1990 in the United Kingdom
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|1990 in the United Kingdom|
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Events from the year 1990 in the United Kingdom.
- Monarch – Elizabeth II
- Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher (Conservative) (until 28 November), John Major (Conservative) (starting 28 November)
- 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.
- 1 January
- 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.
- 25 January – Burns' Day storm: hurricane-force winds are reported to have killed 39 people in England and Wales.
- 29 January – Lord Justice Taylor publishes his report in the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 95 Liverpool F.C. supporters on 15 April last year. He recommends that all top division stadiums are all-seater by 1994 and that the rest of the Football League follows suit by 1999, but rules out the government's proposed ID card scheme to combat football hooliganism as "unworkable".
- 9 February – Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran renews his fatwa on British author Salman Rushdie, which he imposed last year following controversy over the author's book: The Satanic Verses.
- 15 February
- 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.
- 1 March – the Official Secrets Act 1989 comes into force.
- 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.
- 15 March
- 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.
- 21 March – Allan Roberts, Labour MP for Bootle, dies of cancer aged 46.
- 23 March – the Duke and Duchess of York's second child, another daughter, is born.
- 31 March – 200,000 protesters in Poll Tax Riots in London in the week preceding official introduction of the Community Charge.
- 1–25 April – 1990 Strangeways Prison riot in Manchester.
- 2 April – an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale and centred on the Shropshire town of Bishop's Castle is felt throughout much of England and Wales.
- 4 April – Dr Raymond Crockett is struck off the medical register for using kidneys from Turkish immigrants who had been paid to donate them.
- 5 April – Aldi, a German discount food supermarket chain, opens its first store in Britain, in Stechford, Birmingham.
- 9 April – four Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers are killed by an IRA bomb in County Down.
- 10 April – with nineteen inmates at Strangeways Prison in Manchester still staging a rooftop protest against prison conditions, rioting has broken out at prisons in Cardiff and Bristol.
- 11 April – Customs and Excise officers seize parts of an Iraqi supergun in Middlesbrough.
- 19 April – Labour now have a 23-point lead over the Conservatives in the latest MORI poll.
- 29 April – Stephen Hendry, 21, becomes the youngest ever world snooker champion.
- May – Rover Group launches a heavily facelift version of its Metro, 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.
- 7 May – the Prince and Princess of Wales travel to Budapest for the first postwar British royal visit there.
- 8 May – Billy Cartman, a 33-year-old grouter, becomes the sixth Briton to die in the construction of the Channel Tunnel when he is crushed by heavy machinery.
- 11 May – inflation now stands at 9.4% – the highest level for eight years.
- 12 May – the final of the FA Cup ends in a 3–3 draw between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium.
- 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.
- 19 May
- British agriculture Minister John Gummer feeds a hamburger to his 5-year-old daughter to counter rumours about the spread of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy and its transmission to humans.
- Unemployment is reported to have risen for the first time in four years, though it is still only just over 1,600,000 compared to the high of more than 3,000,000 that was on record in 1986.
- 25 May – the "rump" Social Democratic Party (consisting of members who backed out of the merger with the Liberal Party which formed the Liberal Democrats two years ago) finishes behind the Monster Raving Loony Party in the Bootle by-election, where Labour retain power under new MP Michael Carr.
- 30 May – France bans British beef and live cattle imports as a precaution against fears of BSE being spread.
- 1 June – an army recruit is shot dead and two others are wounded by two suspected IRA gunmen in Lichfield, Staffordshire.
- 3 June – the Social Democratic Party is wound up after nine years in existence.
- 7 June – France, Italy and West Germany lift bans on British beef imposed during the BSE outbreak.
- 14 June
- The proposed high-speed rail link between London and the Channel Tunnel is shelved.
- Unemployment rises for the second month running, though by just over 4,000 to a total of 1,611,000 in May.
- 20 June – Chancellor of the Exchequer John Major proposes the "hard ecu", a currency which would circulate into parallel with national currencies as an alternative to full monetary union.
- 2 July – Girobank Plc privatised by sale to the Alliance & Leicester Group.
- 10 July – the first Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is opened by Princess Anne.
- 11 July – Labour MP's accuse the Conservative government of "fraud" amid allegations that the 1,600,000 fall in unemployment since 1986 included a million people leaving the list without finding work.
- 14 July – Trade and Industry Secretary Nicholas Ridley resigns following an interview in The Spectator in which he likened the European Union to Hitler's Germany.
- 16 July
- An official report reveals that High Street sales are at their lowest since 1980, sparking further fears of a recession.
- Nigel Mansell, Britain's most successful racing driver of the last 10 years, announces that he is to retire from Grand Prix races at the end of the 1990 season.
- 17 July – German food superstore chain Aldi opens its first British store in Birmingham and plans to have up to 200 stores across the country by 1993.
- 19 July – Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, frees Daphne Parish from prison for "humanitarian reasons" and she returns to Britain.
- 20 July
- 24 July – a Roman Catholic nun and three police officers are killed by an IRA landmine in County Armagh.
- 30 July – IRA car bomb kills British MP Ian Gow, a staunch unionist, after he assured the IRA that the British government would never surrender to them.
- 31 July – the England cricket team defeats the India national cricket team in a high-scoring Lord's test match totalling 1,603 runs.
- 1 August – British Airways Flight 149 is seized by the Iraqi Army at Kuwait International Airport following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
- 3 August – heat wave peaks with a temperature of 37.1 °C (98.8 °F) recorded at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
- 5 August – Margaret Thatcher announces her desire for a new Magna Carta to guarantee basic rights for all European citizens.
- 14 August – a survey carried out by the BBC reveals that 20% of taxpayers in England and Wales had not paid their Community Charge by 30 June this year.
- 16 August – a MORI poll shows that Labour now has a 15-point lead over the Conservatives with 50% of the vote, while support to the Liberal Democrats has doubled to 10% over the last seven months.
- 22 August – James MacMillan's symphonic piece The Confession of Isobel Gowdie premieres at The Proms in London.
- 23 August –
- British hostages in Iraq are paraded on TV.
- 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.
- 27 August
- 10 September – Pegasus, a leading British travel operator, goes bankrupt.
- 18 September – Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Terry survives a murder attempt by IRA terrorists at his home near Stafford.
- 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.
- 2 October – Neil Kinnock cites education and training as key areas needing an improvement in standards when he addresses his party's conference in Blackpool.
- 8 October
- 18 October – Eastbourne by-election in East Sussex.
- 19 October – David Bellotti for the Liberal Democrats wins the "safe" Eastbourne Conservative seat.
- 23 October
- 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.
- 29 October – première of Keeping Up Appearances.
- Government produces Planning Policy Guidance 16: Archaeology and Planning to advise local authorities on the treatment of archaeology within the planning process. Site developers are required to contract with archaeological teams to have sites investigated in advance of development.
- Neil Kinnock, who has been leader of the Labour Party since October 1983, is now the longest serving opposition leader in British political history.
- 1 November
- Geoffrey Howe, Deputy Prime Minister, resigns over the government's European policy.
- Broadcasting Act makes bidding for independent television franchises more commercially based and relaxes regulation of television and radio broadcasting.
- Courts and Legal Services Act introduces major reforms of the legal profession and Courts of England and Wales.
- 2 November
- 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.
- 13 November – Geoffrey Howe makes a dramatic resignation speech in the House of Commons, attacking the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher's hostility towards the EC.
- 14 November –
- 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.
- 27 November – John Major is elected leader of the Conservative Party and becomes Britain's new prime minister, defeating Douglas Hurd and Michael Heseltine. At 47, Major is the youngest British prime minister of the 20th century.
- 28 November – John Major appointed Prime Minister by the Queen, as Margaret Thatcher officially tenders her resignation after leaving 10 Downing Street for the last time.
- 1 December
- 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.
- 6 December
- 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.
- 11 December
- 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.
- 13 December
- 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.
- Poundland, a supermarket chain selling all items for £1, opens its first store at Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.
- 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.
- 20 December
- 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.
- 23 December – the nine-month-old daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York is christened Eugenie Victoria Helena.
- 25 December – storms on Christmas Day leave more than 100,000 British homes without power.
- 26 December – the fatwa (order to kill) against Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie is upheld by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, more than one year after it was first issued. Rushdie is still living in hiding.
- 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.
- Inflation reached 9.5% for the first time since 1981.
- 0.1% of the UK population (some 60,000 people) now have access to the internet.
- Iain M. Banks' novel Use of Weapons.
- Louis de Bernières' novel The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts.
- A. S. Byatt's novel Possession: A Romance.
- Elizabeth Jane Howard's novel The Light Years, first of the Cazalet series.
- Hanif Kureishi's novel The Buddha of Suburbia.
- Ian McEwan's novel The Innocent.
- Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels Eric and Moving Pictures and The Bromeliad novels Diggers and Wings.
- Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's novel Good Omens.
- 8 February – Jonathan Page, English footballer
- 13 February – Olivia Allison, swimmer
- 23 March – Princess Eugenie of York, daughter of The Duke and Duchess of York
- 15 April – Emma Watson, actress
- 23 April – Dev Patel, actor
- 16 May – Thomas Sangster, actor
- 1 June – Martin Pembleton, footballer
- 13 June – Aaron Taylor-Johnson, actor
- 19 July – Rosie Jones, model
- 21 July – Chris Martin, footballer
- 8 August – Stuart Shaw, main guy
- 10 December – Bryony Page, trampolinist
- 26 December – Aaron Ramsey, footballer
- 30 December – Joe Root, cricketer
- 6 January – Ian Charleson, actor (born 1949)
- 7 January
- 8 January – Terry-Thomas, actor (born 1911)
- 14 January – Gordon Jackson, actor (born 1923)
- 2 February
- 15 March – Farzad Bazoft, journalist (born 1958)
- 20 March – Victor Rothschild, 3rd Baron Rothschild (born 1910)
- 21 March – Allan Roberts, Labour Member of Parliament (born 1943)
- 8 May – Tomás Ó Fiaich, cardinal (born 1923)
- 18 May – Lorna Johnstone, equestrian (born 1902)
- 9 June – Angus McBean, photographer (born 1904)
- 25 June – Sean Hughes, Labour Member of Parliament (born 1946)
- 30 June – Brian Tiler, football director and former player and manager (born 1943); died in Italy
- 20 July – Michael Carr, Labour Member of Parliament for 57 days (born 1947)
- 30 July
- 9 August – Joe Mercer, former footballer and football manager (born 1914)
- 6 September – Len Hutton, cricketer (born 1916)
- 7 September – A.J.P. Taylor, historian (born 1906)
- 5 October – Peter Taylor, football manager (born 1928)
- 4 November – David Stirling, founder of the SAS (born 1915)
- 5 November – Erich Heller, essayist (born 1911)
- 7 November – Lawrence Durrell, writer (born 1912)
- 14 November – Malcolm Muggeridge, journalist, author and media personality (born 1903)
- 23 November – Roald Dahl, author (born 1916)
- 24 November – Dodie Smith, novelist and playwright (born 1896)
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