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United Kingdom

Yearbook 1999

UK. Liberal Democrat Paddy Ashdown announced in January that he plans to step down this summer from the post of leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. Ashdown was elected in 1988, when the party was named The Social and Liberal Democrats, and resigned after 11 successful years as party leader. He created a new Liberal Democratic profile and won many new voters even though the party is the third largest party in the UK, with little influence in the British bipartisan system. According to Countryaah official website, Paddy Ashdown was succeeded by 39-year-old Charles Kennedy.

1999 United Kingdom

In January, the counting of an 800-year-old institution also began. The Labor government presented a model for how the upper house, the House of Lords, should be modernized and announced the abolition of the British nobility's ancient inheritance right to representation in the upper house. 92 inheritance lords may remain for a further time in an interim chamber, pending a commission to submit its proposal for a definitive reform of the House of Lords. The 24 bishops of the Church of England are allowed to remain in the upper house, as are the 12 lords.

1999 United KingdomA report on the police investigation into the murder of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence in London in April 1993 caused major headlines in February. The so-called Macpherson report, which is based on interviews with 88 witnesses, found that police investigators made serious mistakes during the murder investigation due to professional incompetence, institutionalized racism and poor leadership within the London police.

The Labor government decided that the investigator Sir William MacPherson's 70 proposals for measures to eradicate racism in the police system should also be applied to the state administration, immigration authorities and the general public health service in the UK.

On February 23, Prime Minister Tony Blair presented a plan for how the British pound may eventually be replaced by the European currency. However, Blair argued that the new plan only meant a slightly higher pace in Britain's approach to the EU, not a new European policy. A government decision on accession to the euro still requires approval in a referendum. The new plan, "The Changeover Plan", describes the practical adjustment that must be made in order for the UK to be able to quickly join after a referendum.

Three new terrorist attacks put Britain on alert in April. Three large nail bombs first exploded in black Brixton, then on the Muslim street Brick Lane and finally in a gay pub in Soho's entertainment district. Three people were killed and a total of more than 100 people were injured, several very seriously, before any suspects were arrested.

Two historic elections took place on May 5 in Scotland and Wales. Scots and Welshmen then elected members to the new local parliaments who began to work after the elections. The last Scottish Parliament was dissolved in 1707 when Scotland and England formed the Union. The last Parliament assembled in Wales was 1495. The Labor Party won great successes in the elections to the two newly formed parliaments, but failed to win a majority. Labor formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democratic Party in Scotland, but chose to form a minority government in Wales.

On the same day, the Conservative Party won success in the municipal elections and managed to win back many municipal constituencies. The European elections were also unexpectedly a great success for the Tory Party, which became the largest British party in the European Parliament.

A serious conflict broke out between the UK and France in the fall when the French refused to lift the import ban on British beef despite the EU's declaration that the mad cow disease was eradicated from British farms. The conflict became increasingly bitter during the autumn and was not resolved by the end of the year.

The United Kingdom also clashed with the other EU countries in November when the Labor government refused to accept the EU's decision to impose a 20% tax on capital income.

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