1997 in the United Kingdom

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1997 in the United Kingdom:
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Events from the year 1997 in the United Kingdom.

Overview[edit]

1997 in the United Kingdom is noted for a landslide General Election victory for the Labour Party under Tony Blair, the transfer of Hong Kong, the largest remaining British colony, to China and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Incumbents[edit]

Events[edit]

January[edit]

  • 1 January - 11 VCI children's titles - out now on video.
  • 15 January
    • Diana, Princess of Wales calls for an international ban on landmines.[1]
    • The strengthening economy is reflected in a national unemployment total of 1,884,700 for last December – the lowest level since January 1991, although the Conservative government who oversaw it are still behind Labour in the opinion polls as the general election looms.
  • 16 January – The Conservative Party government loses its majority in the House of Commons after the death of Iain Mills, MP for Meriden.[2]
  • 17 January
    • A jury at the Old Bailey rules that 86-year-old Szymon Serafinowicz is unfit to stand trial on charges of murdering Jews during the Holocaust.
    • East 17 singer Brian Harvey is dismissed from the band after publicly commenting that the drug Ecstasy is safe.
  • 20 January – Death of Labour Party MP Martin Redmond ends the government's minority.[2] On the same day, the party vows not to raise income tax if, as seems likely, it wins the forthcoming general election.[3]

February[edit]

  • 4 February - Moors Murderer Myra Hindley is informed by Home Secretary Michael Howard that she will never be released from prison. Hindley, who has now been in prison for more than 30 years, was originally issued with a whole life tariff by the then Home Secretary David Waddington in 1990, but not informed of the ruling until just over two years ago.
  • 6 February – The Court of Appeal rules that Mrs Diane Blood of Leeds can be inseminated with her dead husband's sperm. Mrs Blood had been challenging for the right to use the sperm of her husband Stephen since just after his death two years ago.[4]
  • 22 February – Scientists at the Roslin Institute announce the birth of a cloned sheep named Dolly seven months after the fact.[5]
  • 27 February – The government loses its Commons majority again after the Labour victory at the Wirral South by-election.[2]

March[edit]

  • 10 March – 160 vehicles are involved in a motorway pile up on the M42 motorway at Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Three people are killed and 60 injured.
  • 17 March – John Major announces that the general election will be held on 1 May. Despite the opinion polls having shown a double digit lead almost continuously since late 1992, Major is hoping for a unique fifth successive term of Conservative government by pinning his hopes on a strong economy and low unemployment – no incoming government since before the First World War has inherited economic statistics as strong as the ones that Labour will should they win the election.
  • 18 March – The Sun newspaper, a traditional supporter of the Conservative Party, declares its support for Tony Blair and Labour. It condemns the Conservatives as "tired, divided and rudderless" – a stark contrast to its support for them in the run-up to the 1992 election where it waged a high-profile campaign against the then Labour leader Neil Kinnock and, after the Conservative victory, claimed responsibility for the result.
  • 23 March – Unemployed continues to fall and now stands at just over 1,800,000 – its lowest level since December 1990.
  • 30 March – Channel 5, Britain's fifth terrestrial television channel and its first new one since the launch of Channel 4 in November 1982, is launched.
  • 31 March – BBC pre-school children's television series Teletubbies first airs.

April[edit]

  • April – Nursery Education Voucher Scheme introduced, guaranteeing a government-funded contribution to the cost of preschool education for 4-year-olds.
  • 8 April
    • BBC journalist Martin Bell announces that he is to stand as a candidate against Neil Hamilton in the Tatton constituency on an anti-corruption platform.[6]
    • A MORI opinion poll shows Conservative support at a four-year high of 34%, but Labour still look set to win next month's general election as they have a 15-point lead.[5]
  • 29 April – The last MORI poll before the election tips Labour for a landslide victory as they gain 48% of the vote and a 20-point lead over the Conservatives.[6]

May[edit]

June[edit]

July[edit]

The funeral cortege of Diana, Princess of Wales

August[edit]

September[edit]

  • 1 September
  • 5 September – The Queen makes a nationwide broadcast in tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, following widespread criticism of the Royal Family's response to her death.
  • 6 September – The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales takes place at Westminster Abbey, London followed by a private burial at the estate of the Earls Spencer in Althorp, Northamptonshire. The Earl Spencer, brother of Diana, attacks the Royal Family's treatment of Diana in his funeral eulogy. TV coverage of the funeral is hosted by both BBC 1 and ITV, attracting an audience of more than 32,000,000 which falls just short of the national TV audience record set by the England national football team's victorious World Cup final in 1966.[23]
  • 11 September – Referendum in Scotland on the creation of a national Parliament with devolved powers takes place. On two separate questions, voters back the plans both for a national Parliament and for it to have limited tax raising powers.[24]
  • 13 September – Release of Elton John's Candle in the Wind remade as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales. This will be the second best-selling single worldwide of all time.[25]
  • 17 September – Police investigating the death of Diana, Princess of Wales reveal that the car in which she was travelling may have collided with a Fiat Uno seconds before hitting a concrete pillar.
  • 18 September
  • 25 September – A Saudi court sentences British nurse Lucille McLauchlan to eight years in prison and 500 lashes for being an accessory to the murder of Australian nurse Yvonne Gilford in December last year. Fellow British nurse Deborah Parry is charged with murder and could face the death penalty if found guilty. Ms Gilford's brother Frank, is reported to be willing to accept £750,000 in "blood money" for Ms Parry's life to be spared if she is found guilty. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook condemns the sentence of flogging against Ms McLauchlan as "wholly unacceptable in the modern world".
  • 29 September – British scientists state that they have found a link between Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and eating of BSE-infected meat.[26]

October[edit]

  • 1 October – The final LTI FX4 London cab is produced after 39 years.
  • 3 October - 14 VCI children's titles all going to Paris
  • 4 October – The BBC introduces its new corporate logo across the corporation. As well as new idents for BBC1.
  • 15 October – Andy Green driving the ThrustSSC sets a new land speed record of 763.035 mph (1227.99 km/h), the first time the sound barrier is broken on land.[12]
  • 24 October – WPC Nina Mackay, 25, is stabbed to death in Stratford, London, when entering a flat to arrest a Somali asylum seeker who was due to be deported.

November[edit]

December[edit]

Undated[edit]

Publications[edit]

Births[edit]

Full date unknown[edit]

Deaths[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Princess Diana sparks landmines row". BBC News. 15 January 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c "How the Government's Majority Disappeared, BBC". Retrieved 26 September 2007. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Widow allowed dead husband's baby". BBC News. 6 February 1997. Archived from the original on 8 February 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  5. ^ "Dolly the sheep is cloned". BBC News. 22 February 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  6. ^ "BBC TV newsman turns politician". BBC News. 8 April 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  7. ^ "Labour routs Tories in historic election". BBC News. 2 May 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  8. ^ "Brown sets Bank of England free". BBC News. 6 May 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  9. ^ "Labour to stub out tobacco sponsorship". BBC News. 19 May 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  10. ^ "Straw to reconsider Bulger killers' fate". BBC News. 12 June 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  11. ^ "Victory for McDonald's – at a cost". BBC News. 19 June 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  12. ^ a b c Penguin Pocket on This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0. 
  13. ^ Common knowledge
  14. ^ "IRA declares ceasefire". BBC News. 19 July 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54850. pp. 8911–8914. 2 August 1997. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
    The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54851. pp. 8909–8910. 2 August 1997. Retrieved 27 February 2008.
  17. ^ "Three matches in floodlight probe". BBC News. 12 February 1999. 
  18. ^ [3]
  19. ^ "Princess Diana dies in Paris crash". BBC News. 31 August 1997. Archived from the original on 24 January 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  20. ^ "Diana driver was 'drunk and speeding'". BBC News. 1 September 1997. Archived from the original on 13 February 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  21. ^ "Royal Mint, 50 p Coin Design". Archived from the original on 21 January 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  22. ^ [4]
  23. ^ "Diana's funeral watched by millions". BBC News. 6 September 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  24. ^ "Scots say 'Yes' to home rule". BBC News. 12 September 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  25. ^ Guinness World Records (PDF). 2007. p. 187. Retrieved 3 March 2011.  White Christmas was the first.
  26. ^ "Scientists confirm brain diseases link". BBC News. 29 September 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  27. ^ "1950: Television crosses the Channel". BBC News. 27 August 1950. Archived from the original on 30 August 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  28. ^ "'Great Train Robber' escapes extradition again". BBC News. 12 November 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  29. ^ "Murder conviction quashed after 25 years". BBC News (BBC). 3 December 1997. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  30. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1997". Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  31. ^ "Dawn of Scottish parliament". BBC News. 18 December 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  32. ^ "Tory leader weds". BBC News. 19 December 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  33. ^ "BSE inquiry to be 'far-reaching'". BBC News. 22 December 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  34. ^ "Minister's son arrested in drug probe". BBC News. 24 December 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 
  35. ^ "1997: Loyalist leader murdered in prison". BBC News. 27 December 1997. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 

See also[edit]