals. According to The British Geological Survey, there may be large deposits in northern England. Those who are positive about extraction believe that it can help solve the country’s energy problems, while opponents warn of the environmental consequences. In 2016, a total ban on so-called hydraulic cracking (fracking) was introduced in Scotland.
According to a 2008 law, Britain should reduce emissions to half of the 1990 level by 2025 and to 80 per cent by 2050. The government was criticized in 2016 in a report by the Commission on Climate Change (CCC) for not being better prepared to counteract the consequences of a warmer climate, such as floods, severe heat waves, water shortages, new diseases. The government is committed to taking CCC’s recommendations into account in its climate policy.
At the Paris 2015 climate summit, the UK negotiated as part of the EU, and pledged, among other things, not to let global temperatures exceed 2 degrees. In November 2016, the British Government formally signed the Paris Agreement.
In July 2017, the government announced that the sale of new diesel and petrol-powered cars will be banned from 2040 to reduce air pollution.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
2,764 kilograms of oil equivalent (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
5130 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
419 820 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
6.5 tons (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
8.7 percent (2015)
Scotland presents its proposal for a Brexit agreement
Scotland’s Head of Government Nicola Sturgeon presents a proposal on how Scotland should continue to be part of the EU internal market. Among other things, she suggests that Scotland should be given new powers to make this possible. In the 50-page document, she advocates a solution where Scotland should be able to have its own agreement with the EU similar to Norway’s. For this to be possible, Scotland must be given the right to decide on immigration issues, as the free movement of labor is an important part of the internal market, and Scotland would be allowed to pay to the EU budget, but without any influence. on the decisions taken within the Union. At the same time, Prime Minister May is making statements indicating that she does not intend to allow Parliament to vote on a final Brexit agreement. In the past, Brexit Minister David Davis has promised such a vote. The risk of deciding with Parliament is that the UK could end up in a situation where the lower house rejects a settlement, and that the country leaves the cooperation without any new agreement with the EU.
Northern Ireland chief of government survives distrust vote
SDLP issues a statement of no confidenceagainst Northern Ireland’s Prime Minister Arlene Foster. This occurs after revelations about a program to get companies to invest in heating their premises with renewable energy, which she had been responsible for during her time as Minister of Business. The problem was that there was no upper limit on how much was allowed to be paid and that the companies could get more in subsidies the more energy they wasted. At least 14 cases of pure fraud have also been discovered: for example, a farmer should have paid out a million pounds to heat an empty barn. The program has now ended but will cost over £ 1 billion in public funds for 20 years, of which £ 400 million will be taken from the Northern Ireland budget. Foster’s attempt to handle the crisis on her own leads to a rift between her and Deputy Prime Minister Martin McGuinness, who urges her to leave her post. However, Foster survives the mistrust because McGuinness’s party Sinn Féin casts its votes.
Neo-Nazi groups are banned
The neo-Nazi group National Action is banned by Interior Minister Amber Rudd, who classifies it as a terrorist organization. Supporting the group from now on is seen as a crime. According to Rudd, N ational Action is a racist as well as anti-Semitic and homophobic organization that has no place in British society. However, National Action continues to be active and recruit new members. Since the new anti-terror law came into force in January 2015, eight Islamist organizations have been banned, including the Haqqani Network, Jamaah Anshorut Daulah and the Global Islamic Media Front.
Conservative party wins election election; Labor turns four
Conservative candidate Caroline Johnson clearly wins the election in Sleaford and North Hykeham. The election is a major setback for Labor, which ranks first in fourth place with 10 percent of the vote, compared to 10 percent in the 2015 election. Ukip’s candidate comes in second place, despite the party receiving fewer votes than 2015, the third being the Liberal Democrats, which increases by 5 percent.
The lower house approves the schedule for Brexit
The House of Commons votes by a clear majority for a Labor motion that the government should present a Brexit plan and have Parliament review its proposals. It is approved with 448 votes in favor and 75 against. The Government then proposes an amendment to respect its timetable for activating Article 50. 461 members then vote for 89 against.
The Liberal Democrats win election elections
Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Olney wins the election in Richmond Park, a constituency where the Conservative Party previously had a clear majority. Her campaign before the election revolves around the opposition to a Brexit. She defeats Zac Goldsmith, who was the candidate of the Conservatives in the mayoral election in London. He now stood as an independent, having left the Conservative Party after the government approved the construction of a fifth runway at Heathrow. Olney also opposes the expansion of the airport.
May promises to send soldiers to Poland
In connection with a meeting between Theresa May and her Polish colleague Beata Szydło, the British Prime Minister promises that Britain will send 150 soldiers to Poland in April 2017. This is to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank towards Poland.
Nutsal new leader for Ukip
Paul Nuttal, Member of the European Parliament, is elected new party leader for Ukip. On entering, he promises to address issues that are “important to the working class”: immigration, crime, defense, aid and ensuring that “Brits should be allowed to stand first in the job queue”.
Hammond predicts financial problems
Finance Minister Philip Hammond presents his and the Budget Office’s (OBR) financial forecast. It predicts, among other things, that the government will need to borrow £ 122 billion more than was said in the March budget, of which almost half is due to the Brexit, and that growth for 2017 is believed to be just over 1 percent, almost 1n percent lower than in March. Some MPs who are positive about Brexit criticize Hammond and the OBR for giving an overly pessimistic view of the British economy. However, Hammond says there are other factors besides the exit of the EU, such as the result of the US presidential election and lower growth in China. However, the Minister of Finance promises new money, £ 23 billion over 5 years, for infrastructure projects and innovations. Another investment concerns housing construction (at affordable prices) and an increase in the minimum wage.
Britain signs climate agreement
The British government signs the Paris Agreement to combat climate change.
The timetable for Brexit is firm
Prime Minister May says the ruling in the High Court does not affect the British government’s timetable for activating Article 50. She also rejects the demands for fresh elections.
Setback for the government
The London High Court decides that the government is not entitled to activate Article 50 without Parliament’s say. The government says it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. After the court ruling, the value of the pound rose during the day.
Court: Stormont cannot stop an exit
The Belfast High Court ruled that the Northern Ireland Parliament cannot intervene to prevent the UK from leaving the EU. It considers that there is no support in the legislation for this. Human rights activist Raymond McCord, one of those who brought the matter to court, says he intends to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
No consensus on Brexit strategy
Prime Minister May meets the heads of government from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to try to agree on a common strategy for the negotiations for an EU exit, something she does not succeed. After the meeting, Nicola Sturgeon expresses great frustration at not knowing more about how the government intends to act, and says she is preparing proposals that will pave the way for Scotland to continue to be part of the EU’s common market even though the rest of the UK leaves it.
Parliament is likely to vote on “Brexit agreement”
The government’s lawyers confirm media information that Parliament should be allowed to vote on a completed “Brexit settlement”. Prime Minister May, however, opposes a vote before Britain activates Article 50.
Britain receives children from French tent camps
The United Kingdom agrees to welcome hundreds of minors living in the tent camps in Calais where people gathered to illegally enter the country. The young people concerned have relatives in the UK.
Brexit will be a case in court
The debate over whether the government can activate Article 50 without consulting Parliament is taking off in October. Several people turn to court to have this tried in the High Court in London. they emphasize that the referendum in June was only advisory. The government claims that it can decide the matter on its own, via a so-called royal privilege that gives it the right to act on foreign policy issues without consulting Parliament. Earlier, a similar class action has been launched in court in Northern Ireland by people who claim that Northern Ireland has the right to veto an EU exit.
The Uki leader leaves
Diane James leaves the party leader post in Ukip. As a reason, she states that she does not have the authority necessary to push through the changes she wants in the party. Farage temporarily joins as party leader.
May wants to lead her party towards the political center
In her closing speech at the Conservatives’ party conference, Prime Minister May said she wants to lead her party toward the political center, that the government should be “a good force” to help ordinary working-class people to a better life. The government’s task is to take care of “the individuals, society at large and the market cannot cope”. The speech is seen as an invitation to Labor voters who are dissatisfied with their own party. Following May’s announcement of the government’s attitude towards the EU, the pound fell in value, to the lowest level in 31 years.
Brexit starts at the latest in March 2017
At the Conservative Party’s conference, Prime Minister May says the UK intends to activate Article 50 by May 2017. That would mean that the country leaves the cooperation in the summer of 2019. May also says it is not Parliament’s decision to decide when and how it should be done. She makes a clear indication that she wants the UK to maintain the common market for goods and services, but that the British themselves control who gets to immigrate to the country. She also makes a flag against the Scottish Government and says the UK should leave the EU as a unit.
Corbyn wins party leader election
Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn defeats with clear numbers, nearly 62 percent of the vote, challenger Owen Smith.
New leader for Ukip
Diane James is appointed new leader of Ukip after Nigel Farage. She is a member of the European Parliament and was until now the party’s vice-president.
Better relations with Argentina
For the first time since 1999, a thunderstorm is reported in contacts between the UK and Argentina. In a joint statement, the countries say that they will now cooperate on a number of issues, and that the restrictions on the extraction of gas and oil around the Falkland Islands will be removed. Air connections should now be established between the Falkland Islands and countries in the region and more will be done to speed up the fishing industry in the area.
Clear sign for new nuclear power plant
The government gives the go-ahead for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant to be built in south-west England with the help of French and Chinese money.
Cameron is criticized for British intervention in Libya
A parliamentary committee criticizes Cameron for Britain’s military intervention in Libya in 2011, which it claims was not sufficiently substantiated by intelligence material. Criticism is also directed at the fact that the government did not detect the threat posed by militant Islamists, and that there was no clear British strategy for what to do when Gaddafi was overthrown. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs defends the decision to intervene in Libya.
Cameron leaves the lower house
The former prime minister announces that he is giving up his seat in parliament. It is speculated that he makes it too easy for his successor.
New constituency creates controversy
An independent commission presents a plan for what a new constituency for the lower house should look like. If the plan is approved, the number of seats must be reduced from 650 to 600 (the next parliamentary elections will be held in 2020) (see Political system). The changes are expected to hit hardest against Labor (and the Liberal Democrats) who accuse the government of trying to favor its own party. Criticism is also directed at the fact that no account has been taken of the fact that over two million new voters who registered first before the referendum on the EU have been created since the plan for the new constituency was made. Some critics point out that the government wants to shrink the elected chamber, while allowing the number of members in the upper house to swell. A referral round will be conducted until December 5, and if the plans are kept, the lower house will vote on the proposal in September 2018.
Up for the economy, but gloomy times await
New figures show that the economy, the month after the referendum, performed better than expected, largely due to an upswing in retail trade. Prime Minister May, who has promised a more active economic policy than the one under Cameron, warns, however, that far-reaching conclusions cannot be drawn from this, not least because of low tax revenues and the uncertainty that Brexit will entail for many business.
May travels to China
Theresa May travels to a G20 meeting in China at the beginning of the month. There, among other things, she hopes to be able to convince Chinese and Indian leaders that Britain is still a “strong and reliable” trading partner. A sensitive issue for May is whether the UK should, for security reasons, tear down a decision on a nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point, in the UK where the Chinese state, in addition to French interests, has invested money.
SNP in new campaign for Scottish independence
Scotland’s Head of Government Nicola Sturgeon initiates “new talks” between residents about independence. The campaign will be conducted online and through the 120,000 SNP members to contact voters to share their views. The hope is to reach at least two million people. A commission will also investigate the consequences of Scottish independence for the economy. The opposition demands that Sturgeon instead address the problems that Scotland is facing now, including a large government deficit (about £ 15 billion).
Muslim minister is condemned for support for IS
Anjem Choudary risks being sentenced to ten years in prison for his support to the Islamic State (IS) terror group. He has, via Youtube, among other things, urged Muslims to support IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, he has also had contacts with one of the men who murdered a British soldier, Lee Rigby, in 2013 (see May 2013).
UK waives EU presidency 2017
The UK is taking a first step towards leaving the EU when Prime Minister May announces that the UK will not be the EU Presidency during the second half of 2017 as planned. May states that the United Kingdom should instead concentrate on exit negotiations. She also states that the UK will not activate the exit process before 2017.
Owen against Corbyn in the party elections
Angela Eagle abandons her plans to challenge Jeremy Corbyn over Labor’s party leadership post. It happens after Eagle states that she has less support among party MPs than Owen Smith. The election will be decided at the party conference on September 24.
May becomes Prime Minister
Theresa May takes over as head of government and presents a government with many new faces. New Minister of the Interior becomes Amber Rudd and Philip Hammond appointed Finance Minister. A newly created post, Brexit Minister, goes to David Davis, who thus gets the responsibility for conducting the exit negotiations with the EU. Boris Johnson is appointed Foreign Minister, which draws criticism from many directions as Johnson made himself known for provocative foreign policy statements. Both Johnson and Davis and Secretary of Commerce Liam Fox advocated that Britain should leave the EU in the referendum, but otherwise dominate ministers who wanted the country to continue as an EU member. The proportion of female ministers is equal to that of the outgoing government, 30 percent,
Leadsom jumps off, May new Conservative leader
Andrea Leadsom withdraws her candidacy for the party leader post. Leadsom has raised criticism when she stated in a newspaper interview that she would be a better leader than May because, unlike May, she has children. After Leadsom’s resignation, May is appointed party leader, and later on the same day Cameron announces that he will hand over as prime minister to May on Wednesday, July 13.
Lawyers against Brexit
In a letter to the government, over 1000 lawyers demand that Parliament make a decision on leaving the EU before the UK activates the exit process. Since the referendum was only advisory, a decision by Parliament is required according to the correspondents.
Smith and Eagle challenge Corbyn in Labor’s party leadership election
Labor crisis worsens when MP Angela Eagle announces via media that she intends to challenge Corbyn over the party leader post. Two days later, another Labor MP, Owen Smith, gives the same message.
Blair is criticized for the Iraq war
The commission that examined Britain’s involvement in Iraq, from the 2003 war to 2009, gives former Labor leader Tony Blair stinging criticism in his final report. Mr Blair was prime minister at the time of the conflict and according to the commission he led the country into a war that was poorly planned, sadly executed and which could be questioned legally. The Commission points out, among other things, that the United Kingdom joined the US-led invasion of Iraq before all other possibilities were exhausted and that the decision was based on false information that Iraq would have weapons of mass destruction. According to the Commission, Iraq posed no threat at the time of the invasion. Blair defends himself by acting in good faith and believing he did what was best for the country.
May takes the lead in the Tories party leadership election
Five people are in the party leadership: Interior Minister Theresa May, Minister of Justice Michael Gove, Minister of Labor and Pensions Stephen Crabb, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsome and former Defense Minister Liam Fox. May wins when the Conservative MPs on July 5 make a first vote to elect Cameroon’s successor. May gets 165 votes against 66 for Andrea Leadsom and 48 for Michael Gove. Fox and Crabb pull out and give their support to May. After a second vote by Conservative MPs two days later, Gove resigns. May and Leadsom thus remain as candidates for the party leader post. However, May has taken over with 189 votes against 84 for Leadsome.
Farage resigns as Ukip leader
Nigel Farage leaves his post as leader of Ukip and says his political goals have been achieved as the UK now leaves the EU. Farage also says he will monitor Britain’s exit process “like a hawk” from his position as a Member of the European Parliament.
Boris Johnson jumps off the party leadership election
Former London mayor Boris Johnson, who has been seen as one of the main favorites to take over after Cameron announces on June 30 that he is not running for the party leadership election. This is done after Minister of Justice Michael Gove, his couple horse from the Brexit campaign, announced that he will stand. When Gove announces his candidacy, he says Johnson does not “have the right qualities to become prime minister.”
Several media outlets report an increase in the number of hate crimes targeting immigrants in the UK.
The UK’s credit rating is lowered
Credit rating agencies Standard & Poor and Moody’s lower the UK’s credit rating from AAA to AA-.
Sturgeon meeting in Brussels
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon continues her diplomatic efforts to try to save Scotland within the EU. She will receive the Scottish Parliament’s mandate on June 28 to hold consultations with both UK authorities and EU representatives. She also travels to Brussels to meet European Parliament President Martin Schulz and other EU politicians. France and Spain indicate that they oppose any negotiations on possible EU membership for Scotland.
Corbyn loses confidence vote
80 percent of Labor’s MPs support a vote of no confidence in the party leader. However, the MPs are not entitled to dismiss him, it can only be done by a vote in the party and Corbyn has strong support from many members and the trade unions.
Osborne: EU exit will require major savings
In his first statement following the referendum, Finance Minister Osborne says that the United Kingdom is strong on June 27 and that it does not intend to present a crisis budget, something he had previously said would be needed in the event of a victory for Brexit. Just a day later, he says that both tax increases and big savings will be required to deal with the problems that the EU exit poses to the economy, but that the decision will be made by the new prime minister. Osborne is now abandoning the target for the state budget to end on plus from 2020.
Rebellion against the Labor leader
20 people leave Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet the weekend after the referendum. This has happened since Hilary Benn, responsible for foreign policy in the shadow cabinet, was dismissed after criticizing the Labor leader’s way of running the campaign before the referendum. Behind the drop-off, there is concern that Labor would not be able to win a Corbyn election at the helm. The Labor leader says he does not intend to step down, and he still has strong support among members.
Cameron announces his departure
David Cameron announces that he will step down as prime minister and party leader in connection with the Conservatives’ party conference in October.
EU opponents win the referendum
A close majority of voters, 51.8 percent, vote for the UK to leave the EU. They clearly win in England and Wales with 53.4 percent and 52.5 percent, respectively, while those who want the UK to remain in the EU get 62 percent in Scotland and 55.8 percent in Northern Ireland. The turnout is 72 percent.
Ukip leader’s election poster is upset
The resistance to immigration has played a major role in the campaign to persuade the British to vote for an exit from the EU. There are sharp protests from many directions when Ukip leader Nigel Farage poses in front of a election poster, entitled Smärtgränsen, which depicts Syrian refugees.
Labor politicians are murdered
Jo Cox, Labor MP, is murdered in connection with a meeting in her constituency in Yorkshire. She had had an active role in the campaign for Britain to remain within the EU. The suspect killer has, according to press reports, a history of mental illness. Later comes information that indicates that the man has links to extreme right movements. The murder is condemned by all parties and both sides decide to pause the campaign.
The European Court of Justice gives Britain the right
The European Court of Justice decides that the UK authorities have the right not to pay child support or to provide tax breaks to families with children whose parents do not work in the UK or do not have the right to settle in the country. According to the judgment, the British Government had the right to make these exceptions in order to “protect” the country’s finances. It was the European Commission who wanted to get it tested if British authorities violated EU rules when controlling immigrants from other EU countries when they do not do the same with British citizens.
The deadline for voting is extended
From mid-May to June 7, 1.65 million voters have registered to vote in the referendum on the EU, over half a million of them in the last 24 hours. Technical problems on the website allow voters two days to register. Those entitled to vote are all British and Irish citizens of the United Kingdom who have attained the age of 18, citizens of Commonwealth countries who have attained the age of 18 and have a residence permit, British citizens who live abroad and who have registered to vote in any British election during for the past 15 years, Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland who are resident abroad as well as Irish nationals living abroad who have been registered to vote in an election in Northern Ireland for the past 15 years.
New Northern Ireland government ready
Eleven of the twelve ministers come from the two largest parties, DUP and Sinn Fein. The independent member, Unionist Claire Sugden, becomes the province’s new Minister of Justice. Several parties, the UUP, the SDLP and the Alliance Party, have chosen to go into opposition. This means that for the first time in many years there will be an official opposition in the Stormont provincial parliament.
The real estate industry should be cleaned
In connection with the initiation of the corruption summit, Cameron says that “dirty” money should be cleared out of the property market with the help of a new public register. There are many anonymous offshore companies among the more than 100,000 foreign companies that own real estate in the UK, but they are now required to account for ownership.
The DUP wins the provincial election in Northern Ireland
The Democratic Unionist Party wins 38 of the 108 seats in the provincial election, 10 more than the nationalist party Sinn Féin, which becomes the second largest. Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) gets 16 seats, Nationalist SDLP gets 12 seats and Alliance Party 8. Several smaller parties also join Stormont, Alliance People for Profit gets their first 2 seats, Green Party gets equal number, while Ulster’s traditional vote (TUV) receives a mandate. An independent member is also elected to the provincial parliament.
Labor wins the mayoral election in London
When local elections are held at the beginning of the month, Labor manages to retain power in a number of important locations in England and wins the mayoral election in London, with Sadiq Khan becoming the city’s first Muslim mayor. Labor also remains the largest in Wales. Ukip goes ahead and gets seven seats in the Welsh Parliament, among other things. In Scotland, the SNP takes home its third straight victory. The Conservative Party is progressing strongly, at the expense of mainly Labor, which now becomes the third largest party in the Scottish Parliament.
Labor politicians are accused of anti-Semitism
Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn and his party are shaken by a crisis after two leading politicians in the party, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and a Member of Parliament, are accused of having anti-Semitic views following statements about Israel. Both have been turned off from the party. Also, a number of local politicians are said to have been shut down following anti-Semitic claims, according to the Telegraph newspaper as many as fifty. An inquiry has been set up to investigate the prevalence of anti-Semitism and racism within the party.
Tata Steel UK branch is sold
Tata Steel sells parts of the company’s UK branch to the company Greybull for a symbolic sum. Thus, 5,000 jobs that were in the danger zone should be rescued (see March 2016).
The governor warns of Brexit
Mark Carney said at a meeting in the upper house that leaving the EU would have fatal consequences for the UK. He is criticized after that for interfering in politics, but dismisses the criticism by saying that he would interfere in politics if he had not said anything. According to a mid-April opinion poll, 38 per cent of Britons want the country to remain in the EU, 34 percent want the UK to leave the cooperation and 28 percent have not yet decided.
Corbyn pleads for Britain to remain in the EU
The Labor leader makes his first post for the yes-side ahead of the referendum. He emphasizes that the UK must remain within the EU in order to push through reforms. He also emphasizes the importance of the EU for labor law, the environment and consumer protection.
The election campaign starts before the EU vote
The election campaign before the EU vote begins. Prior to the start, the Election Commission has appointed two organizations that will receive official status during the campaign, they can dispose of more money, up to seven million pounds, and receive 600,000 pounds in state subsidies. Other organizations may spend at most £ 700,000 on their campaigns. On the yes side, it’s called Britain Stronger in Europe and led by Lord Rose. It brings together leading representatives of the Conservative Party, Labor, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, several major trade unions and business organizations. However, the SNP is running its own campaign in Scotland because it does not want to participate on the same platform as the Conservative Party. On the no-side will be Vote Leave, where the biggest names are London’s Mayor Boris Johnson and former Education Minister Michael Gove, which is given official status. This took place in competition with, among other things, Leave EU (which was first called The Know), which was formed in 2015 by Aaron Banks, who is also one of the largest contributors to Ukip. Another competitor is Grassroots Out (Go), which is supported by Ukip leader Nigel Farage. However, Go has been divided into a number of smaller units (for example, Left Go, Labor Go, Student Go, Business Go and Steel Go), likely to circumvent the rules on how much money they can invest in their campaign.
Ministers report tax payments after the Panama scandal
The controversy surrounding the Panama Papers has led several high-ranking ministers, including the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Osborne, to openly report how much they have paid in taxes. Labor leader Corbyn, London’s mayor Boris Johnson and all Scottish party leaders later also do the same. But Cameron, who in 2014 had promised to increase transparency in the UK tax haven, now seems to back on that point. The proposal has attracted strong opposition from, among others, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, who claim that the money would only be invested elsewhere. The British government says it has been able to withdraw £ 2 billion from people who have tried to escape tax through the tax haven.
Cameron in windy weather after Panama revelations
The revelations, via the so-called Panama document, that the Prime Minister’s late father, Ian Cameron, had large sums in an investment fund in the Bahamas. David Cameron initially says that he himself did not make any money on his father’s funds, but he later admits that he himself owned shares in the investment company (he sold them in 2009, however, the year before he became prime minister). This looks particularly bad, as the Prime Minister has previously accused prominent people of tax planning. From the left, the government is criticized for making such great efforts to prosecute grant fraud, while not doing much to address tax evasion. Opinion polls show that confidence in Cameron has fallen by eight percent since February.
Crisis in the steel industry
Indian steel group Tata Steel announces its intention to close its plants in the UK, which means that at least 15,000 jobs are in the danger zone, most in Port Talbot, Wales. The company’s profitability has decreased as steel production in China has increased, and the British steel mills have been losing for several years. The government is criticized for not reacting quickly enough to deal with the crisis (the government promises £ 400 million in April to try to save at least part of the British steel industry).
EU skeptic minister leaves government
Minister of Labor and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith resigns after criticizing Treasury Osborne’s plans for cuts in the welfare system. These, he says, affect people with disabilities and widen the social gaps in the country. Many analysts believe that Duncan Smith’s departure was, in fact, more about a referendum on the EU than on social policy. Iain Duncan Smith advocates for Britain to leave the EU.
Sinn Fein politicians demand a vote on united Ireland, if Britain leaves the EU
the 12th of March
Northern Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Martin McGuinness says that if the UK decides to leave the EU at the June referendum, a referendum on a united Ireland should also be held. As a reason, he states that Northern Ireland must be given the opportunity to remain in the EU by allowing the British province to join the Republic of Ireland. Opinion figures, however, indicate that such a vote would be a no.
The British will vote on the EU in June
The referendum on the EU will be held on June 23. Following a four-day marathon on February 18-21, EU member states agree on an agreement on Britain’s relationship with the Union. Cameron then announces that the referendum will be held on June 23. Shortly thereafter, London’s mayor, the Conservative Boris Johnson, says he wants the country to leave the EU. The prime ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have previously appealed to the government to postpone the referendum because of the risk that the elections to the regional parliaments in May will end in the cloud. Following the announcement of the referendum, the value of the pound against both the euro and the dollar falls by 8 and 9.5 percent, respectively.
Cameron and Tusk agree on EU reforms
On February 2, Prime Minister Cameron and President of the European Council Donald Tusk reach a preliminary settlement, which will, among other things, allow the UK to restrict EU citizens’ access to the UK welfare system for four years. But it would not be free for Britain to pull the “emergency brake” whenever they want; the measures must first be approved by other EU countries and the British themselves must be able to show what kind of pressure an extensive immigration from other EU countries has had on the welfare system. Other EU countries should also be able to use the emergency brake if they end up in a similar situation. The UK should also, according to the proposal, be able to stay out of the way when other Member States agree on an even closer cooperation. The country may continue to opt out of euro cooperation in the future, and the euro area countries should not be able to introduce new rules that affect those EU members who are not members of the currency union. The latter is seen as a way to protect the British financial industry, especially the City of London, from unwelcome rules for them. But although Cameron and Tusk have been able to agree, it is far from certain that their proposals will be accepted by other member states. The proposal is immediately criticized by EU opponents within the Conservative Party. A success for Cameron is that his proposal wins the support of Interior Minister Theresa May, who says she will take part in the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU.
Arlene Foster new prime minister in Northern Ireland
Peter Robinson resigns formally as Northern Ireland’s head of government. He is replaced by his party mate Arlene Foster.
Foreign-hostile GDP loses status as a party
The xenophobic GDP loses its official status as a political party. This happens after the party’s representatives have not submitted their annual details or paid the fee of 25 pounds.