Portrait of the week
Mr David Cameron, the Prime Minister, got no further than Buckingham-shire on his summer holiday before Mr Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, cast doubts on replacing Trident.
Mrs Anne Milton, the Health Minister, tried to abolish free milk for children under five in nurseries, as it costs £50 million a year and ‘there is no evidence that it improves the health of very young children’, but Downing Street said that Mr David Cameron, the Prime Minister ‘did not like the idea’, so it would not go ahead.
Mr David Cameron, the Prime Minister, and Mr Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, rather oddly wrote a letter to the rest of the Cabinet.
Mr David Cameron, the Prime Minister, visited India, and on the way said he was ‘angry’ that negotiations for Turkey to join the European Union were so slow.
In a speech in Liverpool intended to relaunch his theme of the Big Society, as a ‘big advance for people power’, Mr David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that, as part of a scheme to ‘turn government completely on its head’, four community schemes were being set up in Liverpool (a museum project); the Eden Valley, Westmorland (a pub); Windsor (parks); and the London borough of Sutton (youth and green projects).
General practitioners, operating in consortia under an independent commissioning board, are to take charge of 70 per cent of the National Health Service budget by 2013, with the abolition of all England’s ten strategic health authorities and the 152 primary care trusts, according to a White Paper.
The coalition government contemplated legislation to reduce Civil Service lay-off payments in prospect of large redundancies.
The government’s committee on public expenditure, otherwise known as Pex or the Star Chamber, gave departments a month to come up with spending cuts of up to 33 per cent.
In the Budget, Mr George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that the balance of cuts to tax rises would be 77 per cent to 23 per cent.
The Office for Budget Responsibil-ity (OBR) forecast that gross domestic product would grow by 2.6 per cent in 2011, compared with the 3.25 per cent predicted by the previous government.
Mr David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said in a speech that ‘in five years’ time the interest we are paying on our debt is predicted to be ‘around £70 billion’; this meant that of ‘every single pound you pay in tax, ten pence would be spent on interest’.
Mr David Laws resigned as Chief Secretary to the Treasury after it was revealed that he had used parliamentary allowances to pay £40,000 rent over five years for a room in the house of a man with whom he had long had a sexual relationship.
In her 58th speech at the state opening of Parliament, the Queen said: ‘My government’s legislative programme will be based upon the principles of freedom, fairness and responsibility.’
George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said he would hold an emergency Budget on 22 June.
Five days after the general election, Mr David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative party, accepted the Queen’s request to form an administration and kissed hands upon his appointment as Prime Minister, the 12th of her reign, and at 43, the youngest since Lord Liverpool.
The country voted in a general election and local elections.
On the eve of the third television debate by the leaders of Britain’s three main parties, on the subject of the economy, the Institute for Fiscal Studies published a report on the size of the spending cuts and tax rises needed and criticised the parties for failing to set out how they would achieve them.
Some 150,000 British travellers were stranded when the National Air Traffic Services stopped all flights from 15 April because of a cloud of fine volcanic ash drifting from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.
Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, sent the Foreign Secretary to a nuclear security summit in Washington, so that he could launch the Labour party manifesto in an empty hospital in Birmingham.
The Queen agreed to a request from Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, to dissolve Parliament so that a general election might be held on 6 May.
Mr Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr George Osborne, the shadow Chancellor, and Mr Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, held a debate on television.
Mr Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, sought in the Budget to give some credibility to the government’s plans to tackle the national deficit.
A European Commission report warned that Britain would not meet the 2014-2015 deadline for reducing the budget deficit to below 3 per cent of domestic output.
Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, appeared before the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war and denied that as Chancellor of the Exchequer he had harmfully squeezed defence budgets.
The Conservatives made their election slogan ‘Vote for change’, and Mr David Cameron made their flesh creep in a speech at a conference at Brighton concluding: ‘I want you to think of the incredible dark depression of another five years of Gordon Brown.’