2003 in the United Kingdom
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|2003 in the United Kingdom:|
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|Individual countries of the United Kingdom|
|England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales|
|Sport, Television and music|
Events from the year 2003 in the United Kingdom.
- January – Toyota launches an all-new Avensis to be built at TMUK.
- 10 January – Ian Carr, a 27-year-old banned driver with a total of 89 previous convictions (including causing death by dangerous driving), admits causing the death by dangerous driving of a six-year-old girl in Ashington, Northumberland – a crime which sparks widespread public and media outrage across Britain.
- 25 January – Central line underground train crashes into the tunnel wall at Chancery Lane tube station in London, injuring 34 people.
- 29 January – Sally Clark, a 38-year-old former solicitor from Cheshire, is released from prison after the Court of Appeal clears her of murdering her two sons, who are believed to have suffered sudden infant death syndrome.
- 30 January – Richard Colvin Reid, the so-called "shoe bomber", is sentenced to life imprisonment by a United States court.
- 31 January – One of the longest prison sentences ever issued in a British court for a motoring offence is handed down on killer driver Ian Carr, who received a nine-and-a-half-year sentence for causing death by dangerous driving – his second conviction for the crime in 12 years.
- 1 February – In Northern Ireland, the Protestant Ulster Defence Association Belfast leader John Gregg is killed by a loyalist faction.
- 15 February – In London, more than 2 million people demonstrate against the Iraq War, the largest demonstration in British history.
- 17 February – The London congestion charge, a fee levied on motorists travelling within designated parts of central London, comes into operation.
- 27 February
- 12 March – Iraq disarmament crisis: British prime minister Tony Blair proposes an amendment to the possible 18th U.N. resolution, which would call for Iraq to meet certain benchmarks to prove that it was disarming. The amendment is immediately rejected by France, who promises to veto any new resolution.
- 20 March – 2003 Iraq war: Land troops from United Kingdom join troops from the United States, Australia and Poland in the invasion of Iraq.
- 22 March – Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from Royal Navy submarines take part in a massive air and missile strike on military targets in Baghdad.
- 6 April – British forces capture the city of Basra during the Iraq war.
- 9 April – The Iraq war effort is given a major boost when a statue of Saddam Hussein is toppled in Baghdad and it is confirmed that Hussein's rule has ended.
- 29 April – Tony Blair holds a one-day summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin mocks Britain's and America's failure to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
- 3 May
- Scottish parliamentary election, 2003: the Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition led by Jack McConnell win a majority of the seats and remain in power. The Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Socialist Party significantly increase their representation.
- Welsh Assembly election, 2003: the Labour Party remain in power.
- The BBC announces that the hugely popular character Den Watts will return to its soap opera EastEnders later this year, 14 years after he was supposedly killed off.
- 15 May – The government suspends all flights to and from Kenya after warnings of an imminent al-Qaeda attack.
- 28 May – The UEFA Champions League Final at Old Trafford (home to Manchester United) with AC Milan beating Juventus in a penalty shootout following a goalless draw.
- 29 May – Andrew Gilligan broadcasts a report on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme stating that the government claimed in its dossier that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes knowing the claim to be dubious. A political storm ensues. Gilligan's source is David Kelly, a weapons expert.
- 13 June
- 15 June – The News of the World publishes an article in which Ian Huntley is photographed in his cell at Woodhill Prison. An undercover reporter had got a job in the prison and was being employed as Huntley's guard.
- 24 June
- 26 June – The latest MORI poll puts Labour and Conservative parties on even terms at 35%.
- 2 July – Chelsea F.C. are bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for £150million from current chairman Ken Bates, 21 years after he bought the club for £1.
- 15 July – David Kelly appears before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee to answer questions over the information he had given to Andrew Gilligan.
- 18 July – David Kelly is found dead near his home in Oxfordshire — police suspect that he committed suicide.
- 20 July – The BBC confirms that Dr David Kelly, found dead from suspected suicide two days ago, was the main source for a controversial report that sparked a deep rift with the government.
- 1 August – The Hutton Inquiry into the recent death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly, chaired by judge Lord Hutton, opens.
- 3 August – Police use the taser for the first time.
- 10 August – Brogdale enters the UK Weather Records for the highest ever recorded temperature of 38.5 °C. The 2003 European heat wave makes this Britain's hottest summer for 13 years.
- 11 August – The Hutton Inquiry into the recent death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly, chaired by judge Lord Hutton, begins to take evidence.
- 4 September – The Bull Ring shopping centre in Birmingham is officially opened by Sir Albert Bore.
- 18 September – Brent East by-election: Sarah Teather of the Liberal Democrats becomes MP for Brent East after 29 years of Labour control.
- 29 September – The comeback of Den Watts (played by Leslie Grantham) in EastEnders is screened, 14 years after the character was supposedly killed off, and just over four months after the BBC confirmed that Grantham would be returning to the series.
- 24 October – Supersonic aircraft Concorde makes its final commercial flights after 27 years.
- 29 October – Iain Duncan-Smith resigns after just over two years as leader of the Conservative Party.
- 4 November – Channel 4's soap opera Brookside, on air since the station was launched, finishes after 21 years.
- 8 November – Sophie, Countess of Wessex gives birth to her and Prince Edward's first child, a baby girl.
- 16 November – David Davis, the new Shadow Home Secretary, calls for a return of the death penalty for murderers found guilty of the most horrific murders; citing Moors Murderer Ian Brady and Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe as criminals whose crimes would meet the criteria.
- 18 November
- United States President George W. Bush makes a state visit to London in the midst of massive protests.
- Passage of the Local Government Act 2003 including the repeal in England, Northern Ireland and Wales of controversial Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 which prevented local authorities from "promoting homosexuality". Section 28 had already been repealed in Scotland in 2000.
- 20 November – Several bombs explode in Istanbul, Turkey at several British targets. The Turkish head office of HSBC and the British consulate are destroyed, and the British Consul-General, Roger Short is killed.
- 22 November – England are rugby world champions after defeating Australia 20-17 after extra time.
- 24 November – The High Court in Glasgow imposes a minimum sentence of 27 years for Al Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
- 26 November – The final Concorde to fly touches down for the last time in Filton, Bristol where it was welcomed by the Duke of York.
- 9 December – The M6 Toll motorway opens, giving the United Kingdom its first toll motorway and providing a northern by-pass for the congested section of the M6 motorway through the West Midlands conurbation. 
- 10 December
- Clive Granger wins the Nobel Prize in Economics jointly with Robert F. Engle "for methods of analyzing economic time series with common trends (cointegration)".
- Anthony J. Leggett wins the Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov and Vitaly Ginzburg "for pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluids".
- Peter Mansfield wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Paul Lauterbur "for their discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging".
- The Court of Appeal overturns two murder convictions against 40-year-old Wiltshire woman Angela Cannings, who was wrongly convicted of murdering her two baby sons in April last year. Mrs Cannings, who has a surviving daughter, always maintained that her sons were both victims of sudden infant death syndrome.
- The official inflation target measure is changed to the Consumer Price Index figure from RPIX.
- 12 December – Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones receives a knighthood from Charles, Prince of Wales.
- 16 December – The Government announces plans to build a new runway at Stansted Airport in Essex and a short-haul runway at Heathrow Airport sparking anger from environmental groups.
- 17 December
- Ian Huntley is found guilty of the Soham Murders and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey. A High Court judge will later decide on the minimum number of the years that he will have to serve before being considered for parole. His ex-girlfriend Maxine Carr is found guilty of perverting the course of justice and receives a jail term of three-and-a-half years, but she will be freed on licence (under a new identity to protect her from reprisal attacks) in May 2004 as she has already served 16 months on remand. Home Secretary David Blunkett orders an inquiry into how the police vetting system failed to prevent Huntley from getting a job in a school after it is revealed at the end of his trial that he had been suspected in the past of crimes including underage sex, rape, indecent assault and burglary.
- Sales of the DVD home video format take the largest share of the UK home video market for the first time. The format, which was first launched in the UK in June 1998, accounted for more than 70% of home video sales this year, as the VHS format's popularity falls and many new titles are not released on it.
- New car sales reach a record high this year of nearly 2.6 million, with the Ford Focus enjoying its fifth successive year as Britain's most popular new car. BMW sales also reach a record high, with the BMW 3 Series managing well over 60,000 sales as Britain's ninth best selling car. Sales of Vauxhall, Peugeot, Renault and Volkswagen cars remain strong as well, while Nissan also enjoys a rise in sales largely due to the popularity of its new version of the Micra.
- Iain Banks' book Raw Spirit.
- Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
- Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels The Wee Free Men and Monstrous Regiment.
- J. K. Rowling's novel Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
- Lynne Truss's punctuation guide Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
- 2 March – Eloise Taylor, second daughter of Lady Helen Taylor and Timothy Taylor
- 12 May – Madeleine McCann, abductee
- 18 July – Lucy Hutchinson, actress
- 25 September - Alexander Aze, actor
- 8 November – Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of The Earl and Countess of Wessex
Full date unknown
- 5 January – Roy Jenkins, former Labour government minister and later founder member and the first leader of the now defunct Social Democratic Party (born 1920)
- 8 January – Ron Goodwin, composer (born 1925)
- 12 January – Maurice Gibb, musician and singer-songwriter (born 1949); died in the United States of America
- 26 January – Hugh Trevor-Roper, historian (born 1914)
- 26 January – George Younger, 4th Viscount Younger of Leckie, politician (born 1931)
- 14 February – Dolly the Sheep, cloned sheep (born 1996)
- 27 February – John Lanchbery, composer (born 1923)
- 8 March – Adam Faith, actor and singer (born 1940)
- 22 March – Terry Lloyd, ITN television journalist (born 1952); killed in Iraq
- 11 April – Cecil Howard Green, geophysicist and businessman (born 1900)
- 14 May – Dame Wendy Hiller, actress (born 1912)
- 10 June – Bernard Williams, philosopher (born 1929)
- 26 June
- 1 July – George Roper, comedian (born 1934)
- 10 July
- 17 July – Dr. David Kelly, government weapons expert (born 1944); suspected suicide
- 25 July – John Schlesinger, film director (born 1926)
- 27 July – Bob Hope, comedian (born 1902)
- 9 August
- 1 September – Terry Frost, artist (born 1915)
- 26 September – Robert Palmer, singer (born 1949)
- 5 October – Denis Quilley, actor (born 1927)
- 4 November – Richard Wollheim, philosopher (born 1923)
- 2 December – Alan Davidson (born 1924)
- 27 December – Alan Bates, actor (born 1934)
- 29 December
- "Killer driver's 89 convictions". BBC News. 10 January 2003. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
- "2003: Solicitor cleared of killing sons". BBC News. 29 January 2003. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "2003: 'Shoe bomber' jailed for life". BBC News. 30 January 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "Driver who killed girl after life ban is jailed for nine years". The Independent (London). 31 January 2003.
- Williams, Hywel (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 653–656. ISBN 0-304-35730-8.
- "Charles Clarke Welcomes Margaret Hodge as Minister for Children" (Press release). Department for Children, Schools and Families. 13 June 2003. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
- "Matches Played 13 June 2003". Cricinfo. 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- Penguin Pocket on This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- "Poll tracker". BBC. 2010. Archived from the original on 1 February 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
- "Russian businessman buys Chelsea". BBC News. 2 July 2003. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- "2003: Missing Iraq expert – body found". BBC News. 18 July 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "BBC admits Kelly was 'main source'". BBC News. 20 July 2003. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
- "Hutton inquiry begins". BBC News. 1 August 2003. Retrieved 6 January 2008.
- "2003: Britain swelters in record heat". BBC News. 10 August 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- McGuinness, Ross (16 March 2009). "Metro". p. 30.
- "2003: End of an era for Concorde". BBC News. 24 October 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "2003: Tory Party leader resigns". BBC News. 29 October 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "2003: Royal baby born prematurely". BBC News. 8 November 2003. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
- "Tories' Davis backs death penalty". BBC News. 16 November 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- "2003: High security as Bush visits UK". BBC News. 18 November 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "2003: British targets bombed in Istanbul". BBC News. 20 November 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "2003: England win Rugby World Cup". BBC News. 22 November 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2003". Retrieved 27 January 2008.
- "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2003". Retrieved 27 January 2008.
- "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2003". Retrieved 27 January 2008.
- "2003: Mother cleared of murdering babies". BBC News. 10 December 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "Finding CPR/HICP Date". Office for National Statistics. 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "2003: Ian Huntley guilty of Soham murders". BBC News. 17 December 2003. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- "Blunkett launches Huntley inquiry". BBC News. 17 December 2003. Retrieved 18 March 2009.