Some people may be feeling left behind at UK news lately, so here is a summary.
Thursday 23rd June 2016
- Referendum is held on membership of European Union. Exit polls suggest a narrow Remain win.
- UK wakes up to news that vote went to leave the EU by 17million votes to 15million;
- Pound collapses;
- Stock market plunges;
- Nigel Farage goes on ITV to deny that £350million promised by Leave battlebus for National Health Service will go anywhere near the National Health Service;
- Other notable Leave campaigners suggest continued single market presence and no cut in immigration;
- EU top brass ask for things to be tidied quickly;
- Leading Conservative Party “Leave” campaigners (Boris Johnson, ex Mayor of London, and Michael Gove, Justice Secretary) call on Prime Minister to stay on;
- David Cameron resigns as Leader of Conservative Party and announces intention to resign as Prime Minister when new leader is elected in October;
- Cameron kindly leaves triggering departure from the EU to his successor;
- Boris and Gove hold press conference where they stand around looking like they don’t really know what to do, weren’t expecting the result and have been steamrollered out of existence;
- Both suggest a period of calm and that there is no need to rush the result they had been anxiously fighting for;
- Scottish top brass say angry things;
- Boris is abused for his support for Leave.
- Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, suggests that EU exit talks will be nice and friendly;
- Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Opposition, denies he is going to quit too as various people blame him for not delivering a Labour block vote for Remain.
- Jeremy Corbyn fires his Shadow Foreign Secretary Hillary Benn;
- Reports that half Corbyn’s top team will now resign feel overblown;
- Petition for a second EU referendum set up by a Leave supporter expecting to lose is overladen with support, some of it created by computer programmes written by people who fancied making computers repeatedly sign petitions;
- England win at rugby against Australia;
- 12 of Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet members quit in protest at his continued leadership, including most of the people who voters might have heard of for moderately good reasons (and the woman who said that Ed Miliband carving his vacuous election pledges in a bit of stone last year didn’t mean he wasn’t going to break them).
- Most of the rest of Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet quits, leaving some of his mates, an ex-girlfriend, two people who can’t resign but promised to stop attending and a former party leadership contender whose attitudes bear a certain resemblance to a drowned sponge;
- Angela Eagle, one of those resigning, breaks down in tears on television;
- Corbyn recruits most of his remaining supporters/ people who would rather not have a Labour leadership contest to his Shadow Cabinet, filling roughly half the vacancies;
- Names include such widely-known figures as Pat Glass MP;
- Nick Clegg, once Liberal-Democratic Party leader and former Deputy Prime Minister, suggests an early election but is told by David Cameron that someone called Nick Clegg got a law passed about fixed-term Parliaments so he can’t go back to the country;
- Anti-foreign sentiment in UK post-referendum prompts concern;
- Corbyn heckled and told he faces a leadership contest at Labour party meeting;
- He goes to a rally of his supporters afterwards;
- Tory party reckons it should manage its leadership contest by 2nd September;
- England knocked out of Euro 2016 football tournament (by… err… Iceland);
- Panda gives birth to twins in China.
- Nigel Farage, man who has done very little worth commenting on except complaining about the European Union and getting stuck in M4 traffic jams, accuses European Parliament members of having never had proper jobs;
- Pound continues to fall;
- Pat Glass MP decides she can’t face being MP for another term and tells her local party she will stand down at the next election;
- Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President, observes that people leaving the EU are, for obvious reasons, going to be outside the EU;
- Corbyn massively loses an unofficial vote of confidence in his leadership by 172 votes to 40;
- General feeling that nobody else from Corbyn’s cabinet will resign now.
- Pat Glass MP resigns from Shadow Cabinet;
- Tory Party launches leadership contest. Anyone can stand if they can get two people to nominate them in 24 hours. Immediate appearance by Stephen Crabbe, Work and Pensions Secretary;
- Corbyn mocked at Prime Minister’s Questions and told to resign by Cameron;
- Gibralter begins looking at options for not totally uncoupling from the EU;
- It is announced that Angela Eagle will spend Thursday challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour Party leadership.
- Theresa May, Liam Fox and Andrea Leadsom quietly launch Tory leadership campaigns;
- Michael Gove announces that despite years of not wanting to be Prime Minister and being totally unsuited to the role he regrettably considers it his duty to stand because Boris is incapable;
- Boris spends a press conference thought to be intended to launch his leadership bid, sets out his aims for the country and then closes by saying he won’t stand, leaving a distinct impression that he has given up on the premiership and his remaining political ambition is the Chiltern Hundreds;
- Gove has to spend the first bits of his leadership campaign explaining why he knifed Johnson in several places;
- The Eagle does not launch.
Friday 1st July
- Some debate over how to handle EU negotiations;
- Labour top brass reject calls for their party to back a second referendum or ignore the result of the first if they win any early election;
- George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, gives up on his delayed budget surplus targets;
- Wales goes through to the semi-finals of the Euro 2016 football tournament.
- Shadow Cabinet look at ways to lever Corbyn out;
- Neil Kinnock tells Corbyn to go;
- Protest in London against democracy (specifically the referendum result).
- Andrea Leadsom says we should get on with leaving the EU;
- Theresa May says there is no rush and people want a good prime minister for PM, not specifically a Brexiteer.
- Nigel Farage resigns from UK Independence Party leadership – to jubilation from his Parliamentary party, who had a UKIP MPs meeting on Brexit arrangements and agreed unanimously with himself;
- Chris Evans resigns from his short-lived job hosting BBC2 show Top Gear – to jubilation from his predecessors, who were out in the sticks somewhere filming their new show for Amazon;
- Jeremy Corbyn does not resign – to the continued jubilation of his supporters;
- Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says Theresa May is quite right not to guarantee EU citizen residency rights in UK (useful bargaining chip for British citizen residency rights in the EU and a general sign that the UK is reverting to the good old foreign policy approach that saw it sink the French fleet in 1940).
- Teachers go on strike;
- Tory MPs vote on their leadership candidate preferences;
- Ken Clarke, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, is filmed making caustic remarks about “anyone but Gove” and how Theresa May is a “bloody difficult woman, but then you and I worked for Margaret Thatcher”;
- His interlocutor Malcolm Rifkind remarks that he and Ken would happily have had that conversation on the record if Sky had asked them to;
- Liam Fox knocked out of contest;
- Stephen Crabbe withdraws;
- Theresa May leads by some margin;
- Next round on Thursday;
- Twentieth anniversary of Dolly the Sheep, the first clone of an adult mammal.
- Chilcot report into Iraq War published. Broadly speaking, Blair got carried away and deluded himself but with no dishonest intent;
- Tony defends himself;
- Wales knocked out of Euro 2016 tournament.
- Tony defends himself some more;
- Questions continue as to how much we want to leave the EU;
- Tony says world is a better place without Saddam;
- Gove supporters try to drum up support by suggesting that Andrea Leadsom, who hardly anyone had heard of a month or so previously, is not suitable leadership material;
- It is generally agreed that Tony Blair is probably not going to prison over Iraq;
- Ian Hislop spends a Question Time appearance arguing that just because Remain lost the referendum doesn’t mean it should be ignored forever more;
- Michael Gove, to the surprise of very few people, is knocked out of the Tory leadership contest;
- Tory party seems to generally incline towards his previous view that he is unsuited to be Prime Minister, and does not want him to put himself out unnecessarily;
- In the process of leaving he guarantees that the new Prime Minister will be a woman, for only the second time in the exceptionally long history of the Tory Party.
- The actor who played Sulu in 1960s Star Trek is upset that Sulu has been outed as gay in the latest film (ironic, as Takei is also gay);
- Andrea Leadsom gives the Times an interview in which she says she won’t make the leadership contest about how she’s a mother and May isn’t because that would be “horrible” before going on to explain how as a mother she is making an investment in the future for her children.
- Andrea Leadsom sees the morning’s Times and takes issue with the headline saying that she thinks that as a mother she is making an investment in the future for her children;
- Italian foreign minister suggests UK might not leave the EU;
- Labour begins looking at nuclear deterrent options for its defence review;
- Tories announce plan to break up already wrecked Labour Party by having a vote on Trident renewal (which the Tories are largely in favour of, but Labour’s leader isn’t);
- The Eagle to fly on Monday;
- Still no candidate for UKIP leadership contest.
- Conservative Party wins general election (foreign news from Australia);
- Ongoing controversy over whether being a mother is a qualification for the role of Prime Minister, battering Leadsom in the process;
- John Prescott, once Tony Blair’s Deputy Prime Minister, announces the Iraq War to be illegal (some 13¼ years after he could have stopped it by resigning);
- Corbyn tries to calm critics by saying he voted to Remain;
- Chris Evans backs American co-host Matt LeBlanc to anchor next series of Top Gear;
- Andy Murray wins Wimbledon.
- Theresa May goes to Birmingham to make a speech about why she should be Tory leader;
- Angela Eagle gets all the nation’s political press into a room to announce her Labour leadership bid;
- This means the Press all discover simultaneously that they want to be over at Andrea Leadsom’s house, where she is coming onto her doorstep to announce the end of her leadership bid;
- Eagle finishes her speech, turns to questions and finds the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky political editors have all run away;
- Leadsom says she can’t be leader without more support from the Parliamentary party [and a vastly thicker skin] and wishes May success as sole remaining Tory leadership candidate;
- May has achieved this mostly by making a joke about Boris buying water cannon and not self-immolating;
- Southern Railway cancels 341 trains from its timetable so that customers have some idea of what’s not going to run while it finishes managing the Government’s dispute with a trade union;
- Tory Party backbencher leader Graham Brady, technically the Chair of the 1922 Committee, announces that there need to be some internal discussions as to how to manage a leadership contest with one candidate;
- Discussions conclude Theresa May is the winner;
- Labour put out two press releases almost simultaneously, one demanding an immediate General Election and the other announcing a leadership election between two candidates of such polar opposites that they would be unable to agree a manifesto;
- Cameron comes out of No. 10 Downing Street to announce he will be resigning as Prime Minister after Prime Minister’s Questions on the 13th and expects to be replaced by Theresa May, after which he goes back inside humming the opening chords of “Braid the Raven Hair” from The Mikado.
- David Cameron hosts his final Cabinet meeting;
- Angela Eagle’s office is vandalised;
- Jeremy Corbyn appeals for calm and for him to be on the Labour leadership ballot paper without needing to seek nominations;
- Neil Kinnock repeats previous observations that when Corbyn’s mate Tony Benn stood against him for the leadership in the 1980s Kinnock had to scuttle round for nominations;
- Petition on second EU referendum to be debated on 5th September in Parliament;
- Bernie Sanders backs Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for President of the United States of America after a contest that began a year or so ago;
- Jeremy Corbyn is announced to be on the ballot for the Labour leadership without needing nominations.
- Sun headline is about the BBC “faking” a “live” TV programme about trains by featuring a bit of film submitted by a viewer that was taking in February, thereby getting a picture of a Class 66 on the front of a national paper;
- The Japanese Emperor announces he intends to abdicate;
- The Prime Minister David Cameron lays into Labour for not being able to decide the rules of their leadership contest in the time it’s taken the Tories to have a leadership contest, praises Theresa May, claims he doesn’t hate the Downing Street cat, makes a speech thanking everyone in front of TV cameras, aides, his children and SamCam, goes to Buckingham Palace and quits;
- Theresa May goes to Buckingham Palace and accepts an invitation to form a Government;
- The Prime Minister Theresa May makes shorter speech than Cameron’s outside No.10 which doesn’t so much park tanks on Labour’s lawn as blow up their house, ransack the garden and build a new garden wall that confines the Opposition to the compost heap;
- Speech is noted as being rather like the one Ed Miliband would probably have made if he won last year’s election;
- Labour is too busy discussing if Pontypridd MP Owen Smith should be on the leadership election ballot paper to notice;
- The Mays refuse demands from the Press to kiss on live international television;
- George Osborne is encouraged to resign before he can outstay his welcome;
- New Government appointed with Philip Hammond as Chancellor (he was Osborne’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury until May 2010, when David Lawes got the full job and Hammond was banished to Transport), Boris as Foreign Secretary (he could have been Prime Minister in three years’ time if he’d backed Remain), Amber Rudd as Home Secretary and David Davis (not the MP for Monmouth) as Secretary of State for Leaving the European Union.
Note for Posterity
The above all actually happened and occurred in the timeframe specified.
One question remains. David Cameron had a house of his own in London which was tenanted. The tenants have apparently been given notice.
We have not heard enough about these tenants.
Did they know who their landlord was? If they did, they have presumably been packing since Friday 24th.
If not, one can picture them cheering his resignation when the phone rings.
“Sorry,” says the estate agent, “I’m afraid you’ve been given notice. Landlord needs his house back.”
“He’s got to leave his place in a hurry after he quit his job.”
“What job was that?”
Here is a mid-winter picture of a bridge in Maidenhead, our new Prime Minister’s constituency:
Maidenhead is one of the richest constituencies in the country. Jerome described the town as “too snobby to be pleasant” but added that the stretch of the Thames up to Cookham is “unbroken loveliness … perhaps, the sweetest stretch of all the river”.
Of course our previous Prime Minister was based in Witney, incorporating Charlbury and Hanborough, on the North-western side of Oxford.