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Tue, 27 October 2020

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PoliticsHome's most read stories from a turbulent year in British politics

PoliticsHome's most read stories from a turbulent year in British politics
5 min read

European elections, Theresa May out, Boris Johnson in, a snap general election and a new Parliament. For fans of politics, the 2019 season has been action-packed. Take a trip down memory lane as we round-up our most read stories from the year.


Jan: EXCL Row as Jeremy Corbyn 'appoints Diane Abbott to Labour's ruling body'

Start as you mean to go on. Jeremy Corbyn kicked off the year with an almighty internal party row after he was accused of ignoring the rules to appoint Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott to the National Executive Committee. It came after ex-Shadow International Development Secretary Kate Osamor was forced to stand down over what she knew about her son's drug conviction.

February: Theresa May risks Cabinet fury as she delays Brexit meaningful vote again

It may feel like a lifetime ago, but back in February Theresa May was still fighting for her political life as she pushed back a meaningful vote on her doomed Brexit deal. The backlash saw MPs vote to extend the Article 50 deadline from 29 March to June in a bid to avoid a no-deal and help the PM buy more time to find her way out of the crisis.

March: EXCL: New Royal Yacht Britannia would 'unite' the country after Brexit, says minister

In an interview with PoliticsHome sister title, The House, Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry suggested that what the country really needed after almost a decade of austerity was a new Royal Yacht to "unite" the public. The minister said it was his "personal view" but that didn't stop people reacting with outrage to the proposal.

April: Blow for Tories and Labour as Nigel Farage's Brexit Party takes EU elections poll lead

Just a week after Nigel Farage announced his new political outfit, they were sweeping ahead in the polls. For all the criticism of the pollsters and their models they got this one bang on. Just a month later, the Brexit Party humiliated the traditional parties as they romped home to victory in probably the last EU elections to be held in the UK.

May: Tory MPs lead widespread criticism of Theresa May's 'new deal' on Brexit

Groundhog May as the PM once again found herself on the sharp end of the Brexiteer spears. As the walls closing in on her premiership she made one last gasp at finding consensus in the Commons by proposing a new deal which included guarantees on workers' rights and the environment, as well as the vague aspiration to develop "alternative arrangements" for the controversial Irish backstop.

June: 'It's deadly serious': The War on the BBC

Anger at the BBC's political coverage from both sides of the spectrum has become more pronounced in the wake of Boris Johnson's election victory, but even back in June, anger at Auntie was rife. The House magazine's Seb Whale spoke to a whole host of figures for this piece on the future of the BBC and its relationship with British politics.

July: EXPLAINED: How the new Prime Minister could be kicked out of office on day one

Theresa May has gone and the competition is hotting up for her replacement, but all PoliticsHome readers care about is how to toss out the new occupant of Number 10 before they could get their boots off. 

August: Senior Tory quits party after 24 years over Boris Johnson's 'dangerous' Brexit plans

Just weeks after Boris Johnson was elected leader there was a backlash from some grassroots members, including former councillor and ex-chair of two Tory associations, David Herdson, who slammed the PM's "obsession" with his then-31 October Brexit deadline.

He said Brexit had become for the Conservatives “what nationalisation is for the Corbynite Labour Party: an end in itself, to be achieved irrespective of cost”.

September: Sir John Major warns Boris Johnson could use 'political chicanery' to force through no-deal Brexit

This year has been a good one for ex-PMs hoping to continue influencing the political landscape. Both John Major and Tony Blair have been vocal critics of both party leaders, with Sir John leading the charge against Boris Johnson's political gamesmanship.

October: Boris Johnson plans to send second letter to EU cancelling request for Brexit delay, claims Andrea Leadsom

Speaking of political chicanery, Boris Johnson wound up Remainers after he sent his legally-mandated letter requesting a Brexit extension along with another which essentially said he had been forced to do it by MPs and he didn't really mean it. The EU granted the extension to the end of January and the PM's biggest promise of his leadership was left in tatters.

November: Four new opinion polls give Tories commanding lead over Labour as election looms

Boris Johnson's party led the election polls from the start of the campaign and ended in a resounding majority. Even in early November all the pollsters had the Tories on a commanding lead over Labour with the figures only narrowing as election day grew nearer.

December: Class of 2019: Meet the new MPs

As the dust settles on a new political landscape that saw dozens of senior MPs leaving Parliament, the House Magazine's guide to the new intake gives you the opportunity to read up on all of the new faces arriving in Westminster. This is one worth bookmarking for the future as these new MPs seek to make their mark on British politics as we move into the new decade.

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