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United Kingdom Education Facts


The choice of school and education is strongly related to the social class to which you belong. There are both state and private schools. A change that has occurred in recent years is that a number of new alternatives have emerged within the state system, which are partly financed by private actors.

Compulsory school is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16 (in England there is a formal compulsory schooling until the pupil reaches the age of 18). In Northern Ireland, children start school at the age of 4. The exams that most students take at the age of 16 qualify for a more advanced education. After another two years of study, a degree corresponding to the student’s degree is normally taken.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of United Kingdom, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

One problem is that thousands of 16- to 18-year-olds leave school early. Almost 9 percent of all British boys between the ages of 15 and 19 do not attend school or work.

Upper-class and middle-class children often attend private schools (some of which are boarding schools) funded by parents. However, most British children attend state schools controlled by local authorities. In England and Wales, there are now almost 7,000 schools, within the state system, run by religious communities. Until 1997, there were only Christian and Jewish schools, but since then a number of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu schools have also been started.

Some schools, academies, receive sponsorship money from, among others, business, churches and others, and are more independent than other state schools, including in terms of curricula and teacher salaries. The first academies were started under Labour’s rule in 1997–2010, but later bourgeois governments continued to expand the system, which was inspired by Swedish free schools. Unlike in Sweden, they must not be profitable.

In addition, there are just over 230 grammar schools, which aim to prepare students for higher education. We have also invested in vocational training through an apprenticeship program.

In Northern Ireland, Protestant and Catholic children usually attend various schools, most of which are funded by the state.

Higher education

There are more than 150 universities, of which the most famous are Oxford and Cambridge, and colleges. For a long time there has been a lively debate about social recruitment to the universities.

Fees were introduced at the universities in the 1990s, and have been gradually increased, despite student protests. Scottish students do not have to pay any fees at all as long as they study at a university in their own region. However, students from other parts of the UK have to pay to study at a Scottish university, but so far this does not apply to students from other EU countries.

When the Times Higher Education World University Rankings listed the world’s top universities in 2017, Oxford and Cambridge ended up in first and second place for the first time. Even three universities in London ended up high on the list, then there was a gap down to the other British universities. Among other things, they are faced with problems regarding the quality of teaching and growing debt for the students. Before the Brexit, there were also fewer EU students who wanted to study at British universities, which also began to find it harder to retain staff from other EU countries.

  • Educationvv: Provides school and education information in United Kingdom, covering middle school, high school and college education.


Proportion of children starting primary school

99.7 percent (2016)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

15 (2016)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

13.9 percent (2016)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

13.9 percent (2016)



May’s closest man is forced to step down

December 21

Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green is forced to resign from his post after being found lying about pornographic material found on his computer. In connection with the Metoo campaign, Green has also been accused of abusing a female journalist. May and Green are old friends and have worked together for many years. May states that she is “extremely sorry” for having to leave Green. It is the second time in two months that a minister is forced to leave the government, which undermines May’s already fragile position.

Majority wants Britain to remain in the EU

December 17

51 percent of Britons want to stay in the EU, according to an opinion poll published in Independent. 41 percent of the more than 1500 people surveyed say they support continued Brexit, while seven percent say they do not know how they want it.

May setback in the lower house

13th of December

The government and Prime Minister May suffer a defeat in the lower house, when eleven Conservative members choose to vote with the opposition, and one casts their vote. With the vote numbers 309 for and 305 against, the lower house approved a legislative amendment to the UK Withdrawal Bill, which allows MPs to vote on the final agreement between the UK and the EU. This is the first time May loses a vote in the House of Commons since she became Prime Minister in 2016. The Conservative members who opposed the government hope that through this they will be able to exert a greater influence on what a final EU-UK agreement looks like.

Breakthrough in Brexit negotiations

December 8

Theresa May and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announce a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations. The parties have now agreed that there should be no “hard border” between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, who has opposed all special solutions for Northern Ireland, expresses his appreciation that there will be no new “red border” in the sea between Northern Ireland and the UK mainland, however, exceptions can be made if the Northern Ireland Parliament, Stormont, agree to it. May also promises to comply with the agreements made in the 1998 Northern Ireland Peace Agreement. The UK Government and the EU have also agreed on the conditions to apply to EU citizens living, working or studying in the UK and vice versa. In the first instance, British courts should ensure that the rights of EU citizens are respected, but uncertain cases will be decided by the European Court of Justice for a transitional period of eight years. Another point is about how much money the UK should pay to the EU (British media indicates various sums between £ 35 and 50 billion) and that the UK should continue to contribute money to the EU budget at least until 2020. May emphasizes that the settlement is “fair to British taxpayers”. The settlement may also be approved at the Brussels Summit a few days later.

The border issue difficult in the Brexit negotiations

December 4th

Prime Minister May travels to Brussels for Brexit talks with the EU. Initially, it appears that the parties are well on their way to agreeing a settlement. But May is allowed to go home without reaching the breakthrough she hoped for. It is the question of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland that is most difficult. Data leaked about a special solution for Northern Ireland, which however, DUP leader Arlene Foster refuses to agree (at the same time as her party opposes a “hard border” between the British province and Northern Ireland), as they fear it could be a first step towards Northern Ireland becoming part of the Republic of Ireland. But the opposition comes not only from the DUP, but also from forces within the Conservative Party that want a “hard Brexit”. The border issue needs to be resolved in order for the UK to start negotiating trade issues. However, the idea of ​​a deal in which Northern Ireland would in practice continue to be part of the common market and the EU Customs Union risks creating new conflicts in British politics, as both the Scottish Government, the Welsh Minister and the London mayor plead for similar Special solutions should also be created for them.

Immigration from EU countries is decreasing

1 December

Immigration to the UK has decreased following the Brexit vote. According to new figures from the ONS statistics authority, 80,000 fewer people moved to the UK from June 2016 to June 2017, compared to the same period the year before. The decrease is mainly due to fewer EU citizens moving to the country (see Population and languages).

“No simple solution to the border issue”

1 December

There is no simple solution to the border issue between Ireland and Northern Ireland. A report by the Parliamentary Committee, Exiting the European Union Committee, states. It does not seem to believe in the proposals that technological and innovative solutions should be able to avoid creating a hard land border between the countries. Ireland wants goods and services to be freely transported back and forth between the Northern Ireland border without any border controls being established, which would in effect mean that the UK province would remain in the EU Customs Union and the common market.


May criticizes Trump for anti-Muslim tweet

November 30

Prime Minister Theresa May criticizes US President Donald Trump for retweeting anti-Muslim video footage from a British right-wing extremist group Britain First. May emphasizes that the fact that the UK and the US have their “special relationship” does not mean that one cannot criticize each other. Trump is tweeting that May, instead of targeting him, should concentrate on tackling radical Islamist terrorism in the UK.

“Britain may pay more for Brexit”

November 21st

Supporters of Brexit within the government have agreed that Britain should offer the EU more money in connection with leaving the Union. However, no formal offer will be made until the EU agrees to start talks on a new trade agreement with the British. It is not known how much money you are willing to offer to the EU, but a figure mentioned is £ 40 billion, that is twice as much as the UK has so far offered. Later, even higher sums are discussed and there are signals that a settlement may be close at this point.

Gerry Adams retires as Sinn Féin leader 2018

November 18

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams announces that he plans to step down as party leader next year. He also announces that he does not intend to run for re-election to the Irish Parliament. Adams has played an important role in the Northern Ireland peace process. It is widely believed that he has played a leading role in the Irish Republican Army (IRA), something he himself denies.

Brexit laws under debate

November 14

The lower house initiates an eight-day debate on legislation before the Brexit (European Union (Withdrawal) Bill). The first day goes by without causing any major problems for the government, although the debate is sometimes conducted in a high tone. The bill to demolish the agreement that underlies the British EU membership (European Communities Act) of 1972 is adopted with the votes 318 for and 68 against. A proposal that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should have the right to veto the process is rejected (with 318 votes in favor and 52 against).

May criticizes Russia

November 14

In a number of sharp criticisms, Theresa May addresses Russia, which, according to her, interferes in elections, engages in cyber espionage and violates European countries’ airspace in order to “undermine free societies”. However, she stresses that Russia can be an important partner if Putin’s regime “plays by the rules”. However, high-ranking Russian politicians reject the accusations. Earlier in November, British media wrote about how Russian actors used Twitter to influence voters ahead of the Brexit vote in 2016 and to spread racist messages. According to an article in The Observer, there were also Russian links to people within the Conservative party, including through a group called Russia’s Conservative Friends (Conservative Friends of Russia). In the Financial Times However, it was pointed out that the Russian attempts to influence the Brexit vote had no decisive impact on the election result. Other observers point out that the purpose was not primarily to try to persuade the British to vote for an EU exit, but to create a divide in society.

London presents budget for Northern Ireland

November 13

Northern Ireland Minister James Brokenshire has prepared a budget for the province. He also says that the local authorities will soon have no money unless the budget is adopted. The budget items are estimated at just over 3 percent, but an extra investment is made in healthcare. Most of the more than £ 1 billion promised by the DUP in exchange for its support to the Conservative government is not included in the new budget. However, Brokenshire says £ 50 million, which will go towards health care and education, will be paid out in the current financial year. Brokenshire is taking action because DUP and Sinn Féin could not agree on a new government. However, it is seen as a first step in which power over Northern Ireland is taken over by the London government.

Davis promises that Parliament will vote on a Brexit agreement

November 13

Brexit Minister David Davis promises Parliament to vote on a Brexit agreement before the UK leaves the EU. It will thus have the opportunity to debate, review and propose changes to it or reject it entirely. The promise is seen as an attempt to appease critics within his own Conservative party and Labor members.

Conservative members demand May’s departure

November 11

According to media reports, 40 Conservative MPs must have signed a letter demanding that Prime Minister May resign. Only eight people are needed to cast a vote on who will lead the Conservative Party. According to media reports, Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and Environment Minister Michael Gove are now cooperating again. In a letter to May, which leaked to the press, they will be pressing to push through a severe Brexit in the negotiations with the EU and reduce the influence of other government members who want a softer line in the negotiations.

The British government is planning a Brexit date law

November 9

The UK government says it will legislate when Britain leaves the EU. It sets the date for March 29, 2019. This is seen as an attempt to calm the Brexit advocates who are worried that the process is going so slow and that the government can change its foot in the meantime.

The EU demands answers from the UK in the Brexit negotiations

November 9

EU negotiators are putting pressure on Britain in the Brexit negotiations. The British government is given two weeks to clarify its position on how much money Britain should pay for the divorce from the EU. The EU has previously said that the bill should amount to EUR 60 billion, while the British say they are willing to pay EUR 25 billion. The question of what happens to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the conditions for EU citizens living in the UK (and Britons residing in other parts of the EU) are other breaking issues that have not yet been resolved. Brexit Minister David Davis claims that progress is being made behind the scenes.

Deputy Minister Patel resigns

November 8

Deputy Foreign Minister Priti Patel resigns after revealing that she met with leading politicians and businessmen during her vacation in Israel this summer, without informing the Foreign Ministry. According to the protocol, a minister must also be accompanied by an official on such visits and, if they have meetings on the Israeli side, this is usually balanced with similar conversations with Palestinian representatives. According to British media, Patel, who is pleading for a hard Brexit, may create problems for the prime minister when she is no longer part of the government. Patel is popular within the Conservative Party. At the same time, Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is in blustery weather after saying that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was jailed in 2016 during a vacation trip to Iran, taught journalists during his stay there. According to sources cited in the British media, she thus risks having her sentence doubled. Zaghari-Ratcliffe has previously been sentenced to five years in prison. However, it is unclear what she has been convicted of.

Politician and Queen Elizabeth Highlighted in “Paradise Leak”

November 5

Several leading Britons are highlighted in the so-called Paradise Leak, where 13.4 million documents leaked to the media and reveal business done through so-called tax havens. Among those selected are Lord Ashcroft, former Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party and now one of the Tory Party’s main contributors. He is reported to have transferred assets in millions of pounds to the Punta Gorda Trust in Bermuda in 2000, and on numerous occasions bypassed the applicable rules. The Queen’s private money has also been invested in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. That in itself is not a crime, but the media is questioned about the real thing in having a royal place his money in a tax haven.

Tories announce code of conduct against sexual harassment

November 4th

Prime Minister Theresa May announces a code of conduct for all Conservative MPs and party officials, which was previously missing. This is done after several conservative politicians have been accused, among other things, of having committed sexual harassment. In addition to the departure of Defense Minister Fallon earlier this month, a member of parliament has been suspended from the party and reported to the police. However, nothing is said about what he has been accused of. There is also information that pornographic material was found on Damian Green’s computer in Parliament. Green holds the second highest position in the government after Prime Minister May. Accusations have also been made against Labor politicians. At least two Labor members have been suspended from the party, and another is being investigated following allegations of sexual harassment, and Labor has updated its code of conduct. The politician accused of sexual harassment is released in December by the party. Several of the designated politicians deny that they have done anything wrong. According to media reports, people who have previously tried to report misconduct or abuse have been met with disinterest or asked to look to the parties’ best interests.

Locked location in Northern Ireland

November 3

Negotiations between the Northern Ireland parties DUP and Sinn Féin break down again, despite several extended deadlines. This means that Northern Ireland has been without a provincial government for almost ten months. The British government seems reluctant to take over the province, but Northern Ireland’s James Brokenshire says he will submit a budget to Northern Ireland within eleven days. He also emphasizes that he will withdraw it if the parties can agree on a new government by December. The big question between the parties is about a law on the status of the Irish in Northern Ireland.

Defense Minister Fallon resigns

November 1st

Defense Minister Michael Fallon resigns after allegations of sexual harassment. This follows the so-called #metoo campaign, in which women, and men, testified in social media about sexual abuse and harassment. Other leading politicians have also been singled out as having acted inappropriately. Labor has shut down a member of parliament accused of harassing a party activist. Through Fallon’s departure, Theresa May loses one of her most experienced ministers. He is replaced on November 2 by Gavin Williamson.


May promises ceilings for energy prices and investment in cheap housing

October 4th

Prime Minister May ends the Conservative Party’s conference with a speech where she promises a ceiling for how high energy prices may be. Many UK households are struggling to pay ever higher electricity and gas bills, and their energy costs have doubled in ten years. Another promise is that more houses, at affordable prices, will be built under public auspices. May promises £ 2 billion for the project, which is largely targeted at many young Britons who have difficulty entering the housing market. These are proposals that originally came from Labor.


Henry Bolton is elected new leader of Ukip

September 29th

British Independence Party Ukip elects Henry Bolton as new party leader. He is a former soldier and police officer who was previously active in the Liberal Democrats. In second place came the hostile Anne Marie Waters. Several Ukip members had threatened to leave the party if she was appointed leader. Bolton becomes Ukip’s fourth party leader in just over a year.

Pragmatic May in a new Brexit game

September 22

Theresa May shows a more pragmatic side when she gives a talk on British Brexit policy in Florence. She clearly states that a transition period will be needed after the EU and the UK have concluded their exit negotiations, where the British will continue to contribute to the EU budget, allow free movement and accept the ruling in the European Court for perhaps two years. She thus backs from a previous statement that no agreement is better than a bad agreement. May also says the UK is prepared to pay € 20 billion to cover the gaps in EU finances, however, the question is whether the EU thinks the sum is large enough. At the same time, statistics from the Home Office show a threefold increase in the number of EU citizens (from the states that became members before 2014) applying for British citizenship, from 4,500 from June 2015 to June 2016 to 14,000 in the same period a year later. To become a citizen one must have lived permanently in the country for five years, pass a language test and a test with questions about culture and society.

May requires IT companies to erase terror material at a faster rate

September 20

Theresa May puts pressure on IT companies to intervene more quickly to remove terrorist-linked material from their pages. The British Prime Minister wants them to voluntarily agree to do this within two hours. Otherwise, she would like to legislate on the matter. Some evaluators point out that it is not always about lack of will on the part of the network companies, but the difficulty is to a large extent that it is about so many quantities of material that it is difficult to quickly get an overview.

The exit law creates concern in Scotland and Wales

September 20

In Scotland and Wales there is growing concern that Brexit means they will lose some of the powers they have today. It is primarily about the responsibility for agriculture, fisheries, the environment and other things that lie with the parliaments in Edinburgh and Cardiff since 1999, but where what is decided in Brussels is of great importance. The question is where power comes when the UK leaves the EU. As the exit law looks today, there are no guarantees that the UK Government must take Scotland and Wales into account. Prime Ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones describe their concerns in a joint letter to Prime Minister May and demand that changes be made to it. At the same time, the letter is a sign of the low level of trust between London and the governments of Scotland and Wales. The latter have criticized the British government for not giving them enough room in the Brexit process. Nor have they been reassured by promises that Edinburgh and Cardiff should retain the powers they have today.

Britain lowers security level

September 17th

Since two young men have been arrested on suspicion of terrorist attacks in London earlier in September, the authorities are again reducing the level of security from critical to serious. The home-made bomb that the men manufactured and placed on a subway did not explode as intended, limiting the damage, but nearly 30 people are treated for burns, among other things. Later, four more people are arrested on suspicion of involvement in the act.

Twenty injured in terrorist attack in London’s subway

September 15th

At least 29 people are injured when an explosive charge explodes on a crowded subway train in south-west London. According to police, who suspect it is a terrorist act, it is a home-made bomb that exploded. None of those taken to hospitals should have received life-threatening injuries. The Islamic State terrorist organization (IS) is to blame for the act. Britain raises the level of security in the country from serious to critical, which means the authorities fear that a new terrorist attack may be imminent.

The lower house approves proposals for exit teams

September 12

The government’s proposal for an exit law, which will enable the UK’s range from the EU, is approved by the lower house with the 326 votes for and 290 against (a first step in the process of adopting a new law). Labor sharply criticizes the law, which the party believes gives ministers great powers. Withdrawal Act, European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, means that all EU laws are converted into UK law on the day the country leaves the Union, so that there are no gaps in the legislation. The criticism is, above all, that ministers are given the right to make certain changes to the legislation without consulting Parliament. The government claims that the law is needed to make the exit from the Union as smooth as possible. In addition to Labor, SNP also votes against the bill. However, seven Labor members go against the party line and vote yes. All Conservative members vote in favor of the government’s proposal, but several of them call for sweeping amendments to support it in a second vote. The withdrawal law shall also cease the law of 1972 in which the United Kingdom joined the then EC.

Leaked Brexit proposal receives criticism from the business community

September 6

Documents leaked to the media from the Home Office indicate that the British government is planning measures to restrict the immigration of low-skilled workers from EU countries. According to the proposal, UK companies would be required to hire local staff if they could not prove that it was financially necessary to employ people from other EU countries and those who will be granted temporary work permits. The data draws strong criticism from companies operating in the agricultural and hospitality industries who say it would have disastrous consequences for them. Almost one in three employees in the food industry come from another EU country, about one in five in the hotel industry and almost as many in agriculture.

London puts pressure on the Northern Ireland parties

September 4th

Northern Ireland Minister James Brokenshire warns the Northern Ireland parties, saying that the time they have for forming a new provincial government is running out. If no progress is made soon, the London Government will have to submit its own budget for the coming year.


“May’s proposal to counteract sky-high executive salaries diluted”

August 29th

When Theresa May took office as Prime Minister in 2016, she went out hard and promised measures that would prevent British companies from paying sky-high board fees and managerial salaries and create new rules for employees to sit on company boards. The measures she is presenting now mean that the largest companies from June 2018 must report how high managerial salaries are in relation to the average salaries of the employees and that the companies are asked to prepare room for employees at the board tables. The proposals receive criticism, among other things, from the trade union, which considers them to be too watered down compared to the original proposals.

Labor is swinging in Brexit politics

August 28th

The next phase of Brexit negotiations will begin. The British government’s position is weakened by Labor the day before announcing that the party wants Britain to remain in the EU Common Market and Customs Union for a transitional period following the country’s cooperation in 2019. Labor spokesman on Brexit issues that the British economy is too badly damaged in a divorce. Party leader Corbyn has previously said that in a Brexit, Britain should leave both the common market and the customs union. Labour’s new position leads to new demands from EU-friendly conservative politicians who are pressing for May to soften its tough Brexit policy.

May opens compromise on the European Court of Justice

August 23rd

Prime Minister May maintains that the European Court of Justice (European Court of Justice, ECJ) should have no direct decision-making power over Britain when leaving the EU. At the same time, the Government is presenting proposals on how to resolve future conflicts between the British and the EU, which appear to give the Court indirect influence, including in relation to new trade agreements. According to the proposal, the European Court of Justice will also retain some power over the UK during a transitional period. This raises some criticism from Brexit advocates within May’s own party who think it would give the ECJ too much indirect power. A future dispute may be who should guarantee the rights of EU citizens residing in the United Kingdom, the European Court of Justice or the UK courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court.

“No new border checks between Northern Ireland and Ireland”

August 16th

No new border checks should be established between Ireland and Northern Ireland. That is what the British government is setting for the next negotiations. No new border posts will be built, nor will any electronic monitoring (which has been an alternative that has previously been put forward). Small and medium-sized companies should be exempted from paying any customs duties. Today, around 30,000 people cross the border between Ireland and the British province every day. Prime Minister May also says that the British government is considering new support for various peace projects in Northern Ireland when the EU money for them disappears. The Irish Government is cautiously positive about the proposal. The Northern Ireland Unionist parties DUP and UUP express clear support, while nationalist Sinn Féin expresses skepticism.

The UK wants a temporary customs union with the EU

August 15th

The UK Government proposes that the UK and the EU 2019 enter into “a temporary customs union” while the British negotiate new trade agreements, something that cannot be done as long as the country is part of the Union. The proposal is met with some skepticism in Brussels.


No single charge against Blair

31 July

The High Court says no to an attempt by an Iraqi citizen to bring individual charges against former Prime Minister Tony Blair for Britain’s participation in the Iraq invasion in 2003. The issue has previously been rejected in a lower court.

Criticism of the government’s plan for post-Brexit legislation

July 13

The government presents a bill that prescribes how it should formally go when the UK leaves the EU. According to the proposal, around 12,000 European laws and regulations are to be transposed into British law, at the same time as the agreement that underlies the British European Union (European Communities Act) of 1972 is revoked. In addition, the government should be able to make changes to these laws in conjunction with their transfer to UK law, without Parliament’s full control. This immediately receives criticism from the opposition and leaders in Scotland and Wales.

Verhofstadt: May’s bid for EU citizens “insufficient”

July 10

Guy Verhofstadt, the EU’s highest Brexit negotiator, as well as the leaders of the EU’s four major political groups, responds to Prime Minister May’s bid for what applies to non-UK EU citizens located in the UK in connection with Brexit (see June 2017). EU leaders say that the bid for EU citizens who have lived in the country for five years to stay and be guaranteed health care, education and other social benefits, provided that Britons receive the same rights within the EU, is not at all what the citizens of the Union are entitled to require. They say that the proposal is inadequate and that it would create more bureaucratic hassle and greater uncertainty for millions of EU citizens.

The disposable income of the British is decreasing

July 7

The disposable income of the British is falling, according to new official statistics. At the beginning of the year, household disposable income had fallen by 2 percent compared with a year earlier. This is partly due to rising inflation, higher taxes and lower levels of subsidy. Household savings capital has also decreased.

Still deadlock in Northern Ireland

July 4th

The talks to establish a new provincial government in Northern Ireland are ended again without any settlement being reached.


The lower house approves the government program

June 29

The lower house adopts the government proposal program presented in the Queen’s speech, with the votes being 323 for and 309 against. A Labor member Chuka Umunna proposes a change, that the UK should remain within the EU internal market (which is not his party’s official line), but it does not go through. 50 Labor members vote for this and thereby go against the party leadership. After that, three members are allowed to leave Labour’s shadow cabinet, while one chooses to resign. An important change has been made to the program, which gives Northern Irish women the right to free abortion in England. In the past, they had to pay for themselves. Abortion is prohibited in Northern Ireland unless the woman’s life is in danger. The deadline for establishing a new provincial government in Northern Ireland is expiring. The parties are given another three days to agree.

A new Scottish referendum is slated for the future

June 27

In a speech in the Scottish Parliament Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon says she will wait a new referendum until after the Brexit negotiations are ready. However, she stresses that she believes a new vote can take place before 2021.

Conservative Party settles with DUP

June 26

The settlement between the Conservative Party and the DUP is now complete. This means Northern Ireland will receive an additional grant of £ 1 billion for infrastructure investments (£ 400 million), broadband expansion (£ 150 million), health care (£ 300 million, education (£ 50 million) and special assistance for vulnerable housing areas (100 Northern Ireland could also cut its corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent later in the year, that is, the same low level as Ireland. Government pensions should be increased by at least 2.5 percent a year and pensioners should be allowed to maintain their fuel surcharge during the winter The UK will also fulfill its commitments to NATO and invest 2 percent of GDPon the defense as well as extra support for returning soldiers. Both parties also pledge to respect the commitments made in the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement. The intention is that the agreement should last the entire term of five years, but an evaluation can be made after two years.

British defeat in UN vote

June 22

Britain suffers defeat in a vote in the UN General Assembly, when a majority of countries vote for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to be able to advise on the future status of the Chagos Islands. 94 countries are voting in favor of the resolution tabled by Mauritius. Most of the EU countries cast their votes. Britain and Mauritius have long had a dispute over the islands. The vote is seen as a diplomatic defeat for Britain. Since 1971, the UK has been leasing one of the islands, Diego Garcia, to the United States which has a military base there. The British have promised to return Chagos to Mauritius when the base is no longer needed for strategic reasons, but have not said when to do so. A group of former islanders have been fighting for many years to get the right to return to Chagos.

The British bid on the rights of EU citizens

June 22

As part of the Brexit negotiations, Prime Minister May presents his bid on what will happen to EU citizens living in the UK. According to that, those who have lived in the country for more than five years should be allowed to stay and also have access to care, education and other benefits. However, May and EU leaders disagree on whether it should be a British court or the European Court of Justice to oversee the process. The Brexit decision and uncertainty about which rules should apply have already affected the labor market. The number of new nurses from other EU countries has fallen by over 90 percent, according to The Guardian, from July 2016 until now. Many people who have already worked in the country have also resigned, which has resulted in 24,000 nursing jobs being vacant in the public health service, the NHS. 57,000 EU citizens work in the NHS. The government has said that some of the problems should be solved by training more nurses in the country. At the same time, reports that fruit and berry growers have found it difficult to obtain labor from other EU countries.

Brexit issues dominate in a new government program

21 June

The government presents its program for the next two years, in the so-called Queen’s speech. Eight of the 27 items deal with Brexit, including the UK itself taking control of imports and exports of goods, and preparations to restrict the free movement of other EU countries (but the UK should continue to attract qualified labor). It is noted that several proposals that were included in the Conservative party’s election program are missing, such as the elderly paying more for social care, the needs assessment of those who would receive fuel supplements for the winter and all proposals relating to pensions.

The Brexit negotiations begin

June 19

The UK and the EU start negotiations on the UK withdrawal from the Union.

At least one death in suspected terrorist attack

June 19

At least one person is killed and eight injured when a van shortly after midnight drives into people near a mosque in Finsbury Park, London. A 48-year-old man from Wales is arrested on suspicion of the act. According to Prime Minister May, the incident is considered a “suspected terrorist attack”.

Criticism against May after the high-rise fire

17th of June

Prime Minister May invites a group of people who lived in the fire-ravaged Grenfell Tower high-rise building in London to a meeting in 10 Downing Street. She also announces that a fund of £ 5 million will be created to assist those who have become homeless after the fire. Until now, it is mainly churches, mosques and non-profit organizations that have acted to help them. May has previously faced sharp criticism for how she has handled the crisis surrounding the high-rise fire. She is criticized, among other things, for only meeting fire brigade personnel when she visited the fire scene on June 16. There are many indications that the fire took such a rapid course, because the material used in the renovation of the facade was flammable.

Big fire in London 71 lives

June 15

A fire in a high-rise building, Grenfell Tower, in London on June 14, requires many lives. According to media reports, the residents of the house have expressed concern about the fire safety, even though the building was newly renovated. Prime Minister May appoints the day after the investigation to find out the causes of the fire. London Mayor Sadiq Khan also commands a similar investigation. Not until November 2017 did police representatives state that the fire disaster claimed 71 lives. Images from surveillance cameras show that 223 people had managed to escape from the burning building.

Liberal Democrat leaders are retiring

June 14

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron resigns after the election, where the party did worse than expected. During the electoral movement, Farron, who belongs to a free church, often pressed himself to express his personal view on issues of homosexuality and abortion. He says when he announces his departure that it has been difficult to combine party leadership with the Christian faith.

Gove gets ministerial post in May’s new government

June 11

The election loss leads to Theresa May’s closest co-workers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill resigning, following demands from several of May’s party mates. At the same time, the Prime Minister is taking care to re-furnish in his government, although there are few changes to the top posts. Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd remain as Finance Minister and Foreign and Home Affairs respectively. David Davis retains responsibility for Brexit issues. May The big surprise is that Michael Gove is back as Minister, this time responsible for the environment.

The Conservative party loses its majority in the lower house

June 9

The Conservative Party backs and loses its majority in the House of Commons, despite success in Scotland. The party receives 318 seats (all votes are not yet counted) and just over 42 percent of the vote. Labor is progressing strongly, landing on 262 seats, 30 more than in the 2015 election, and 40 percent of the vote. The Liberal Democrats are making a certain recovery, winning 12 seats and just over 7 percent. In Scotland, the SNP is losing ground, and looks to be content with 35 seats, compared to 56 seats in 2015. 13 of the Scottish seats go to the Conservative Party, 12 more than 2015, Labor wins 7 seats, an increase of 6. In Northern Ireland increases both DUP and Sinn Féin, which receive 10 and 7 seats respectively. In Wales, both Labor and the nationalists in Plaid Cymru are advancing. Ukip makes a lousy choice and loses its sole mandate. Party leader Paul Nuttall resigns. Both the Social Democratic SDLP and the UUP in Northern Ireland are losing their seats in Parliament. Theresa May says she intends to remain as prime minister and intends to form a government with the support of the DUP. The election result causes the value of the pound to fall against both the dollar and the euro. The election means that the proportion of women in the lower house will increase from 191 2015 to 208. 52 members belong to ethnic minorities,HBTQ -Persons.

New terrorist act in London

June 4th

Seven people were killed and 48 injured in a new terrorist attack in London on June 3, when a car first mowed down pedestrians on the London Bridge. Then three assailants attack people with knives in the Bourough district. Offenders are later shot to death by police. The Islamic State (IS) takes on the blame for the deed. All parties, except Ukip, temporarily suspend their election campaigns. In a speech on June 4, Prime Minister May promises tougher grip on Muslim extremists. She pleads, among other things, for higher penalties even for less serious terrorist offenses, and demands that IT companies intervene in web sites used by extremist groups (something several of them say they already do).


May: “No agreement is better than a bad deal”

30 May

In a televised debate just a week before the new election, it is clear that Prime Minister Theresa May and Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn have different strategies for Britain’s exit from the EU. Corbyn says he, if he were the head of government, would make sure there was an agreement with the EU before the UK left the union while May states she “is ready to go her way”. “No deal is better than a bad deal,” says May. Formal negotiations for the UK’s exit are expected to begin on June 19.

Terrorism in Manchester requires 22 lives

May 22

22 people are killed and even more injured in a suicide attack in Manchester. The act takes place in conjunction with a concert with American singer Ariana Grande. Many of the victims are young concert visitors or parents who come to the arena to fetch their children. The attack is carried out by a British-born man with Libyan roots. It is unclear if he carried it out on his own or if there are several perpetrators. The electoral movement is temporarily suspended.

Labor’s election manifesto is leaking

May 11

Labor’s manifesto ahead of the June elections is leaking and reveals that the party wants to re-nationalize the railways, raise taxes and borrow large sums for infrastructure projects. Other important points are about eliminating university fees, building a million new homes, more money for public health (NHS), 10,000 new neighborhood policies and the end of the tough austerity policy. This is to be paid for, among other things, by means of higher corporate taxes and an increase in income tax for anyone earning more than £ 80,000 a year. With regard to Brexit, the manifesto distances itself from the line of the incumbent government, which keeps the door open for Britain to leave the EU, although no agreement with the EU has been reached. According to the manifesto, such a measure would “mean the worst possible situation for the UK and damage our economy”.

Andy Burnham new mayor of Manchester

May 4th

Labor politician Andy Burnham wins with clear numbers, 63 percent of the vote, the mayor’s election in Manchester. This is the first time the city has got a elected mayor.


Extended deadline for Northern Ireland parties

April 21

The Government extends the deadline for Northern Ireland parties to reach an agreement on cooperation until June 29. This is the fourth time that the deadline has changed.

May announces new elections until June 8

April 18

Prime Minister Theresa May announces unexpected election to Parliament on June 8. May, who previously stated that no elections would be held before 2020, now says that elections are “the only way to guarantee stability and security for years to come”. However, many believe that May’s decision is based on her desire to gain legitimacy and strengthen her own position before Britain’s exit from the EU. May is not self-elected but was appointed by her party when her David Cameron resigned in the summer of 2016.

Johnson cancels Russia visit after gas attack in Syria

April 8

Foreign Minister Boris Johnson cancels a visit to Moscow that would have taken place on April 10-11. The reason is Russia’s continued support for the Assad regime following the poison gas attack on a village on April 4, which the government side is accused of.


Britain activates Article 50

March 28

The British Government’s EU Ambassador submits a letter to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, in which the British Government activates Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. In doing so, the UK formally starts the exit process from the EU. Tusk receives the letter with the words: “We already miss you – there is no reason to pretend this is a good day”. The comments from other European leaders are restrained and emphasize the cohesion of other EU countries before Brexit. France’s president says that leaving the UK is emotionally painful for Europeans and will be financially painful for the British but “we have no intention of punishing the UK”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she hopes the negotiations will be constructive.

80,000 in protest against Brexit in London

March 25th

Tens of thousands of British march through London in protest of Brexit. According to the organizers, around 80,000 people participate in the protest.

Britain sends tanks to NATO force in Estonia

March 22

Britain sends 130 tanks to Estonia. The tanks will be transported to the city of Tapa to join a NATO force consisting of 200 British troops and 50 French soldiers already in place. The NATO force was created in January 2017.

Terrorist acts outside Westminster

March 22

Four people are killed when a car cuts down pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge outside Parliament and then drives straight through the fence to the Parliament building. The driver stabs and kills a police officer who guards Parliament before he is himself killed by other police officers. About 40 people are seriously injured. The attacker was born in the UK and his name is known by the security police but he has not been part of the group that the security police has supervised. The terrorist group IS states that the perpetrator acted on its behalf. Following the attack, at least eight people in London and Birmingham are arrested, suspected of having links to the deed. The government urges the British not to be intimidated but to return to everyday routines as soon as possible.

SNP leader Sturgeon plans new referendum in Scotland

the 13th of March

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces that she wants to organize a new referendum on independence for Scotland. The announcement comes as a result of the British Parliament giving the government the go-ahead to start Brexit. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May condemns the proposal, saying that a new vote on independence would “create uncertainty and fragmentation” and disrupt the exit process.

May ready sign for the Brexit process

the 13th of March

Parliament adopts a bill that gives Prime Minister Theresa May the right to start the process of leaving the EU, in accordance with Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The lower house votes down the two additions that the upper house adopted earlier in March, and then also votes the upper house for the proposal. The law is approved by the Queen a few days later. Following the vote in Parliament, May says she intends to activate Article 50 in March as planned.

New setback for May in the upper house

March 7

With the vote figures 366 against 268, the upper house adopts yet another addition to the law on how the UK should leave the EU (see March 2, 2017). According to the amendment, Parliament should have the right to vote on the government’s Brexit agreement with the Union. This means that Parliament would thus have a form of veto power. However, the government announces that it intends to reintroduce the law in the lower house, in order to try to remove the addition of the upper house.

The Unionist parties lose their majority in Stormont

March 2

The Unionist parties lose ground in the Northern Ireland election and thus lose their majority in Stormont, Northern Ireland’s parliament for the first time since it was created in 1921. The DUP retains its place as the largest party but wins just barely over Sinn Féin which is the only major party to strengthen their position. When all the votes are counted, it is clear that the DUP received 28 seats, Sinn Féin 27, SDLP 12 and Ulster’s unionist party 10. (All parties will lose mandate compared to the 2011 election when the number of parliamentary seats was lost from 108 to 90). The parties now have three weeks to form a government, which seems to be a complicated process. Sinn Féin still calls for Northern Ireland’s prime minister Arlene Foster’s departure (see January 2017 and December 2016).

The upper house demands information on the rights of EU citizens

March 2

The members of the upper house vote in favor of an amendment to the law that gives the government the right to activate Article 50. According to the amendment, which is adopted with 358 against 256, within three months of the activation, the government must submit proposals on how EU citizens living in the UK should be guaranteed. the same rights after Brexit as they have today. Thus, the government is backed by this issue and the ministry responsible for managing Brexit expresses disappointment at the House’s actions. A spokesman for Prime Minister May says the law should be passed without any supplement. The law is now sent back to the lower house for a new treatment. Thus, the exit process is temporarily delayed.


Labor loses in Copeland, wins in Stoke-on-Trent

February 24th

Labor manages to retain one of the two mandates that were at stake in two filling elections. Party candidate Gareth Snell defeats Stoke-on-Trent Central Ukip leader Paul Nuttall. In Copeland, a Conservative candidate wins for the first time in over 80 years.

Promises of relief to the Horn of Africa

February 22

Britain promises $ 250 million in emergency aid to South Sudan, where famine is already prevalent in several parts of the country, and Somalia is threatened by food shortages.

Britt behind suicide bombing in Iraq

February 21st

A British man and IS member Abu-Zakariya al-Britani (previously believed to be Ronald Fiddler) as a member of the extremist group IS, is conducting a suicide attack against Iraqi military base in Tal Gaysum near Mosul in Iraq. British media report that Fiddler was imprisoned in the US Guantanamo Bay from 2001 to 2003. He is believed to have joined IS 2014.

Program for unaccompanied refugee children ends

February 10

The government’s decision to end its special program to receive unaccompanied refugee children is provoking sharp criticism, including from Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby. The United Kingdom has thus only received 350 children from refugee camps in France, Greece and Italy instead of the 3,000 that it was initially thought would be included in the program. Interior Minister Amber Rudd claims that the program has only contributed to encouraging smuggling of people and that the municipalities find it difficult to find housing for the refugee children. Labor believes that more children could have been accepted if the local authorities had been given more resources and longer time to prepare for the reception. During the Second World War, the British rescued 10,000 children through the so-called Kindertransport program.

The lower house votes to activate Article 50

February 8

The lower house votes again with a clear majority for the UK to activate Article 50, with 494 votes in favor and 122 against. Clive Lewis, Minister of Business in Labour’s shadow cabinet, votes no and then leaves his post in the cabinet. Before the process is complete, the bill must also be approved by the upper house.

Increased support for Scottish independence

February 7

The Scottish Parliament votes overwhelmingly to reject Article 50 (90 members vote no, 34 vote yes). The vote is non-binding, as the Supreme Court has ruled that the UK government does not need to consult the regional parliaments for the planned exit from the EU. At the same time, an opinion poll indicates that support for Scottish independence is increasing. However, 51 percent of Scots still oppose breaking ties with the rest of the UK.

Fallon warns of Russian disinformation

February 3

Defense Minister Michael Fallon says that Russia, through disinformation campaigns, is trying to strengthen its influence by destabilizing Western governments and weakening NATO.

The government presents white paper for Brexit

February 2

The government presents its White Paper before the Brexit negotiations, in which it lists 12 important principles: These include the introduction of a new system for controlling immigration, and that transitional rules should be introduced to facilitate companies. The new system should also focus on filling gaps where there is no labor and to receive “real” students. But the goal is also to find a solution as soon as possible to what will happen to EU citizens living in the UK and Britons living in other EU countries. The Government also emphasizes that it wants to find the most flexible solution possible for the border guard between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Another point is that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales should be given greater powers as more decisions are made in the UK rather than in Brussels.

The lower house provides the clear sign for the Brexit process

February 1st

The House of Commons votes after two days of intense debate for the Brexit process to begin. 498 members vote in favor and 114 against. Almost all Conservative members follow the party line. In Labor, where party leader Corbyn urged everyone to vote yes in respect of the outcome of the referendum, 47 members choose to go against the party line. This was the first step in the legislative process, which is expected to be completed by March 7.


May criticizes Trump, with some hesitation

January 29th

Prime Minister May receives sharp criticism for not clearly renouncing the US president’s decision to temporarily halt all US refugee reception and ban people from seven mostly Muslim countries, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan Yemen and Libya into the United States. Something that also includes people with dual citizenship. In a first statement, she says that it is the US thing to decide for itself what refugee policy the country wants to pursue, but later states that she does not agree with him. Later comes a sharper statement from Foreign Minister Boris Johnson. It is now said that the travel restrictions do not include British citizens born in any of the seven countries. At the same time, a name gathering is being made demanding that Trump’s invitation to visit the UK be withdrawn.

Defense cooperation with Turkey

January 29th

May travels from the United States to Turkey where she and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agree that their countries will jointly develop a new Turkish fighter aircraft. The deal is worth around £ 100 million. The purpose of the trip is to strengthen contacts with Turkey ahead of the UK exit.

May first out with Trump in the White House

January 27

Theresa May becomes the first foreign head of government to visit US new President Donald Trump. Before the meeting, she stresses, as British Prime Ministers usually do, the special relationship of the United Kingdom and the United States, but the most important thing in the long term is to strengthen trade between the countries (as long as the UK is an EU member, the country has no right to conclude any new trade agreement with the US). The day before the meeting, she speaks to members of the Republican Party in Philadelphia, where she both touches on what the countries have in common and addresses what could become disputes such as relations with NATO and Russia. At a joint press conference the following day, May emphasizes that Trump is 100 percent behind NATO. May and Trump emphasize the importance of holding a dialogue, but also say they disagree on several issues. Trump is also invited to visit the UK.

Continued economic growth

January 26

The UK economy continues to grow. Growth for 2016 lands at 2 percent, only slightly worse than 2015. According to Finance Minister Hammond, the fall in the pound has created a boost for British exports. Private consumption has also increased.

HD: Parliament needs to be consulted on EU exit

January 24th

The Supreme Court decides that the government must allow Parliament to vote before it can activate Article 50. However, the court disagrees. Eight judges support the ruling, while three are of a different opinion. However, all eleven judges agree that the government does not need to consult the parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

May is charged with mystery making before voting on Trident

January 23

Criticism is directed at Prime Minister May after the The Sunday Times newspaper accused her of keeping secret that a trial with a Trident missile failed in June 2016 ahead of the vote on a renewal of the British nuclear weapons system on July 18, 2016. It’s about a missile that did not fire direction it should. Similar test shoots have been successfully conducted in 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2012.

Michelle O’Neill replaces McGuinness in Northern Ireland

January 19

Martin McGuinness, who has resigned as deputy prime minister in Northern Ireland, announces that he will not run in the Northern Ireland re-election on March 2. Four days later, Michelle O’Neill is appointed as his successor. She thus takes over the leadership of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland.

‘UK should leave the common market’

January 17

In a speech, Theresa May sticks out her line before the Brexit negotiations. One of the main points is that the UK should leave the EU’s common market, another that Parliament should be allowed to vote on an exit agreement. May also wishes that freedom of passport should continue to prevail between Ireland and the UK, that the parties should agree on a new customs agreement but that the British should conclude their own trade agreements with countries not part of the Union, and that it should be possible to control what rights as EU citizens should have in the UK and vice versa. The goal is that the UK and the EU should be able to agree on a new agreement on an equal basis, but that it should not be designed as the agreements that the EU has concluded with, for example, Norway and Switzerland.

New elections in Northern Ireland in March

January 16

Attempts to resolve the crisis in Northern Ireland are unsuccessful and new elections are announced until 2 March. However, a reduction in the number of members of the provincial parliament, from 108 to 90, is expected to hit small parties. The measure has previously been decided to save money.

Government crisis in Northern Ireland

January 9

Deputy Prime Minister Martin McGuinness resigns. He justifies the decision that Prime Minister Arlene Foster refused, even temporarily, to step aside, while investigating the so-called cash-for-ash scandal (see December 2016). It is speculated as to whether the departure is justified for health reasons, but McGuinness points out that Sinn Fein does not intend to appoint a successor. According to the peace agreement, this means that Foster will also lose his post. Representatives of the British and Irish Governments urge the parties to hold talks to resolve the crisis and avoid new elections. If they do not agree within seven days, new elections are the only option.

The UK’s EU ambassador resigns

January 3rd

The government suffers a setback when Britain’s EU ambassador Sir Ivan Rogers resigns just a few months before negotiations for the EU exit are to begin. He is considered one of the most experienced civil servants in the EU. However, his departure is welcomed by Brexit advocates, especially since his farewell letter to his staff leaks to the press. There he urges them to state their opinion if the government’s proposals do not hold up. He has previously been criticized for saying that it may take up to 10 years for a trade agreement with the EU to lock down.

The economy is growing

January 2

High private consumption in the fall of 2016 means that the UK economy continues to grow, despite the imminent EU exit. In the third quarter of 2016, growth was 0.6 percent. Estimates warn that this will not continue, as household incomes are only increasing at a slow rate, largely due to higher taxes and lower subsidy levels, and that rising inflation means that they will receive less money for new purchases.

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