1994 in the United Kingdom

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Events from the year 1994 in the United Kingdom.




  • 4 January – Following the expulsion of the British ambassador from Sudan, the Foreign Office orders the Sudanese ambassador to leave Britain.
  • 8 January – Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean win the British ice-dancing championship at the Sheffield Arena
  • 10 January – Two government ministers resign: Lord Caithness following the suicide of his wife, and Tim Yeo following the revelation that he fathered a child with Conservative councillor Julia Stent.
  • 14 January – The Duchess of Kent joins the Roman Catholic Church, the first member of the Royal Family to convert to Catholicism for more than 300 years.[1]
  • 18 January – The Prince of Wales retires from competitive polo at the age of 45.
  • 20 January
  • 31 January – British Aerospace sells its 80% stake in Rover to BMW, leaving Britain without an independent volume carmaker.[3] It is envisaged that the new Rover Group will produce more than 1million cars per year worldwide, and will be Europe's seventh largest carmaker.


  • 1 February – John Smith (Labour Party leader) strongly criticises the sale of the Rover Group, saying that it only satisfied British Aerospace's short-term need for cash. In contrast, Prime Minister John Major backs the takeover as giving the Rover Group excellent prospects for export markets and investment.
  • 4 February – British Coal confirms the closure of four more pits, a move which will claim some 3,000 jobs.
  • 7 February – Stephen Milligan, Conservative MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire, is found dead at his home in Chiswick, West London. Police describe his death as "suspicious"[4]
  • 10 February – Three men are jailed in connection with the IRA bombings of Warrington gasworks 11 months previous. Pairic MacFhloinn is jailed for 35 years, Denis Kinsella for 25 years and John Kinsella for 20 years.
  • 11 February – Forensic tests reveal that MP Stephen Milligan died of asphyxiation and that his death was probably the result of an auto-erotic sex practice.[5]
  • 12–27 February – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and win 2 bronze medals.
  • 21 February – Honda sells its 20% stake of the Rover Group, allowing BMW to take full control. This marks the end of the 13-year venture between the two carmakers, although the Honda-based Rover 400 will still go into production next year, becoming the seventh and final product of the venture.
  • 24 February – Police in Gloucester begin excavations at 25 Cromwell Street, the home of 52-year-old builder Fred West.



  • April – Economic growth for the first quarter of this year exceeded 1% – the highest for five years.
  • 1 April – Women's Royal Air Force fully merged into Royal Air Force.
  • 20 April – Unemployment has fallen to just over 2,500,000 – the lowest level in two years – as the economy continues to make a good recovery from the recession that ended a year ago.
  • 28 April – Rosemary West, 40-year-old wife of suspected serial killer Fred West, is charged with three of the murders her husband stands accused of.
  • 29 April – An opinion poll shows that Conservative support has fallen to 26% – their worst showing in any major opinion poll since coming to power 15 years ago.



  • 2 June – Chinook crash on Mull of Kintyre: an RAF Chinook helicopter carrying more than twenty leading intelligence experts crashes on the Mull of Kintyre, killing everyone on board.[14]
  • 7 June – TV playwright Dennis Potter, 59, dies of cancer, a week after his wife Margaret died of the same illness.
  • 9 June – David Chidgey wins the Eastleigh seat for the Liberal Democrats in the by-election sparked by Stephen Milligan's death; the Tory majority now stands at 15 seats compared with the 21-seat majority they gained at the general election two years ago.
  • 13 June – The Conservatives suffer their worst election results this century, winning a mere 18 out of 87 of the nation's seats in the European parliament elections. The resurgent Labour Party, still without a leader as the search for a successor to the late John Smith continues, wins 62 seats.
  • 16 June – Sir Norman Fowler resigns as chairman of the Conservative Party.
  • 15 June – Britain's railways grind to a virtual standstill with a strike by more than 4,000 signalling staff.



  • 1 August
  • 18 August – The first MORI poll since Tony Blair became Labour Party leader gives him a massive boost in his ambition to become prime minister as his party scores at 56% and has a 33-point lead over the Conservatives, who are now just five points ahead of the Liberal Democrats.[2]
  • 20 August – Huddersfield Town move into their new all-seater Alfred McAlpine Stadium, which has an initial capacity of 16,000 and will rise to 20,000 later this year on the completion of a third stand; a fourth stand is also planned and would take the capacity to around 25,000.[17]
  • 26 August – Sunday Trading Act 1994 (5 July) comes into full effect, permitting retailers to trade on Sundays, though restricting opening times of larger stores to a maximum of six hours, which must be between 10 am and 6 pm. This will have a significant social effect on shopping habits.
  • 31 August – The Provisional Irish Republican Army declares a ceasefire.[18]



  • October – Rover Group launches the Rover 100 – a facelifted version of the Metro.
  • 10 October – With the economic recovery continuing at a strong rate, unemployment is now falling at twice the rate in Conservative constituencies than in Labour ones, giving the Conservatives hope that they could win the next general election (which has to be held by May 1997) despite Labour having led the way in the opinion polls for virtually all of the two-and-a-half years since the last election.
  • 20 October – Cash-for-questions affair: The Guardian newspaper reports that two Conservative MPs, Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith, took bribes from Harrods chief Mohamed Al-Fayed to ask questions in the House of Commons.[22]
  • 30 October – Korean industrial giant Daewoo announces that it will start selling cars in Britain next year, and will be sold directly to customers through its own sales organisation rather than a traditional dealer network.[23]
  • 31 October – The Duke of Edinburgh attends a ceremony in Israel where his late mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg is honoured as "Righteous among the Nations" for sheltering Jewish families from the Nazis in Athens, during World War II.


  • 3 November – Criminal Justice and Public Order Act receives Royal Assent. This changes the right to silence of an accused person, allowing for inferences to be drawn from their silence; increases police powers of "Stop and search" and gives them greater rights to take and retain intimate body samples; changes the law relating to collective trespass to land, criminalising some previously civil offences; tightens the law in some areas relating to obscenity, pornography and sexual offences; and lowers the age of consent for male homosexual acts from twenty-one years to eighteen, while setting the age for female acts at sixteen, for the first time in English law recognising the existence of lesbianism.
  • 10 November – BBC1 broadcasts the first episode of sitcom The Vicar of Dibley, created by Richard Curtis for its lead actress, Dawn French.
  • 15 November – The Daily Telegraph becomes the first national newspaper in Britain to launch an online edition, the Electronic Telegraph. Some 600,000 people in Britain now have access to the internet at home.
  • 16 November – Unemployment has fallen to under 2,500,000 for the first time since the end of 1991.
  • 19 November – The first UK National Lottery draw takes place.[6]


  • December – Rover Group ends production of its long-running Maestro and Montego ranges, which were strong sellers during the 1980s but in recent years had been produced in lower volumes due to the success of models like the Rover 200.
  • 9 December – First meeting between the British government and Sinn Féin in more than 70 years.[6]
  • 14 December – Moors murderer Myra Hindley, who has been in prison since 1966, is informed by the Home Office that she will never be released from prison. She is one of an estimated 15 life sentence prisoners who have been issued with the whole life tariff. The decision was taken by former Home Secretary David Waddington in 1990.
  • 15 December – Tony Blair continues to enjoy dominance in the opinion polls as the latest MORI poll shows Labour support at an unprecedented 61%, putting them a massive 39 points ahead of the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats have suffered a slump in popularity, gained just 13% of the vote in this poll compared to 20% a year ago.[2] Ian Pearson wins the Dudley West by-election for Labour with nearly 70% of the votes, becoming the new MP for the constituency which was left vacant with the death of Conservative John Blackburn two months ago. The Conservative majority has now fallen to 13 seats.[24]
  • 28 December – Tony Blair claims that 40% of the workforce have been unemployed at some time since 1989, although there has never been more than 10.6% of the workforce out of work at the same time since then.


  • Deregulation of the British milk market following the abolition of most functions of the Milk Marketing Board under terms of the Agriculture Act 1993.
  • All Saints Church in Dewsbury is raised to the dignity of Dewsbury Minster, the first such modern elevation in the Church of England.
  • 0.5% of the UK population (approximately 300,000 people) now have access to the internet – five times as many people as in 1990.




See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Duchess of Kent joins Catholic church". BBC News. 14 January 1994. Archived from the original on 13 January 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "Poll tracker: Interactive guide to the opinion polls". BBC News. 29 September 2009. Archived from the original on 17 December 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  3. ^ "MPs condemn sale of Rover". BBC News. 1 February 1994. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  4. ^ "Police probe MP's suspicious death". BBC News. 8 February 1994. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  5. ^ "1994: Police probe MP's suspicious death". BBC News. 8 February 1994. Retrieved 25 May 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
  7. ^ Andrew Brown (13 March 1994). "'Send down your Holy Spirit upon your servant Angela': History is made as the Church of England ordains its first women priests". The Independent. London.
  8. ^ Orizio Riccardo (13 March 1994). "le sacerdotesse di Sua Maesta'". Corriere della Sera. p. 5.
  9. ^ John Darnton (March 13, 1994). "After 460 Years, The Anglicans Ordain Women". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "A female Archbishop? The contenders". The Guardian. London. 25 July 2002.
  11. ^ Walter Schwarz (March 12, 1994). "Day of reckoning: First women priests embraced as equals". The Guardian. London.
  12. ^ Dadds, Kimberley (19 July 2007). "The UK's longest-running chart toppers". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  13. ^ "Camelot wins UK lottery race". BBC News. 25 May 1994. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  14. ^ "MI5 officers killed in helicopter crash". BBC News. 2 June 1994. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  15. ^ "UK recovery 'to take five years'". BBC News. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  16. ^ "Labour chooses Blair". BBC News. 21 July 1994. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  17. ^ "Galpharm Stadium – Huddersfield".
  18. ^ "IRA declares 'complete' ceasefire". BBC News. 31 August 1994. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  19. ^ Richardson, Andy, ed. (28 April 2017). "Goths descend on town to celebrate weekend". Darlington & Stockton Times (2017–17). p. 22. ISSN 2040-3933.
  20. ^ "Aldwych station – History". Underground History. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  21. ^ "History". Epping Ongar Railway. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  22. ^ Hencke, David (20 October 1994). "Tory MPs were paid to plant questions says Harrods chief". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-10.
  24. ^ "How the Government's Majority Disappeared (Dudley West)". BBC News. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
  25. ^ Pepper, Terence (12 May 1994). "Obituary: Lady Victoria Wemyss". The Independent. London. Retrieved 13 October 2010.

External links[edit]