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2019: What Happened In UK Politics?

2019: What Happened In UK Politics?

And so ends another quiet year in politics...¬†ūüôÉ

I ended 2018 by describing it as a year that 'delivered some of the strangest, most bizarre, comical and concerning political moments of recent history.' I think that maybe, just maybe, 2019 might have topped that. Ok, fair, we didn't see the UK Prime Minister walking on stage at the Conservative Party conference to 'Dancing Queen' this year, but there were plenty of moments which 2019 did deliver. In fact, 2019 has delivered so much, its a bit difficult to know where to start - but I'll try. 

We started off the year with Theresa May as UK Prime Minister and some very unsuccessful months for her and the Conservatives as they tried to get a Brexit deal through Parliament. Fast forward to the end of 2019, and we have a new Prime Minister in Boris Johnson who holds a much larger majority in Parliament, and it seems the UK will now most certainly leave the EU on January 31, 2020.

It's been a big year for US politics - Donald Trump failed to get funding for his border wall and also became only the third President in US history to be impeached. Some other key moments included Mr Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un and became the first sitting US President to walk into North Korea, plus he left a NATO summit in the UK early after other leaders gossiped behind his back. 

Additionally, it's been a huge year for activism on the Climate Emergency. Led by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, millions have demanded that their governments take urgent action to tackle climate change.

It really has been some year for politics, so why not take some time to read back on it, either now or sometime in the future? History was made in 2019 in so many different ways, and it's a year that we're unlikely to be forgetting anytime soon, for so many different reasons.

 

Recapping 2019 in Politics

January 2019

Return of the Politicians: January saw Democrat Nancy Pelosi elected as Speaker of the US's House of Representatives for the second time. Pelosi previously held the job when Democrats had control of the House from 2009 to 2011 and is the only women to have been elected to the position. The name of Nancy Pelosi perhaps wasn't that well known outside of US politics at the start of 2019 - it's fair to say that has changed over the year. Famous Brexiteer, Nigel Farage also made his return to politics this month in the UK.

DisMay-ed: It wasn't the best month for then Prime Minister Theresa May. In fact, that might be an understatement. Mrs May attempted to win over MP's to support her Brexit Deal with many pleas and a drinks reception at Downing Street, however, it all ended in an embarrassing defeat with her Brexit deal being rejected by 230 votes - thought to be the largest defeat for a sitting government in UK history.

French Protests: Protests by the Gilet Jaunes entered their tenth week in France. President Emmanuel Macron announced a 'national debate' in an attempt to resolve the crisis.

Also this Month...  The US government shutdown continued, and Germany reportedly considered blocking the Chinese technology giant Huawei from its 5G mobile phone network. 20 people were killed and over 100 were injured as two bombs detonated in a Roman Catholic cathedral in the Southern Philippines. It was also confirmed that MPs would have their week off in February cancelled in order to help deal with the legislation accompanying Brexit that needed passing before exit day (well, that 'exit day' anyway...)

 

February 2019

Nuclear Weapons: Both the US and Russia suspended their participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The INF treaty was agreed in 1987, banning the use of short and medium-range missiles by both countries and being designed to reduce the amount of nuclear arms.

Brexit Uncertainty: Nissan confirmed that it's X-Trail car model, originally planned to be produced at its Sunderland plant, would have production moved to Japan due to Brexit uncertainty. Meanwhile, Honda announced that they would close their factory in Swindon. Controversial Ferry firm, Seabourne, lost its £14million no-deal Brexit contract - the freight firm had never run a Channel service and didn't even have any ferries. It did though have a great set of terms and conditions on its website - however, they were great for a pizza delivery service, not a freight firm... Despite increased pressure, transport secretary Chris Grayling kept his job, much to the dismay of commuters across the country, particularly those using the regularly delay hit Northern Rail.

The Independent Group: Luciana Berger, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie and Angela Smith all quit the Labour Party to form an Independent group in Parliament. They were later joined by more MPs, including some from the Conservative Party, but the group was to have a troubled time, as this article will recap...

Also this Month... After years of lobbying by campaigners, upskirting was made illegal in the UK, nearly a decade after it was made illegal in Scotland, and pupils across the UK walked out of schools as part of climate strikes for the first time to demand urgent action be taken on the issue of climate change. A meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended early after the two leaders failed to come to an agreement on de-escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

 

March 2019

Emergency Rejected: The US Senate rejected a national emergency declaration by President Donald Trump. It is thought the President would use a national emergency declaration to get the funding he wanted to build his proposed border wall on the US southern border after a 35-day government shutdown ended with no agreement to Mr Trump's funding request.

Abuse and Hate:¬†Baroness Warsi said the Conservatives may be going through a process of ‚Äėre-UKIPification‚Äô after fourteen of their members were suspended after expressing racist or Islamophobic comments on social media. Meanwhile, the¬†Equalities and Human Rights Commission announced they¬†believed that "Labour may have unlawfully discriminated against people because of their ethnicity and religious beliefs." Ahead of International Women's Day, a¬†group of female MPs released a video in which they read out sexist abuse they had received.¬†

Boeing 737 MAX: The UK, Singapore and Australia joined other countries in announcing a suspension of Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights following a crash in Ethiopia that killed 157. The crash marked the second occasion in six months that a 737 MAX 8 plane had crashed, with a new Lion Air Boeing plane crashing and leaving 189 people dead in October 2018.

More Brexit Defeats: Theresa May secured 'legally binding' changes to her Brexit deal but it was heavily defeated again in Parliament during a second meaningful vote. Then Commons Speaker John Bercow blocked a third meaningful vote and the European Union approved a request to delay the Brexit deadline. Later in the month, the government lost a third vote on the Brexit deal, lost control of the Commons agenda and then MPs defeated eight proposed Brexit alternatives. Huge crowds, thought to be over 1 million people, also gathered for a 'People's Vote' march.

Also this Month... New Zealand’s PM vowed to ban assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons after 50 people were murdered at two mosques in Christchurch. Robert Mueller, head of the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US election, submitted his report to the US Department of Justice. Also, it was reported that over 1,000 Ebola outbreak cases had been recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since August 2018.

 

April 2019

Brexit Delay: Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May had 'constructive' talks but failed to agree on a way forward for Brexit. The UK and EU later agreed on a Brexit extension through until October 31, 2019, with the option to leave in June if Mrs May managed to secure Commons support for a deal (spoiler, she didn't).

Brexit Party: Just in case there wasn't enough to talk about with Brexit, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage launched the Brexit Party in a bid to reignite his political career and deliver on the 2016 referendum result. The party claimed that Brexit was being "betrayed" and that "it's time to change politics for good".

Climate Protests: Climate activists held a major civil disobedience in central London blocking five of the capital’s busiest roads. Also in April, Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg urged MEPs at the European Parliament to act on climate change like they had when the Notre Dame cathedral burned down just days before.

Huawei Leak: According to a leak, a decision was made at a National Security Council meeting that the UK government would allow the supply of equipment by the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to build the country’s 5G network. The leak cost then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson his job, who denied he was the source of the leak.

Also this Month...¬†The South Korean peninsula declared a national emergency as one of the largest wildfires on record rampaged the country.¬†British Steel requested a ¬£100m emergency government loan amid the latest Brexit delay and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky won the Ukrainian presidential election whilst humiliating Petro Poroshenko by winning 73% of the¬†votes.¬†Facebook banned a number of far-right groups and their leaders in the United Kingdom after determining that they ‚Äėspread hate‚Äô.

 

May 2019

Elections: The local election results saw the Tories obliterated with Labour not too far behind. The Conservatives lost more than 1,300 councillors, while the Liberal Democrats had their best performance in years, gaining over 700 councillors. The Brexit Party triumphed in the European Parliamentary elections in another disastrous night for the Conservatives and Labour.  

Environment: Over 180 countries agreed on a legally binding framework making the global trade in plastic waste more transparent and regulated. Luxury car giant Porsche was fined £458m for "negligent violations" of duties which enabled the cheating of diesel emissions tests. Great Britain’s electricity system went over 5 days without the use of coal, the longest period since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Putin meets Kim: President Vladimir Putin said that Russia will consider working to offer international security guarantees to North Korea. This came after President Putin met Kim Jong-Un for the first time for a summit in the eastern city of Vladivostok, where they were pictured smiling and shaking hands ahead of talks focusing on Pyongyang's nuclear programme, economic sanctions, and North Korean migrants in Russia.

End of the Road for May: No, not the month, the person. Theresa May announced with tearful eyes that she would officially resign on June 7, expressing her "deep regret" with not being able to deliver Brexit.

Also this Month... Brigitte Bierlein was appointed as Austria’s first female chancellor and US President Donald Trump concluded a trip to Japan. Madonna and Icelandic entry Hatari brought politics to the Eurovision grand final in Tel Aviv with their display of Palestinian flags during the live broadcast.

 

June 2019

Peterborough By-Election: The Labour Party narrowly saw off the Brexit Party in the Peterborough by-election. The by-election was called after Fiona Onasanya became the first MP to be ousted by new recall rules, after she was convicted of lying over a speeding offence. Conservative MP Chris Davies was unseated by a similar petition in June, triggering a by-election in the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency.

BBC Licence Fee: The BBC announced it will scrap free TV licences for over 75s unless they receive pension credit. A message from the BBC Chairman and Director-General sent to BBC email subscribers and published on the BBC website said 'we have had to make a really important and difficult decision.'

Environment: G20 countries agreed to a deal to reduce marine plastic pollution. France closed dozens of schools and restricted road usage due to a heatwave which saw temperatures over 40C. Foreign Office Minister Mark Field was suspended from his post after he grabbed a climate change protester by the neck, who gatecrashed a back-tie dinner.

Trump Enters North Korea: Donald Trump became the first sitting US president to step inside North Korea after meeting with Kim in the demilitarized zone. Trump took a dozen or so steps in North Korea, posed for photos, then invited Kim over to the other side to talk in the "Freedom House" building in South Korea.

Also this Month... A member of the German Social Democrats in Angela Merkel's governing coalition resigned after gaining poor results in the European elections. Six Change UK MPs (formerly the Independent Group) quit the party just months after its creation, after the party failed to get a single MEP elected. The party was also forced to change its name for the third time. Jeremy Kyle turned down a request to appear before a committee of MPs as part of an inquiry into reality TV after the Jeremy Kyle Show was scrapped following the death of a former guest on the show, Steve Dymond. D-Day veterans made the journey to Normandy to attend commemorations, 75 years on from the Normandy invasion.

 

July 2019

Brutal Resignation: A member of Jared O'Mara's communications team appeared to have publicly resigned and attacked Mr O'Mara - using the MP's own Twitter account. The Sheffield Hallam Independent MP appeared to have had his account used by the resigning member of his Comms team, who was named in one of the tweets posted as Gareth Arnold. One of the series of tweets read "Jared, you are the most disgustingly morally bankrupt person I have ever had the displeasure of working with. You do not care about your constituents. You do not care about anyone but yourself." Days later, a statement was released about the MP's mental health and recent events around him.

Leadership Elections: Jo Swinson saw off Ed Davey to become the new leader of the Liberal Democrats (spoiler, she didn't last the year). Boris Johnson was elected the new leader of the Conservative & Unionist Party and became the 77th Prime Minister of Great Britain after seeing off rivals to the leadership including Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Rory Stewart, amongst others. Ursula von der Leyen was elected president of the EU Commission following a secret ballot among MEPs. The German centre-right defence minister became the first female president of the Commission, taking over from Jean Claude-Juncker on 1 November 2019.

Hong Kong:¬†The Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, told the UK to keep its ‚Äúhands-off Hong Kong‚ÄĚ, coming as the latest development in an escalating diplomatic dispute between the UK and China over ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

Also this Month... MPs voted to enact same-sex marriage and liberalise abortion laws in Northern Ireland. Britain experienced its hottest July day ever with temperatures of 37C, while some parts of the continent saw temperatures above 40C. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The British Pound fell to a two-year low following talk of the what seemed the increasing likelihood of a no-deal Brexit.

 

August 2019

Hong Kong Protests: Protests intensified in Hong Kong as protesters clashed with riot police and all flights were cancelled at Hong Kong's International Airport. Mass demonstrations and protests were sparked more than two months before by the controversial extradition bill. The bill, introduced in April, would allow people accused of crimes against mainland China to be extradited. Critics feared those sent to the mainland could face unfair trials and argued that China could also gain more control over Hong Kong through the bill. In July, Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam confirmed that the bill would be suspended, but protests continued. The situation in Hong Kong also saw Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg step down.

No Deal Brexit:¬†Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson agreed to meet Jeremy Corbyn to discuss ‚Äúa deliverable plan‚ÄĚ to stop a no-deal Brexit, despite rejecting¬†his proposal to become caretaker PM. Boris Johnson's approach towards Brexit was deemed¬†‚Äėreckless‚Äô after the so-called Yellowhammer dossier¬†was leaked, detailing potential Brexit impacts. Opposition MPs later agreed on a strategy to stop a no-deal Brexit from taking place.

Italy: Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned after Interior Minister Matteo Salvini called for a confidence vote in the government. Later in the month, Italy’s Populist party, Five Star and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) agreed to form a coalition.

Denmark:¬†Donald Trump cancelled a state visit to Denmark after the Danish prime minister called the idea of purchasing Greenland¬†‚Äúan absurd idea‚ÄĚ.¬†Days before, Trump had confirmed reports that he was interested in buying Greenland, saying it was ‚Äúessentially a large real estate deal‚ÄĚ.¬†

Proroguement: The Queen approved a request by the Government to suspend Parliament just days after MPs returned to work following the summer break. It was feared the controversial move could see MPs have even less time to pass any laws in an attempt to block a no-deal exit from the European Union. 

Also this Month... Six bombs exploded in Bangkok as the city hosted a major regional security summit. The Liberal Democrats won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, reducing the government's working majority in Parliament to just one. The UK's energy watchdog, Ofgem demanded answers after a major power cut caused travel chaos and cut electricity to almost 1 million people in England and Wales. Richard Braine was elected as the new leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), following a ballot of members. Ruth Davidson resigned from her role as Scottish Conservatives leader after eight years in the job. North Korea fired two ballistic missiles on 26 August.

 

September 2019

Election Attempts Begin: The Conservatives lost their working majority in the House of Commons after former minister Dr Phillip Lee defected from the party and joined the Liberal Democrats. A bill to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October 2019 was passed and given royal assent. With no obvious way that Boris Johnson could move forward with Brexit, he started calls for an early general election. Calls for an election on Tuesday 15 October were rejected by MPs.

Impeachment Inquiry: An impeachment inquiry began into US President Donald Trump after a whistle-blower complaint stated that Mr Trump had attempted to bribe the Ukrainian government into finding 'dirt' on the former vice president and potential Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, in the 2020 election.

Prorogued: As planned, Parliament was prorogued, however, the Supreme Court ruled that Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful. The suspension or prorogation of Parliament was due to take place for five weeks, up to 14 October. However, the Supreme Court's president Lady Hale said: "the effect on the fundamentals of democracy was extreme". The eleven justices unanimously ruled that the Prime Minister's advice to HM the Queen to suspend Parliament was unlawful.

Thomas Cook Collapses: Thomas Cook, the UK's oldest travel agent collapsed and ceased trading. The UK's Civil Aviation Authority and the Department for Transport led what is Britain's biggest ever peacetime repatriation operation to date.

Climate: Millions joined the largest global climate strike in history ahead of a UN Climate Action Summit. Many left their schools and workplaces in support, including doctors and nurses and employees from firms including Amazon, Google and Facebook. Also this month, the Limmat River in Zurich was dyed fluorescent green by environmental activists from Extinction Rebellion.

Bye Bye Bercow: House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, speaking in Parliament, said his 10-year "tenure" was nearing its end and it had been the "greatest honour and privilege" to serve. He has said he would resign at the next election or on 31 October, saying this would be the "least disruptive and most democratic" exit.

Also this Month... The former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe passed away at the age of 95. Tensions between the US and Iran continued to rise as the US accused Iran of attacking oil reserves in Saudi Arabia. Many leading figures across Germany’s main political parties expressed outrage at the election of a far-right extremist party member, Stefan Jagsch as the head of a town council in the central German state of Hesse. Typhoon Lingling battered Japan and also hit North Korea. Jacob Rees Mogg was told off for taking a lie down on the green benches of the House of Commons.

 

October 2019

Extinction Rebellion: The front of the UK's Treasury building was sprayed with fake blood in an environmental protest by Extinction Rebellion. The Extinction Rebellion group revealed a banner that urged the government to "stop funding climate death", before attempting to spray the building with the blood from an old fire engine that the group are believed to have purchased. The hose appeared to burst, causing the protesters to drop it, spraying 1800 litres of fake blood onto the pavement, with only a small amount hitting the treasury building itself. Climate change protesters climbed on top of trains at Stratford, Shadwell and Canning Town, resulting in minor delays and the partial suspension of the Jubilee Line and Docklands Light Railway. Protests by the Extinction Rebellion group entered their second week, with demonstrations also taking place at London City Airport, where Paralympic bronze medallist James Brown climbed on top of a plane as part of the protests before he was arrested.

Protests Elsewhere: Peaceful protests took place in Chile with protestors calling on the government to tackle inequality. An estimated one million people or around 5% of the country’s population took part in one march which saw participants walking around the city with flags and calling for reform. Meanwhile, protests took place across Lebanon for over a week to demand an end to government corruption and inequality.

Brexit: German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly told Boris Johnson that a Brexit deal is "overwhelmingly unlikely". A deal was though achieved and MPs debated the new Brexit deal in the House of Commons in what was the first Saturday sitting of the Commons in 37 years. A vote on the deal didn't happen though, and the EU granted the UK a Brexit 'flextension' until January 31, 2020.

Election Campaign Finally Begins: After he failed to get his Brexit deal through Parliament, Boris Johnson kept calling for a general election. After it was clear that an extension had been granted by the EU and it was clear that a no-deal scenario would not happen on October 31, opposition parties backed the election on the fourth time of asking. The UK was to head to the polls on December 12.

Also this Month... The government's new legislative agenda was unveiled in a Queen's Speech, although it came just before an election was called. Super Typhoon Hagibis inflicted massive damage on Japan. The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon demanded powers to hold a new Scottish Independence Referendum. 39 people were found dead in a refrigerated trailer vehicle in Essex. Social network Twitter announced that it would ban all political advertising worldwide from 22 November. Former Conservative leadership candidate Rory Stewart announced he would be standing down at the next general election and would run for the role of Mayor of London as an independent candidate. US President Donald Trump formally announced the US would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords.

 

November 2019

Election Alliances: Jo Swinson said the Liberal Democrats would not go into coalition with anyone. She did though form a 'Remain pact' with Plaid Cymru and the Green Party. Nigel Farage urged Boris Johnson to enter into a 'Leave pact' with his Brexit Party, with US President Donald Trump also suggesting that they should work together. Johnson refused, and Farage later announced that the Brexit Party would not stand candidates in seats won by the Conservatives at the last election in 2017. 

Other Election News: Deputy Labour Party leader Tom Watson announced he would stand down following the general election. Sir Lindsay Hoyle was elected as the new speaker of the House of Commons just before the election campaign begun. Jo Swinson argued over being involved in ITV and BBC debates between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn which she was not invited to but lost a court battle. The Labour Party was hit by a DDOS cyber-attack. Parties released their election manifestos, promising everything from big spending on potholes to free internet. A series of televised election debates also took place. Elsewhere, Spain’s centre-left Socialists and far-left Podemos agreed to form a coalition government.

Climate Debate: Channel 4 News hosted the first-ever leader's debate on the climate crisis, however, a row erupted after Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage did not attend and were replaced by ice sculptures. Boris Johnson also repeatedly declined to confirm he would sit down for an interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil ahead of election day, whereas all other invited party leaders did confirm they would.

Prince Andrew: Prince Andrew announced he was stepping back from Royal Duties for the "foreseeable future". It came after backlash following a BBC interview about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, who was an American financier and convicted sex offender. 

Terror Attack: The terror threat level in the UK was downgraded to its lowest level in 5 years, with the threat of a terrorist attack stated as being 'substantial'. At the end of the month, two members of the public were killed in a terror attack on London Bridge.

Also this Month... Germany reflected on the 30-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. South Western Railway workers announced they would go on strike for 27 days and eight days of strikes by University and College Union (UCU) staff began, impacting 60 UK universities. Royal Mail won a High Court injunction, blocking potential strikes after CWU members backed strike action by 97% in a ballot which saw a turnout of almost 76%. Transport for London (TfL) announced that the ride-hailing firm, Uber would not be granted a new licence to operate in London. Over 40 fire crews tackled a large fire involving cladding at a student accommodation building in Bolton. The European Parliament declared a global "climate and environmental emergency".

 

December 2019

New Finnish Prime Minister: Finland's Social Democrats selected their country's youngest-ever Prime Minister. Transportation Minister Sanna Marin won a vote amongst the leadership of the Social Democrats party in Finland to become their new leader and the country's new Prime Minister. At the age of just 34, she became the youngest current Prime Minister in the world, the youngest ever female Prime Minister in the world and also the youngest ever PM of Finland.

UK General Election: In the final days of the election campaign, Boris Johnson stole a reporter's phone and put it in his pocket, and also hid in a fridge to avoid an interview on ITV's Good Morning Britain. The incidents didn't seem to impact the results though, with the Conservates winning their largest majority since 1987. Labour only managed to get just over 200 seats, leaving Jeremy Corbyn with little choice but to announce his resignation. The Liberal Democrats failed to increase their seat tally, and party leader Jo Swinson lost her seat in Parliament, forcing her to resign as party leader. The Brexit Party failed to win any seats, the Greens retained their one seat and the SNP made large gains.

Following the Election: A Queen's Speech marked the start of a new parliamentary session, but the ceremony was somewhat less spectacular due to there having been another one just months earlier. A large majority of MPs backed Boris Johnson's Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, paving the way for the UK to leave the EU on January 31, 2020. 358 MPs voted in favour of the bill, and 234 against it - giving a majority of 124 in favour of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill. The Independent Group for Change was disbanded after less than a year after failing to make an impact in any election.

Impeached: US President Donald Trump became only the third president in US history to be impeached. The House of Representatives, which is the lower chamber of Congress in the United States, voted to impeach the President following a debate and proceedings over the previous three months. Mr Trump joined Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton in the history books as the only three US presidents to date to have been impeached. The Articles of Impeachment read 'That Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanours.' Mr Trump was accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He has long insisted that he has done nothing wrong. 

Human Rights & Climate Change: The Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled that the Dutch government must take urgent action on climate change in order to protect its citizens. The highest court in the Netherlands ruled that International Human Rights law does oblige the Netherlands to reduce emissions "because of the risk of a dangerous climate change that can also seriously affect the residents of the Netherlands in their right to life and well-being."

New Years Honors: The Cabinet Office issued an apology after the home addresses of more than 1,000 people were published online in error. The New Year's Honours List 2020 was published online, however, a version containing the addresses of recipients was also accidentally published on a government website.

Also this Month... Germany expelled two Russian diplomats after a man was killed in central Berlin in August. Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced he plans to step down. Russia was banned from all major global sport for four years over a doping scandal. US President Donald Trump left the NATO summit in the UK early as other leaders talked behind his back. The UK government announced it will close down the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) on 31 January 2020. Andrew Bailey was appointed as the next governor of the Bank of England, to take over from Mark Carney in 2020. Calls to change the Lake District sparked controversy after the National Park's chief executive said it needs to attract a greater diversity of visitors. Urgent action was called for over racism after incidents in football matches in the UK. Reports suggested that Northern Rail could be split into two and taken into public ownership.

 

So that's it, 2019 in politics. We would try and predict what will happen in 2020 - but who even knows anymore...