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tv   Review 2021  BBC News  December 27, 2021 8:30pm-9:01pm GMT

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before the new year, although the uk government urges everyone to act cautiously. a sharp rise in the the number of coronavirus cases in scotland — the highest yet, as new restrictions in bars and restaurants come into force. as covid cases increase rapidly in france, homeworking will become mandatory for at least three days per week where possible. in new york, children aged 12 and over have to be fully vaccinated to go into restaurants and leisure facilities, as infections rise in the city. remembering archbishop desmond tutu. south africa has begun a week of events to commemorate the anti—apartheid leader, who died on sunday. now on bbc news — review 2021, the year in politics.
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from the battle against the coronavirus pandemic to the fight to slow climate change, and including some of the political controversies of the year. our political correspondent, helen catt, looks at the stories behind the headlines. three, two, one! big ben chimes. 2021 was another extraordinary year in politics. the uk stopped following eu trading rules. the biggest vaccination programme the country has ever seen was rolled out. but we all spent months in lockdown while it happened. events in afghanistan tested british foreign policy. have you lied to the public, prime minister? at home, accusations of sleaze and rule—breaking tested boris johnson's authority.
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disrupt this meeting. a woman named jackie weaver shot to fame for exerting hers. you have no authority here, jackie weaver, no authority at all. 2021 started fresh off the back of a christmas that had been cancelled, virtually at the last minute, for millions of people. nobody quite knew what the new year would bring. apart from one thing. one hour before the end of 2020, midnight in europe, the brexit transition period came to an end. the uk's relationship with the eu was now governed by the terms of a deal finally reached just a week earlier on christmas eve. this is an amazing moment for this country. we have our freedom in our hands. and it is up to us to make the most of it. the deal allowed trade to continue, tariff—free, but there were problems.
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a row would develop over fishing licences, causing a rift between the uk and france. problems soon emerged with the arrangements for northern ireland. there were supply issues in supermarkets and suggestions that both the eu and the uk could trigger a clause that would rip up the agreement. a solution still hadn't been found by the end of the year when it became liz truss�*s problem, after lord frost, who had been leading the negotiations for the uk, quit the government. we have never disagreed in any way about brexit policy, about brexit policy. right up to the last, day we've been absolutely aligned on that. and liz truss and chris heaton harris, i'm sure, are going to do a greatjob. i left the government because, as i think is well—known, i couldn't support certain policies, most recently on the covid restrictions and plan b. dealing with covid dominated 2021. january had brought another full lockdown which lasted until march in england, with many restrictions in place untiljuly, and even beyond then in scotland,
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wales and northern ireland. across the country, a massive effort continued to get everyone over 50 vaccinated by the spring. meanwhile in cheshire... you have no authority here, jackie weaver. will you please let the chairman... a tense virtual meeting of handforth parish council went, well, viral. you have no authority here, jackie weaver. no authority at all. in february, borisjohnson got a hard time over soft furnishings. it emerged a tory donor had initially covered the costs of a pricey refurbishment of his flat in downing street before the prime minister himself paid. the independent advisor on ministers�* interests lord geidt investigated. he said borisjohnson had acted unwisely but he hadn't broken unwisely, but he hadn't broken the ministerial code. the issue would return, though, late in the year. wallpaper—gate, as it became known, was among the first of a series of stories that snowballed over the course of 2021 to take
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in donations, lobbying, how political influence is acquired. the opposition soon had a name for it — sleaze. a former prime minister, david cameron, found himself at the centre of a row about lobbying after he whatsapped ministers on behalf of his new employer, greensill capital. this is a painful day. nothing i did was in breach of the rules, but on the wider test of what is appropriate, as i've said previously, it would be better to use only the most formal means of contact, via a letter. scottish politics was transfixed by a bitter row between two snp first ministers, nicola sturgeon and her predecessor, alex salmond. mr salmond accused his former protege of breaking the ministerial code in how she handled allegations against him, but she was cleared by the independent advisor. a new political force, the alba party... mr salmond set up a new party, but it failed to win a single seat in may's elections. while the uk stayed under covid restrictions, elections were held
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notjust in scotland, but in wales and across many parts of england. this guy looks like... the tories soared to victory in a by—election in the traditionally labour—held seat of hartlepool. it's a mandate for us to continue to deliver, not just for the people of hartlepool, notjust the people of the north east, but across the whole of the country. i take full responsibility for the result, and i will take full responsibility for fixing things. we have changed as a party, but we haven't set out a strong enough case to the country. brighter news for the party in west yorkshire, where tracy brabin was elected mayor. two months later, kim leadbeater won her batley and spen seat previously held by her own sister, jo cox. the conservatives won mayoral races in tees the valley and the west midlands.
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but injune, the lib dems inflicted a shock defeat in what had become known as the tories's blue wall — see what they did there — in the chesham and amersham by—election. this wasn't another lib dem by—election victory, it was our best ever and on the swing we achieved, dozens of conservative seats would fall of the liberal democrats in the next election. in scottish parliament elections, the snp emerged as the big winners with what they saw as a fresh mandate for a new referendum. we won the election on a commitment for a referendum when we're through the crisis. we won the election overwhelmingly, and in any normal democracy, that would be respected. in wales, labour remained in charge, agreeing a co—operation deal with plaid cymru. a great pleasure to have the opportunity to sign l formally the agreement i between our two parties. as northern ireland celebrated its centenary year, arlene foster stepped down as the leader of the dup.
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did you face a motion of no confidence? are you still the leader? her successor edwin poots lasted just 21 days. then the mp sirjeffrey donaldson took over. in may, dominic cummings, who quit as a number ten aide in late 2020, made an explosive return to the headlines. in a marathon session at a parliamentary committee looking into the pandemic, the prime minister's former advisor accused his old boss of a list of serious failures. he described it as the new swine flu. did you tell him it wasn't? certainly, but the view of various officials inside number 10 was that if we have the prime minister chairing cobra meetings and hejust tells everyone it is swine flu, "don't worry, i'll have chris whitty "going on tv with coronavirus..." the government rhetoric was putting a shield around care homes, it was complete nonsense. quite the opposite, we sent people with covid back to the care homes.
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did you hear him say, "let the bodies pile high "in their thousands" or "it's only killing 80—year—olds"? i heard that in the prime minister's study. downing street categorically denied that he had said let the bodies pile high and said that they tried to minimise a loss of life. injune, there was a chance to cool off. the prime minister hosted leaders of the g7 nations at a summit in cornwall, meeting the new us president in person for the first time. i felt it wasn't about me, it was about america. i felt a genuine sense of enthusiasm, that america was back at the table and fully, fully engaged. back in westminster, a good old—fashioned tabloid scoop by the sun was about to bring the career of one of the government's most prominent cabinet ministers to a swift end. the health secretary matt hancock was pictured kissing his aide, gina coladangelo, in his office, breaking social distancing rules.
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i understand the enormous sacrifices that everybody in this country has made, that you have made, and those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them. and that's why i've got to resign. he was replaced by sajid javid the next day. five, four, three, two, one... by the end ofjuly, england had lifted all remaining covid restrictions, and the vaccination programme had offered a jab to all adults in the uk. in scotland, northern ireland and wales, some measures stayed in place. is everybody happy? injuly, guess who was back in the spotlight, giving an extraordinary interview to laura kuenssberg. of course when this emerged, though, and the public realised that one of the most senior people in government had left lockdown at a time when people were unable to go and see sick relatives, there was enormous public rage.
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why didn't you just tell the truth at the time? everything i said in the rose garden was true. but it wasn't the whole truth, not near it. everything i said was true, but i didn't go into all of the security concerns and the background, no. it was a very different story, mr cummings, a very different story. you and borisjohnson decided it was better to give the public, who many of whom were absolutely furious with what you'd done, you decided together it was better to give the public a story that was not the 100% truth, than to keep silent or even for you to resign. that would have made it go away. i think there's absolutely no doubt that the way we handled the whole thing was wrong on the monday. while westminster was on its summer recess, a rapidly developing
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situation abroad put the government to the test. the taliban advanced after the us and its allies decided to pull out. there was a scramble to flee. an operation began that would successfully evacuate more than 15,000 people out of afghanistan, 0peration pitting than 15,000 people out of afghanistan. 0peration pitting was the raf�*s largest airlift for more than 70 years. some people won't get back, and we will have to do our best in third countries to process those people. questions soon surfaced about why the foreign secretary had stayed on holiday after kabul fell. first of all, with hindsight, i wouldn't have gone away at all. the idea that i was lounging on a beach or that i was paddle boarding in the ocean, these things are nonsense. the sea wasn't open because there was a red flag. so, no—one was paddle—boarding. prime minister, have -
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you let down afghanistan? for many, the fact that 20 years in afghanistan had ended like this was a source of deep regret. when one former soldier spoke in a recalled commons, you could almost hear a pin drop. like many veterans, the last week has been one that has seen me struggle through anger and grief, and rage. the feeling of abandonment, notjust of a country, but the sacrifice that my friends made. i've been to funerals from cornwall to dunblane. i've watched good men go into the earth. taking with them a part of me and a part of all of us. mr speaker, this is what defeat looks like. it's when you no longer have the choice as to how to help. this doesn't need to be defeat. but at the moment, it damn well feels like it. applause. as autumn approached,
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life was feeling a bit more normal. some of the special financial schemes set up for the pandemic, such as furlough and the £20 uplift universal credit, came to an end. to clear the backlog in the nhs, the government broke a promise in its manifesto and put up national insurance by 1.25%. some of the money would also go to fund social care. in order to deal with the problems of the nhs, the backlogs, you also have to fix social care. we are taking the tough decisions that the country wants to see. we are putting another £36 billion in. the plan for social care was the first attempt by a government in decades to tackle the issue of social care funding. it was criticised as being unfair on people in less well—off areas. just the latest on the government reshuffle which is under way. the education secretary gavin williamson has lost his job. in mid—september, it was all change at the cabinet table. are you expecting a promotion?
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the big winner was liz truss, now the foreign secretary. dominic raab was moved to justice, with the consolation prize of being made deputy prime minister. are you happy? have you been demoted? as politicians headed off to their conferences, drivers found themselves going, well, nowhere. fuel supply issues led to panic buying and lengthy queues at petrol stations. in brighton, labour gathered for its first in—person conference under its new leader. he was determined to show the party was changing, right here, right now. i've waited 17 months, 25 days and two hours to appear in front of you in this hall as leader of our great party. not everyone was happy, though. shouting slogans or changing
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lives, conference? do you stand by your remarks? the deputy leader caused controversy when she used the word "scum" to describe conservative ministers. she stood by it at the time, but apologised unreservedly a month later. in manchester, borisjohnson used his conference speech to buoy up supporters. after decades of drift and dither, this reforming government, this can—do government, the government that got brexit done, that is getting the covid vaccine roll—out done, is going to get social care done. the green party got new co—leaders at their conference. across the country, concern was growing about rising energy prices and the cost of living. and then... tonight, the conservative mp sir david amess has died after being stabbed during a constituency surgery in essex. forensics teams and firearms . officers at the methodist church, where the local mp had been l holding his fortnightly surgery.
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sir david amess's meetingj with constituents had been from 10am until 1pm, butjust after middayl he was stabbed multiple times. he was so nice. loved everyone. to be part of this occasion, to show... how much he was thought of. such a tragedy for the town, it really is. westminster was in shock as it mourned one of its own. sir david was not the only mp who died in office this year. dame cheryl gillan passed away after a long illness. james brokenshire passed away after the return of his lung cancer. the end of the month saw the prime minister in rome for the g20. hearing no objections, it is so decided. followed immediately by the long—anticipated
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cop26 climate in glasgow. after a major diplomatic effort by the uk, an agreement was reached, but it didn't go as far as had been hoped. i'm deeply sorry. i also understand the deep disappointment, but i think as you have noted, it's also vital that we protect this package. applause. meanwhile in westminster, a political storm had been brewing. parliament's standards committee said a tory mp had egregiously broken lobbying rules and recommended a 30—day suspension. the mp 0wen paterson denied all wrongdoing. downing street told tory mps to vote to pause the punishment and try and change the disciplinary process. this is the famous straw that has broken the much—suffering, long—suffering camel's back.
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if the public believe we are marking our own homework, our reputation individually and collectively will be tarnished. the government was forced into a screeching u—turn. i regret that the amendment conflated an individual case with more general concerns, which was a mistake. more than that, said a former prime minister. the attempt by members of this house, aided and abetted by the government, under cover of reform of the process, effectively to clear his name, was misplaced, ill—judged and just plain wrong. 0wen paterson quit the commons, triggering a by—election. more on that later. but the damage was done, other mps' outside jobs came under the microscope. former attorney—general geoffrey cox was criticised for using special covid rules to vote from the british virgin islands where he was working as a barrister. he said he had checked it was within the rules and appropriate. later in the month, borisjohnson gave a speech in which he...
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forgive me. oh, yes, slightly baffled business leaders by talking about a cartoon pig. forgive me. hands up anyone who has been to peppa pig world. not enough! which led some people to wonder... is everything 0k? i think that people got the vast majority of the points i wanted to make. i thought it went over well. it was the month that the government cancelled the leeds to birmingham leg of hs2, and a tragedy in the channel put ministers under pressure for an issue it had failed to solve through 2021. record numbers of migrants crossed into the uk from france in small boats this year. more than 23,000 by november. on one day late that month, at least 27 people drowned when their dinghy deflated off the french coast. what happened yesterday
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was a dreadful shock. it was not a surprise, but it is also a reminder of how vulnerable people are put in peril when in the hands of criminal gangs. a few days later, priti patel had a new opposite number to keep the pressure on, when yvette cooper was made shadow home secretary. sir keir starmer had a second go at reshuffling his shadow cabinet, although it looked like he might not have involved his deputy. oh, yes, the reshuffle, how could i forget? look, i don't know the details of any reshuffle. i've been concentrating on the job i'm doing. then a coronavirus mutation showed the pandemic was far from over. i need to speak to you this evening because i'm afraid we are now facing an emergency in our battle with the new variant, 0micron. and we must urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection to keep our friends and loved ones safe. earlier today, the uk's four chief medical officers raised the covid
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alert level to four, its second—highest level. a massive programme of booster jabs was rolled out, and england was to move to plan b measures, including covid passes for some venues. when that was put to the commons, around 100 tory mps rebelled. the ayes to the right, 369, the noes to the left, 126. all: ooh! in scotland, the first minister urged everyone to cut back on socialising. in the run—up to and in the aftermath of christmas, i'm asking, i am appealing to everyone to cut down as far as possible our contacts with people in other households. my key request to all of you today is, as far as you can, please minimise your indoor social interactions with other households at this time. large hogmanay celebrations
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were cancelled for a second year after she brought in new restrictions. wales too announced it would close nightclubs and reintroduce some restrictions from boxing day. as the festive season arrived in downing street, the new virus strain wasn't the only unwanted gift. the downing street flat refurbishment made a return. the electoral commission fined the conservative party nearly £18,000 for failing to properly declare the initial donation. events from last christmas were about to cause an almighty hangover, too, with allegations of covid rule—breaking parties and quizzes. the prime minister said no rules were broken. downing street said there was no party. then itv showed this. there was a downing street christmas party on friday? i do you recognise those reports? i went home. a mock press conference where the prime minister's then official spokesperson, allegra stratton and other aides appeared to joke about a party
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coincidentally on the same date. this fictional party was a business meeting. it was not socially distanced. miss stratton swiftly resigned. my remarks seemed to make light of the rules, rules that people were doing everything to obey. that was never my intention. i will regret those remarks for the rest of my days and i offer my profound apologies to all of you at home. claims of more potentially rule—breaking gatherings came out. i understand and share the anger in the country at seeing number ten staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures. and i can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules, mr speaker, because i was also furious to see that clip. the prime minister, the government,
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spent the week telling the british public there was no party, all guidance was followed completely. millions of people now think the prime minister was taking them for fools and that they were lied to. then voters got a say in 0wen paterson's north shropshire seat which had been tory for 200 years until... three, two, one! cheering. the lib dems took the seat by nearly 6,000 votes. from true blue buckinghamshire to shropshire, we've heard time and time again that people feel they are being taken for granted by borisjohnson and his government. and last night the win in north shropshire sent a clear and last night, the win in north shropshire sent a clear message that enough is enough. clearly, the vote in north shropshire is a very disappointing result, and i totally understand people's frustrations. i hear what the voters are saying in north shropshire. as 2021 drew to a close,
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boris johnson found himself having to prove to at least some in his party that he should keep hisjob. in a year in which he also got married and his wife carrie had had their second child together, a daughter. after the shock of 2020, this year did show a return to a bit more politics as normal, for the good and the not so good. the prime minister saw his authority tested in ways it hadn't been before, and of course the virus proved its ability to throw everything in the air again. which all points towards a new year which is no more certain than this one. hello there. we've had some big contrasts in the weather today — much of the time for england and wales has been rather grey with some low cloud, some mist and fog, outbreaks of rain and drizzle pretty widely as well.
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but it's not been like that everywhere. in scotland and northern ireland, in places, we have seen something a bit brighter with a few glimmers of sunshine. now, in the week ahead, the big headline is that the the weather now, in the week ahead, the big headline is that the weather is going to get exceptionally mild. the deeper the reds, the more extreme the heat. now, we're not talking about t—shirt weather, necessarily, however, thursday could see temperatures go as high as 17 celsius in norwich compared with the december average of eight. 17 actually isn't far off the uk all—time december temperature record, which currently stands at 18.7. back to the weather we're expecting overnight. well, there will be extensive cloud around, outbreaks of rain, particularly for england and wales, but some of that pushing into northern ireland and southern scotland. murky with some fog patches, particularly in scotland, where there will also be patches of frost, otherwise, a frost—free and mild night. quite a windy start to the day, then, for the coasts and hills of wales and southwest england, gusts of around 40—50 mph and rain pretty widely. the rain across eastern england will be reluctant to ease,
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but will become a little bit lighter and patchier, at least into the afternoon. becoming a bit brighter in western areas, but once we have lost the early morning mist and fog patches, it's scotland and northern ireland that will have the best chance of seeing some sunshine. for the middle part of the week, that's when we see this surge of south—westerly winds dragging up that exceptionally mild air. now, there will be weather fronts around, so for wednesday, we start off with rain pretty widely. the rain will become more confined to western areas, really, as the day goes by, and could see an occasional break in the cloud across eastern areas. but on the whole, it stays pretty cloudy. temperatures, though, will be coming well above average, ten in glasgow, above average, 13 in belfast — that's well above average — but 16 in london, that's getting pretty crazy, and if anything, those temperatures rise even further as we look at the forecast charts for thursday. again, heavy rain for wales, western areas of england, particularly coasts and hills and turning wet in northern ireland later in the day. but it's the temperatures that take centre stage, reaching highs up to 17 celsius into norwich.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. no new coronavirus restrictions will be introduced in england before the new year. but the health secretary says people should remain cautious and that the figures are being monitored. we'll watch the situation very carefully and should, in the future, we need to act, of course, we won't hesitate to do so. a sharp rise in the the number of coronavirus cases in scotland, the highest yet, as new restrictions in bars and restaurants come into force. as covid cases increase rapidly in france, home working will become mandatory for at least three days per week where possible. in new york, children aged 12 and over have to be fully vaccinated to go into restaurants and leisure facilities, as infections rise in the city.

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