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Westminster Map Of Madness: The Biggest Political Moments Of 2022

Westminster Map Of Madness: The Biggest Political Moments Of 2022
10 min read

Click on the picture to see what happened.

10 January - Police made contact with government over ‘BYOB’ ‘partygate’ event
Met Police
(Alamy)

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that they had been in contact with the Cabinet office over potential breaches of Covid laws in Downing Street on 20 May 2020. 

The intervention followed reports of a ‘bring your own booze’ event held in the No 10 garden when lockdown rules were in place, with an email invite sent to staff. 

"The Metropolitan Police service is aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on 20 May 2020 and is in contact with the Cabinet Office,” police said in a statement. 

 

14 January - No 10 issued an apology to the Queen after The Telegraph reported parties were held on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral 
Co Op
(Alamy)

Downing Street issued an apology to Buckingham Palace after it emerged that lockdown-busting gatherings had been held in No 10 on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral in 2021. It was reported that staff filled a suitcase with wine from the Strand Co-op.

Boris Johnson did not attend either of the events.

19 January- MP Christian Wakeford defected from the Tories to Labour 
Christian Wakeford
(Alamy)

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford defected from the Conservatives to the Labour Party, and described the Tories as “incapable” of leadership in his resignation letter to Boris Johnson. Wakeford, who took the seat in the North West by just 402 votes at the 2019 general election, said Labour was “ready to provide an alternative government that this country can be proud of”. 

24 February - Russia invaded Ukraine
Russia protest
(Alamy)

Russia invaded Ukraine in the early hours, after weeks of filing increasing numbers of troops on to the border. 

In an address to the nation later that day, Boris Johnson said that “worst fears have now come true”. 

He continued: “This act of wanton and reckless aggression is an attack not just on Ukraine. It is an attack on democracy and freedom in East Europe and around the world. 

“This crisis is about the right of a free, sovereign independent European people to choose their own future, and that is a right that the UK will always defend.”

8 March - Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy addressed the House of Commons 
Zelenskyy speech
(Alamy)

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky received a standing ovation from MPs and the Commons galleries when he addressed Parliament virtually. 

He referenced Shakespeare and Britain’s battles in World War Two, and told MPs and Lords: "We will not give up and we will not lose. We will fight until the end at sea, in the air. We will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost."

10 May  - Prince Charles stands in for the Queen at the state opening of Parliament
State opening
(Alamy)

Charles, then Prince of Wales, delivered the Queen’s Speech for the first time in place of his mother Elizabeth II, who had been advised to rest. 

He was joined by Prince William and his wife Camilla, then Duchess of Cornwall, as he outlined details of 38 bills, in a shorter than average speech which included plans to crack down on protests and a Brexit opportunities Bill. 

25 May - Sue Gray report into Downing Street lockdown parties was published by the Cabinet Office 
Sue Gray
(Alamy)

Boris Johnson claimed No 10 staff “genuinely believed” they were working after senior civil servant Sue Gray finally published her long-awaited report into rule breaking at the heart of Government during Covid lockdowns.

She detailed 15 social gatherings over eight dates, including the infamous gathering on the eve of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

“The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture,” the report said.

6 June - MPs held a Vote of confidence in Boris Johnson 
Graham Brady
(Alamy)

More than 40 per cent of the parliamentary Conservative Party voted that they had no confidence in the prime minister when a ballot was triggered by the 1922 committee.<br><br>Johnson won the vote by 211 to 148. He said it was an “extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive result” that meant he could “move on to unite and focus on delivery.”

30 June - Tamworth MP Chris Pincher resigns as Tory whip after an incident the previous evening
(Alamy)
(Alamy)

Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher resigned as a Conservative Party whip after he admitted he had “embarrassed myself and other people” after drinking “far too much”, as reports emerged that he had groped two men at a private club.

Pincher wrote to Boris Johnson and said “the right thing for me to do in the circumstances” was to resign as deputy chief whip.”

The following day, the MP lost the Conservative whip and it was announced he will be investigated by Parliament’s independent complaints and grievance scheme.

7 July - Boris Johnson announced he would stand down after dozens of ministers resigned
Boris Johnson
(Alamy)

Boris Johnson blamed a Westminster “herd” mentality but accepted that “no one is remotely indispensable” in a speech outside No.10 announcing his resignation. His resignation followed a tidal wave of ministerial resignations, trigger by Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak two days earlier.

“I tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we’re delivering so much and when we have such a vast mandate and when we’re actually only a handful of points behind in the polls,” he said.

“But as we’ve seen, at Westminster the herd instinct is powerful, when the herd moves, it moves.”

12 July  - Rishi Sunak launched first leadership bid at QE2 centre
Rishi Sunak
(Alamy)

Rishi Sunak told supporters that he could not promise lower taxes as he launched his own Conservative Party leadership bid, and promised he would be an “honest” prime minister.

"We need to have a grown up conversation about the central policy question that all candidates have to answer in this election: Do you have a credible plan to protect our economy and get it growing?," he told supporters.

14 July - Liz Truss launched leadership bid at Kings Buildings Smith Square
Liz Truss
(Alamy)

Liz Truss said she was “ready to be prime minister from day one” at the official launch of her campaign for No 10.

“I can lead, I can make tough decisions, and I can get things done,” she said.  

19 July - UK temperature reached 40C for the first time in history 
St James' Park
(Alamy)

Records were broken when temperatures across the UK reached 40C for the first time ever. 

5 September - Liz Truss won the Conservative leadership contest and became prime minister 
Liz Truss
(Alamy)

Liz Truss vowed to deliver a “bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy” when she beat Rishi Sunak in the race to become next Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister. with 81,326 votes to Sunak’s 60,399. The following day Truss met with the Queen at Balmoral to formally become prime minister. Photos of the Queen meeting her 13th prime minister would become the final pictures of the monarch to be published when she died two days later. 

9 September - Truss as PM mets Charles as King for first time 
Liz Truss and King Charles
(Alamy)

Former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Theresa May both received widespread praise for their Commons speeches in tribute to the Queen, who died two days ealier. May shared a funny anecdote with MPs about a time she dropped some cheese in front of the Queen before a picnic, while Johnson said that “wave after wave of grief is rolling across the world”.

Later that afternoon, the King told Truss his mother’s death was the moment he had been “dreading”, in the first of their weekly audiences.

10 September - Penny Mordaunt leds St James’ ceremony with political members of the Privy Council present as Charles was proclaimed King 
Privy Council
(Alamy)

Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Privy Council Penny Mordaunt was joined by senior political figures past and present as she led the accession council for King Charles at St James’ Palace. The historic ceremony was televised for the first time. 

14 September - Queen moved to Westminster Hall for historic lying in state 
Queen Lying In State
(Alamy)

The Queen’s coffin was moved to Westminster Hall at the heart of Parliament for more than four days of lying in state ahead of the funeral service.

Members of the public queued through the night for the opportunity to walk past the coffin, while visiting dignitaries and heads of state also got the chance pay their respects. Cabinet ministers Ben Wallace and Alister Jack, who have military affiliations, were among the guards keeping vigil at the perimeter of the coffin as part of Edinburgh’s Royal Company of Archers.

A state funeral for the Queen was held at Westminster Abbey five days later. 

19 September - State funeral of the Queen held at Westminster Abbey 
Queen's funeral
(Alamy)

All living former Prime Ministers were among the congregation at Westminster Abbey for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Almost 30million people around the country watched the service on television, while the Metropolitan Police launched the biggest policing event in its history. 

23 September - Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng mini-Budget 
Kwasi Kwarteng
(Alamy)

The pound crashed following Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s announcements of unfunded tax cuts.

His plans included the abolition of the top 45p rate of income tax, the lifting of the cap on bankers bonuses and the abandonment of a planned rise in corporation tax. The majority of the plans were later reversed either by Liz Truss, or Kwarteng’s successor at the Treasury Jeremy Hunt, but the backlash hastened Truss’ exit from Downing Street.

17 October - Jeremy Hunt reversed almost all Liz Truss’s tax measures 
Jeremy Hunt
(Alamy)

New chancellor Jeremy Hunt warned that he faced difficult decisions when he confirmed that he was ditching almost all of the measures in Truss and Kwarteng’s “mini-Budget”, after his predecessor was unceremoniously sacked in the wake of economic turmoil it triggered.

He scaled back the energy support package and said that Truss “reluctantly” agreed it wouldn’t be possible to keep the support in its proposed form past April 2023. 

20 October - Liz Truss announced her resignation 
Liz Truss
(Alamy)

After not even 50 days in office, Liz Truss became Britain’s shortest serving prime minister with her announcement that she would step down as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister, following irreparable damage caused to her leadership by her mini-Budget the previous month.

Speaking in Downing Street, she said that the country has been “held back for too long by low economic growth”, but acknowledged that she “cannot deliver the mandate” on which she was elected. 

24 October - Rishi Sunak was selected as Tory Leader and Prime Minister 
Rishi Sunak
(Alamy)

Rishi Sunak told MPs that his party was facing an “existential threat” after being selected as leader of the Conservative party uncontested after likely rivals Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt pulled out at the last minute. Sunak said the party should “unite or die”.

The following day he travelled to see the King at Buckingham Palace, and walked into Downing Street as Prime Minister, less than four months after his resignation from Boris Johnson’s government. 

 

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