Portrait of the week
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.’
Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, had sworn at senior aides and ‘roughly shoved aside’ an adviser and hit a car seat, according to an extract in the Observer from a forthcoming book by Mr Andrew Rawnsley.
UK Financial Investments, which oversees the British government’s stake in RBS, Lloyds and Northern Rock, said it might be 2015 before taxpayers got back the £40 billion used to prop up failing banks.
Three Labour MPs, Mr Elliot Morley, Mr David Chaytor and Mr Jim Devine, and a Conservative peer, Lord Hanningfield, were charged with false accounting under section 17 of the Theft Act 1968 with regard to claims for parliamentary expenses.
Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, said MPs would vote next week on whether a referendum should be held to allow an alternative-vote system in general elections after the next one.
Britain technically emerged from recession, with economic growth of 0.1 per cent in the last quarter of 2009, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, although these might be revised in a month’s time.
British people donated £23 million through the charities’ Disasters Emergency Committee to help the people of Haiti within six days of the earthquake there; the British government also gave £20 million.
A failed attempt by Mr Geoff Hoon and Miss Patricia Hewitt to provoke a ballot on the Labour leadership was not mentioned at the next meeting of the Cabinet meeting, Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister said.
Mr Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, called a meeting in London on Yemen at the end of the month after al-Qa’eda claimed that it was responsible for the attempted destruction of an airliner approaching Detroit on Christmas Day.
Mr Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his pre-Budget statement, made hostile gestures at bonus-earning bankers to distract attention from the borrowings of £178 billion that Britain will have to make this year.