2023 in Politics: Annual Year in Review

Table of Contents

2023 Year in Review

As part of a tradition here at Study Politics, we’re looking over some of the biggest political stories and developments of the last year from across the world. It’s been another tumultuous year, so let’s dive into some of this year’s biggest events.

January

  • 26th January: Jacob Rees-Mogg is hired by GB News to present a new evening show.
  • 29th January: Conservative Chairman Nadhim Zahawi is fired from his role after a breach of the ministerial code regarding his taxes.

February

  • 5th February: Former PM Liz Truss writes an article in The Telegraph, stating that her economic policies were never given a fair chance to succeed.
  • 6th February: A major earthquake hits Turkey and Syria, killing over 59,000 people.
  • 7th February: A cabinet reshuffle, in which Grant Shapps becomes the new Net Zero Secretary and Kemi Badenoch becomes Business and Trade Secretary.
  • 8th February: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses both Houses of Parliament.
  • 15th February: Nicola Sturgeon announces her resignation as leader of the SNP and First Minister.
  • 27th February: PM Rishi Sunak and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announce the ‘Windsor Framework’ – a new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland.

March

  • 1st March: WhatsApp messages from former Health Secretary Matt Hancock are leaked, suggesting he ignored scientific advice to carry out COVID-19 tests in care homes at the start of the pandemic.
  • 7th March: Home Secretary Suella Braverman introduces the Illegal Migration Bill to the House of Commons.
  • 27th March: Humza Yousaf becomes the new Scottish First Minister and leader of the SNP.
  • 28th March: The Labour Party blocks Jeremy Corbyn from standing for the party again.

April

  • 18th April: SNP Treasurer Colin Beattie is arrested as part of an investigation into the party’s finances.
  • 21st April: Dominic Raab resigns as Deputy PM and Justice Secretary after an investigation found allegations of bullying to be true.
  • 23rd April: Diane Abbott is suspended from the Labour Party after downplaying racism against Travellers, Irish people and Jews.

May

  • 4th May: Local elections are held across the UK, with massive losses for the Conservatives and gains for the Greens, Labour and Lib Dems.
  • 10th May: MP Andrew Brigden joins the Reclaim Party (led by Laurence Fox), becoming their first MP. In addition, Adam Price resigns as the leader of Plaid Cymru.
  • 13th May: The Eurovision Song Contest is held in Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine, who cannot hold the contest due to the ongoing war. The contest is won by Sweden for the seventh time.
  • 28th May: Four MPs who put driving fines on parliamentary expenses are told to repay the fines themselves.

June

  • 6th June: MPs vote in favour of a 30-day suspension of MP Margaret Ferrier, who travelled from London to Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus. A recall petition is triggered.
  • 8th June: Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s only MP, announces she will stand down at the next general election.
  • 9th June: Nadine Dorries announces she will stand down as an MP “with immediate effect”. She stands down on 26th August. In addition, Boris Johnson announces he will stand down as an MP “with immediate effect”.
  • 10th June: Nigel Adams announces he will stand down as an MP “with immediate effect”.
  • 11th June: Former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into the party’s finances. She is released without charge.
  • 15th June: the Partygate report is released, concluding that former PM Boris Johnson “deliberately” misled parliament, and would have recommended a 90-day suspension had Johnson not already resigned.
  • 17th June: David Warburton announces he will stand down as an MP “with immediate effect”.
  • 23rd June: The Wagner Group stage a march towards Moscow, furious with the actions of President Putin regarding the war in Ukraine.

July

  • 9th July: US President Joe Biden arrives in the UK for a state visit.
  • 16th July: The UK joins the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
  • 20th July: By-elections are held in Uxbridge, Somerton and Selby. The Conservatives win in Uxbridge, the Lib Dems in Somerton and Labour in Selby, resulting in a net loss of two seats for the Conservatives.
  • 24th July: Charlotte Owen, Boris Johnson’s former advisor, joins the House of Lords at the age of 30, the youngest member.

August

  • 11th August: SNP MP Angus McNeil is expelled from the SNP after disagreements with the party’s Chief Whip.
  • 20th August: The Lionesses play Spain in the Women’s FIFA World Cup final, losing 1-0.
  • 23rd August: The first Republican candidate debate is held, in which Nikki Haley receives the largest polling increase, but does not exceed support for Donald Trump. In addition, Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is killed in a plane crash, with widespread suspicion that the Russian government was behind the crash.
  • 24th August: A mugshot is taken of former President Donald Trump, after being indicted on racketeering chargers.
  • 26th August: Nadine Dorries resigns from Parliament, over two months after saying she would leave with “immediate effect”.
  • 27th August: Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves rules out out a “wealth tax” if Labour get into power at the next general election.

September

  • 4th September: Keir Starmer carries out a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle. In addition, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn reshuffles his frontbench.
  • 8th September: A major earthquake hits Morocco, killing over 2,900 people.
  • 10th September: Two men are arrested under the Official Secrets Act, including a parliamentary researcher, on suspicion of spying for China.
  • 15th September: The UK formally proscribes the Wagner Group as a terrorist organisation.
  • 20th September: In a press conference, Rishi Sunak announces that the ban on diesel and petrol cars will be delayed from 2030 to 2035.

October

  • 4th October: in his Conservative conference speech, Rishi Sunak confirms that the HS2 leg from Birmingham to Manchester will be cancelled, and the funds redirected to other transport projects.
  • 5th October: in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, Labour win the seat from the SNP.
  • 7th October: Hamas launch a surprise attack on Israel, killing around 1,200 civilians and triggering the 2023 Israel-Hamas War.
  • 12th October: MP Lisa Cameron defects from the SNP to the Conservatives.
  • 17th October: MP Peter Bone is suspended from Parliament after allegations of bullying were upheld.
  • 19th October: In by-elections held in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire, Labour take both seats from the Conservatives.
  • 26th October: Parliament is prorogued by a King for the first time since 1951. Also, Conservative MP Crispin Blunt is suspended from the party after confirming he had been arrested and questioned by police over allegations of rape.

November

  • 1st November: The UK holds the world’s first AI summit, with leaders from 28 countries signing the Bletchley Park Agreement.
  • 9th November: Home Secretary Suella Braverman publishes an article in The Times, in which she questions the impartiality of the police regarding Palestinian protests.
  • 13th November: Rishi Sunak carries out a reshuffle of his cabinet, in which Suella Braverman is sacked, James Cleverly becomes Home Secretary, and David Cameron makes a surprise return to government as Foreign Secretary. He is to become a member of the House of Lords to take up this position.
  • 15th November: The Government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court.
  • 20th November: David Cameron becomes Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton.
  • 21st November: Newly-elected Argentinian President Javier Milei says it is time to “get [the Falklands Islands] back”, to which the government responds by saying there is no question over British sovereignty.
  • 22nd November: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivers the Autumn Statement, in which he cuts the rate of National Insurance.