The cost of an annual season ticket from Cheltenham to London rose to £9,800. Oil fell below $30 a barrel, compared with more than $100 in January 2014. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that once his negotiations with the EU were done, ministers could campaign for either side in the referendum on Britain’s continued membership. Junior doctors went on strike for 24 hours. In Germany, women protested in the street after gangs of men of Arab or North African appearance assaulted dozens of women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. David Bowie died two days after releasing an album, Blackstar, on his 69th birthday.
The World Health Organisation declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency. Junior doctors went on strike for another day. Boris Johnson came out in favour of leaving the EU. King Abdullah said that Jordan, with 1.4 million refugees from Syria, needed help. About 110,000 migrants crossed the sea to Europe in the first six weeks of the year. Senator John McCain said that President Vladimir Putin of Russia ‘wants to exacerbate the refugee crisis and use it as a weapon to divide the transatlantic alliance and undermine the European project’. The Pope met Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Havana. Saudi-led coalition forces fought Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Metropolitan Police closed Operation Midland, an investigation since 2014 into alleged child abuse by prominent people, after no evidence was found. The Liberal Democrats embraced legalisation of cannabis. Michael Gove and Gisela Stuart jointly headed the Vote Leave campaign. Iain Duncan Smith resigned as Work and Pensions Secretary two days after the Budget. Tata, the Indian conglomerate, decided to sell its steel business in Britain. President Putin said he was withdrawing the ‘main part’ of Russian forces in Syria. The EU promised Turkey €3 billion for accepting back illegal migrants. A bomb in Ankara killed 37 people. A wild puma broke into Los Angeles zoo and ate a koala.
David Cameron published a summary of his taxable income of £200,307. Jeremy Corbyn published a return showing £72,645 income, but forgot his state pension. George Osborne, the Chancellor, said that if Britain left the EU, households would be £4,300 a year worse off. British Home Stores went bust with a pension scheme deficit of £571 million. Junior doctors went on strike for two days. The Pope joined the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of the Eastern Orthodox Church on Lesbos, where 3,000 migrants were held. Turkey told Germany to prosecute a satirist who read a rude poem on television about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a goat.
Leicester City won the football Premier League after starting the season as 5,000-1 outsiders. The captain of England, Alastair Cook, aged 31, became the youngest player to score 10,000 Test runs. Sadiq Khan beat Zac Goldsmith to become mayor of London. David Cameron warned of war if Britain left the EU. Hundreds of people were killed in Aleppo, 55 of them in an airstrike on a hospital. About 700 migrants drowned in three days in shipwrecks off the Libyan coast. Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte was elected President of the Philippines. Venezuela put the clocks forward half an hour to save electricity.
David Cameron, standing in the middle of Downing Street with only his wife near him, announced his resignation after the referendum favoured leaving the EU by 17,410,742 votes to 16,141,241. Before the vote, Jo Cox, a Labour MP, was fatally shot and stabbed. Lady Gaga met the Dalai Lama. The Parliamentary Labour Party passed a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn by 172 votes to 40; 23 of the 31-strong shadow cabinet resigned. Muhammad Ali, the much-admired boxer, died aged 74. A man fell into a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park and was boiled to death.
Theresa May became Prime Minister and Tory leader, and said: ‘Brexit means Brexit.’ Boris Johnson was made Foreign Secretary; Michael Gove was sacked as Justice Secretary. Nigel Farage resigned as Ukip leader, and Douglas Carswell MP tweeted a smiley face. Larry the Downing Street cat decided to stay at No. 10. Sir John Chilcot published his report, seven years in the making, into the invasion of Iraq. A Tunisian-Frenchman drove a lorry through a crowd in Nice on Bastille day, killing 84. Fr Jacques Hamel, 85, had his throat cut during Mass in Rouen, by two men supporting the Islamic State. A coup in Turkey failed and was followed by mass arrests and dismissals. In Java, 12 people died of thirst in a traffic jam.
Many of Russia’s athletes were banned from the Rio Olympics because of drug-testing irregularities. Britain came second in the medal tables. Jeremy Corbyn was filmed sitting on the floor of a railway carriage saying: ‘This train is completely ram-packed.’ He continued his journey in a seat. Dame Lowell Goddard resigned as head of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. A Chinese tourist spent a fortnight in a German migrant hostel after his report of a theft was mistaken for an asylum application. The mayor of Cannes banned burkinis from beaches; the ban was declared illegal. An earthquake in central Italy killed 297. Dilma Rousseff was removed from office as President of Brazil.
Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected Labour leader. Keith Vaz, the Labour MP, resigned as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee after reports of entertaining a couple of rent boys at a flat. Anjem Choudary was jailed for five-and- a-half years for inviting support for the Islamic State. French authorities dismantled a makeshift camp of 2,000 migrants in Paris. An American-led air strike killed at least 60 Syrian troops; 18 lorries with UN aid were destroyed near Aleppo by a Syrian or Russian air strike. Mother Teresa of Calcutta was canonised. A 17-year-old became the first minor to apply successfully to be killed under Belgian euthanasia laws.
Mrs May said Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty would be invoked by next March. The pound fell. Diane James resigned as leader of Ukip after 18 days. Jeremy Corbyn made Diane Abbott shadow home secretary. Donald Trump was heard, on a tape from 2005, making lewd remarks about grabbing women. Aleppo was bombed by Russia and the Syrian government. The French dismantled the Jungle camp at Calais. In one day, 6,055 migrants were rescued from the sea off Libya. Earthquakes in Italy destroyed the basilica of St Benedict in Norcia. The Nobel prize for literature went to Bob Dylan.
Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, surprising the world. In Britain, the High Court ruled that Parliament must decide on invoking Article 50 to set Brexit in train. Keith Vaz was elected to the Commons Justice Select Committee. About 9,000 users of Tesco Bank had money stolen. Dementia overtook heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales. Junior doctors withdrew a threat of further strikes.
Italy voted No in a referendum on constitutional change, and the prime minister, Matteo Renzi, resigned. Sarah Olney for the Lib Dems beat Zac Goldsmith to win the Richmond Park byelection, which had become a vote on Brexit. In re-run presidential elections, Austria rejected Norbert Hofer, of the right-wing Freedom party, in favour of Alexander Van der Bellen, the former leader of the Greens. Syrian government forces took areas of east Aleppo, and thousands of civilians in terrible circumstances fled. Iraqi forces fought to regain Mosul from the Islamic State. China complained after President-elect Donald Trump spoke on the telephone to the leader of Taiwan. Some vegetarians refused the plastic £5 note because it contained tallow. CSH