January – Vauxhall enters the coupé segment of the car market with the launch of its Cavalier-based Calibra, which is the first coupé built by General Motors in Europe since the demise of the Opel Manta in 1988.
13 January – some 50,000 people demonstrate on the streets of London to support of Britain's ambulance workers, as the ongoing ambulance crew strike continues four months after it began.
18 January – the first MORI poll of the decade shows that Labour have a 12-point lead over the Conservatives with 48% of the vote. Liberal support is at its lowest for more than a decade as the Liberal Democrats gain just 5% of the vote.
19 January – police in Johannesburg, South Africa, break up a demonstration against the cricket match played by rebel English cricketers led by Mike Gatting.
The UK and Argentina restore diplomatic relations after eight years. Diplomatic ties were broken off in response to Argentina's invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982.
Neil Kinnock's dream of being prime minister appears closer to becoming reality as the latest MORI poll shows Labour on 51% with a 17-point lead over the Conservatives.
20 February – three people are injured in Leicester city centre by a bomb explosion.
26 February – fourteen people are killed as storms hit Britain. One of the worst-hit areas is Towyn in North Wales, where approximately 2,000 people are evacuated from their homes after huge waves smash a 200-yard hole in the sea wall and cause a major flood.
27 February – economists warn that house prices could fall by up to 10% this year.
7 March – Halifax Building Society reveals that house prices rose by 0.3% last month – the first monthly rise since July last year.
9 March – 37 people are arrested and 10 police officers injured in Brixton, London, during rioting against the new Community Charge.
13 March – the ambulance crew dispute ends after six months when workers agree to a 17.6% pay rise.
Iraq hangs British journalist Farzad Bazoft for spying. Daphne Parish, a British nurse, is sentenced to fifteen years in prison for being an accomplice to Mr Bazoft.
Britain's unemployment is now down to 1,610,000 – the lowest since 1978. However, it is a drop of just 2,000 on January's total and economists fear that a sharp rise in unemployment could soon begin as there are widespread fears of a recession.
May – Rover Group launches a new version of its popular Metro supermini, which has been the best-selling car of the combine previously known as British Leyland and more recently Austin Rover since its 1980 launch.
3 May – the end of house price inflation is declared by Halifax Building Society, two years after the housing market peaked.
4 May – the local council elections see Labour win more local council seats than the Conservatives. Neil Kinnock's hopes of victory in the next general election are further boosted by the fact that Labour have finished ahead in most of the last year's opinion polls.
17 May – Manchester United win the FA Cup final replay 1–0 at Wembley Stadium, with the only goal of the game being scored by defender Lee Martin. Manchester United have now won the FA Cup seven times, equalling the record already held by Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.
Ford launches the new version of its Escort hatchback, estate and cabriolet, and Orion saloon, two cars with combined sales figures which account more than 10% of new cars sold in Britain. Sales of the two cars begin in Britain and the rest of Europe next month.
24 August – Irish hostage Brian Keenan is released in Beirut, Lebanon, after being held a hostage there for more than four years.
22 September – John Banham, a leading British industrial minister, warns that most of Britain is now affected by a recession and that there is worse to come. The latest CBI prediction is also the gloomiest since 1980, the last time Britain was in recession. Fears of a recession have been growing across most of the world since the autumn of last year. However, chancellor John Major denies that Britain is on the verge of a recession.
26 September – Margaret Thatcher joins in with the politicians who are denying that the British economy is slumping into recession, despite manufacturers reporting their biggest drop in output since 1982 and a growing number of bankruptcies.
Treasury officials speak of their belief that a "brief, technical" recession in the British economy is now inevitable.
Edward Heath, the former British prime minister, leaves Baghdad on a plane bound for Heathrow Airport with 33 freed hostages. Saddam Hussein has promised to release a further 30 hostages in the near future.
27 October – economists predict that the current economic downturn will be confined to the second half of this year.
8 November – the second Bootle by-election of the year sees Labour hold onto the seat once more with new MP Joe Benton gaining nearly 80% of the votes.
12 November – the Football Association penalises Arsenal two points and Manchester United one point and fines both clubs £50,000 for a mass player brawl in a Football League match between the two clubs last month at Old Trafford.
The CBI confirms that the whole of Britain is now in recession, with every region now reporting a fall in output.
Former cabinet minister Michael Heseltine announces that he will challenge Margaret Thatcher's leadership.
15 November – despite constant disputes in the government and widespread doubt over Mrs Thatcher's position as prime minister and party leader, combined with recent by-election defeats and anger over the poll tax, the Conservatives have cut Labour's lead in the opinion polls to four points as they gain 41% of the vote in the latest MORI poll.
19 November – major job cuts are reported to be on the way at the Rover Group, Britain's largest independent carmaker.
20 November – Margaret Thatcher fails to win outright victory in a leadership contest for the Conservative Party.
22 November – Margaret Thatcher announces her resignation as Leader of the Conservative Party and therefore as Prime Minister, having led the government for more than 11 years and the Conservative Party for over 15 years. She was the longest serving prime minister of the 20th century.
26 November – plastic surgeons Michael Masser and Kenneth Patton are murdered in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Channel Tunnel workers from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the English Channel seabed, establishing the first land connection between the United Kingdom and the mainland of Europe for around 8,000 years.
The CBI predicts that the recession will last longer than predicted, and that GDP is likely to fall by at least 1% in 1991.
3 December – the mother of Gail Kinchin is awarded £8,000 in High Court, a decade after her pregnant 16-year-old daughter was killed by a police marksman who intervened with a siege at the Birmingham flat where she was being held hostage by her boyfriend.
Saddam Hussein announces that all British hostages in Iraq are to be released.
House price inflation has returned and stands at 0.2% for November, the first year-on-year rise in house prices since February.
8 December – the UK grinds to a halt following heavy snow overnight. Large parts of the country are without power after snowfall brings down power lines, disrupting the electricity supply. Many rural areas are cut off for several days, while the Army is called out to help restore power. There is grim news for the retail industry as a CBI survey reports that retail sales have hit a standstill and High Street employment will fall.
The first British hostages in Iraq released by Saddam Hussein arrive back in the UK.
12 December – the new chancellor Norman Lamont rules out an early cut in interest rates which critics, including opposition MP's, claim would be a quick route out of recession.
Russell Bishop is sentenced to life imprisonment (with a recommended minimum of 15 years) for the abduction, indecent assault and attempted murder of a seven-year-old girl in Brighton earlier this year. Bishop, 24, was cleared of murdering two other girls in 1987.
Netto, a Danish discount food supermarket chain, opens its first store in Britain in Leeds.
The sharpest rise in unemployment since 1981 has taken it to more than 1,700,000, with 155,000 jobs having been lost in Britain since April. Economists blame high interest rates; a government method to combat inflation.
19 December – Tony Adams, the Arsenal captain and England defender, is sentenced to four months in prison for a drink-driving offence committed in Southend-on-Sea on 6 May this year.
British women Karyn Smith (aged 19) and Patricia Cahill (aged 20) receive 25-year prison sentences in Thailand for heroin smuggling. Their lawyers are planning to ask for a Royal pardon.
An era ends in the Rhondda, South Wales, when the last coalmine closes after more than 100 years of heavy coalmining in the region. 300 miners have lost their jobs and just seventeen will remain employed in the industry elsewhere.
27 December – the latest MORI poll shows that Conservative support has been boosted by the appointment of John Major, with his party now just four points behind Labour – eight months after Labour had peaked with a 23-point lead.
29 December – leading economists warn that the recession creeping upon Britain will deepen during 1991 and unemployment is likely to increase to well over 2,000,000 from the current total of over 1,700,000.
30 December – an opinion poll shows Labour slightly ahead of the Conservatives for the first time since John Major became prime minister.
31 December – 88-year-old author Barbara Cartland becomes a Dame in the New Year's Honours.