2004 in the United Kingdom

2004 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 2004 in the United Kingdom.


* Monarch - HM Queen Elizabeth II
* Prime Minister - Tony Blair, Labour Party



* 1 January - Papers released under the Thirty Year Rule reveal that, contrary to what was believed at the time, Princess Margaret would not have lost her title nor Civil List payments had she married Group Captain Peter Townsend, a divorced War hero, in the 1950s.
* 3 January - The BBC cancels the appearance of Coca Cola sponsorship credits in the music charts in its BBC One "Top of the Pops" show, after criticism from politicians and health campaigners that it would be promoting junk food and unhealthy drink products to teenagers.
* 6 January
** The coroner's inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and her lover Dodi Al-Fayed is officially opened.
** The "Daily Mirror" publishes the blacked out portion of a letter wherein Diana, Princess of Wales alleged that someone was trying to kill her.
* 8 January - The "Queen Mary 2" is christened by Queen Elizabeth II.
* 13 January
** Robin Cook says that the British Museum's Parthenon Marbles must be returned to Greece.
** Serial killer Dr. Harold Shipman is found dead in his cell; suicide is suspected. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/13/newsid_4132000/4132769.stm|title="2004: Serial killer Shipman found hanged", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-02-13]
** The Bichard Inquiry into events preceding the Soham murders formally opens.
* 14 January - A 45-year old Sudanese man travelling from Washington Dulles International Airport to airport Dubai is arrested "en route" at London's Heathrow Airport on suspicion of carrying 5 bullets in his coat pocket.
* 19 January - The English Court of Appeal calls for an end to the prosecution of parents whose babies may have died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death) in cases where the only evidence is contended expert testimony.
* 27 January - Prime Minister Tony Blair narrowly defeats a rebellion in his own party over the Higher Education Bill - a highly controversial bill to reform higher education funding, including the introduction of increased and variable tuition fees - in the House of Commons by 316 votes to 311.
* 28 January - The Hutton Inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Dr. David Kelly is published. This is taken by most of the press to strongly condemn the BBC's handling of the David Kelly affair and to exonerate the government; the BBC's Director-General, Greg Dyke, chairman of the Board of Governors, Gavyn Davies, and the journalist at the centre of the controversy, Andrew Gilligan, resign. The UK media in general condemns the report as a whitewash.cite book|last=Williams|first=Hywel|title=Cassell's Chronology of World History|publisher=Weidenfeld & Nicolson|year=2005|isbn=0-304-35730-8|pages=656–660]


* 1 February - Media sources and victim support groups across Britain condemn the £11,000 payouts to the families of the two girls who were murdered at Soham in August 2002 as a "pittance". The compensation was paid out by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
* 3 February - Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announces an independent inquiry, to be chaired by Lord Butler, to examine the reliability of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
* 5 February/6 February - A party of Chinese cockle pickers is caught by the tides at night in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire, drowning 23 people. 21 bodies are recovered.
* 6 February - The Home Office confirms that Maxine Carr, convicted with Ian Huntley concerning the Soham murders of 2001, could be released from prison in the next few days.
* 11 February - Richard Desmond, the owner of the "Daily Express" and "Daily Star" tabloids, confirms that he has made a bid for the troubled "Daily Telegraph".
* 15 February - The government are reported to have drawn up plans to break up the BBC in the wake of the Hutton inquiry.
* 19 February - Foreign Secretary Jack Straw announces that five of the nine Britons held without trial as terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba, along with a Dane, are to be released.
* 21 February - Prime Minister Tony Blair comes under pressure from British human rights groups and MPs because of the government's sweeping powers under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act, which have allowed the detention of 14 foreign terrorist suspects in the UK at what has been described as 'Britain's Guantanamo Bay'.
* 24 February - The British Olympic Association bans European 100 meter champion Dwain Chambers from competing in the Olympic Games for life for a positive test for the designer steroid THG.
* 25 February - Katharine Gun, formerly an employee of British spy agency GCHQ, has a charge of breaching the Official Secrets Act dropped after prosecutors offered no evidence, apparently on the advice of the Attorney-General. Gun had admitted leaking American plans to bug UN delegates to a newspaper.
* 26 February - Clare Short, former Cabinet Minister, alleges on the BBC "Today" radio programme that British spies regularly intercept UN communications, including those of Kofi Annan, its Secretary-General.


* Vauxhall launches the fifth generation of its popular Astra family hatchback. It is initially just available as a five-door hatchback, with a three-door "Sporthatch" and a five-door estate due later this year.
* 21 March - Architect Zaha Hadid becomes the first female recipient of the Pritzker Prize.cite book|title=Penguin Pocket On This Day|publisher=Penguin Reference Library|isbn=0-141-02715-0|year=2006]


* 19 April - Tony Blair announces a change in government policy: there is to be a referendum on the proposed EU Constitution.


* 10 May - Maxine Carr is released from prison with a new identity after serving half of her sentence for perverting the course of justice.
* 11 May - Stockline Plastics factory explosion: four people die in an explosion at a factory in Glasgow. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3703951.stm Factory explosion kills four (BBC)] ]
* 14 May - Piers Morgan is sacked as editor of the "Daily Mirror" after the newspaper published fake pictures of Iraqi prisoner abuse.
* 19 May - Fathers 4 Justice stage a protest in the House of Commons at Prime Minister's Question Time by throwing purple powder at Tony Blair. See Fathers 4 Justice House of Commons protest. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/19/newsid_4516000/4516355.stm|title="2004: Angry dads hit Blair with purple flour", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-02-13]
* 22 May - Manchester United beat Millwall 3-0 in the FA Cup final.
* 27 May - The Member of Parliament for Leicester South, Jim Marshall dies, triggering a by-election.


* 6 June - Sixtieth anniversary of D-Day. Last minute pressure forces First Minister of Scotland Jack McConnell to attend commemorations. Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of Wales takes flak for not doing the same.
* 10 June - European, local and regional elections take place. Labour lose many council seats.
* 11 June - The incumbent Ken Livingstone is announced as the winner of the election for Mayor of London.
* 14 June - Results of the European elections are announced. United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) are the main gainers, increasing from 3 to 12 MEPs.
* 24 June - England are knocked out of Euro 2004 by Portugal, on penalties.
* 28 June - the Coalition Provisional Authority hands sovereignty of Iraq over to the Iraqi Interim Government, two days ahead of schedule. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/28/newsid_4517000/4517865.stm|title="2004: US transfers power back to Iraq", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-02-13]


* 2 July
** An openly gay cleric, Jeffrey John is installed as the Dean of St Albans.
** A court rules that Humberside Police Authority must suspend the Chief Constable, David Westwood, in accordance with the Home Secretary (David Blunkett)'s demands.
* 6 July - Her Majesty The Queen unveils a memorial fountain to Diana, Princess of Wales.
* 8 July - Marks and Spencer overheads turn down a takeover bid by retail tycoon Philip Green.
* 12 July - Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown announces the massive loss of 100,000 civil service jobs in the UK; the savings to be put into front-line services such as Health and Education.
* 13 July
** The Public Administration Committee of the House of Commons recommends massive changes to the British Honours System including scrapping knighthoods and renaming the Order of the British Empire to the 'Order of British Excellence'.
** The Countryside Agency publicises a new Countryside Code in advance of the 'Right to Roam' coming into effect in September.
** The House of Lords makes a hostile amendment to the Constitutional Reform Bill that would retain the name of the office of Lord Chancellor.
* 14 July - The Butler Inquiry releases its report, mildly criticising the government in their use of intelligence relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.
* 15 July - Leicester South and Birmingham Hodge Hill by-elections held. Labour lose the former to the Liberal Democrats but narrowly retain the latter.
* 18 July - North Yorkshire police launch a murder hunt after 27-year-old twin sisters Claire and Diane Sanderson are found dead in a flat in Camblesforth, near Selby.
* 19 July - The Government announces backing for the Crossrail project.
* 20 July - Government to publish results of review into Council Tax.
* 23 July - Tony Blair announces that Peter Mandelson is to become Britain's new European Commissioner.


* 9 August - West Bromwich Albion terminate the contract of striker Lee Hughes as he is sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty causing death by dangerous driving, having killed a 56-year-old man in a collision near Coventry on 22 November 2003.
* 13 August29 August - Great Britain participates in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens winning a total of 9 gold, 9 silver and 12 bronze medals.
* 16 August - Boscastle flood of 2004: flash floods destroy buildings and wash cars out to sea in Cornwall.
* 28 August - Kelly Holmes wins her second gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/august/28/newsid_4544000/4544975.stm|title="2004: Second gold for Kelly Holmes", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-02-13]


* 13 September - A Fathers 4 Justice campaigner dressed as Batman breaches security at Buckingham Palace.
* 15 September - Parliament is suspended after pro-hunt campaigners break into the House of Commons. [cite web|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/09/16/nhunt16.xml|title="Hunt brawl in Commons", Telegraph|accessdate=2008-04-19]


* 1 October - Tony Blair announces his intention to resign as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom if Labour win the next General Election, so he will not have to stand for a possible fourth term in the position.
* 7 October - British hostage Ken Bigley, of Liverpool, is beheaded by militants in Iraq. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/7/newsid_4070000/4070430.stm|title="2004: British hostage feared dead in Iraq", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-02-13]
* 19 October - British aid worker Margaret Hassan is taken hostage in Iraq. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/19/newsid_4253000/4253344.stm|title="2004: British aid worker kidnapped in Iraq", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-02-13]


* 4 November - a referendum was held in North East England on the establishment of elected regional assemblies. The majority of voters said no to the plans.
* 7 November - Seven people are killed when a train is derailed by a car at a level crossing in Berkshire.
* 16 November - The government announces plans to ban smoking in most enclosed public places (including workplaces) within the next three years.
* 18 November - Parliament passes the Hunting Act 2004 banning fox hunting in England and Wales.


* Ford launches the second generation of its bestselling Focus family car that was originally launched in September 1998.
* 2 December - David Bieber, a 38-year-old former US marine, is found guilty of murdering PC Ian Broadhurst in Leeds on Boxing Day last year. He is sentenced to life imprisonment and the trial judge recommends that he should never be released from prison. After his conviction, it is revealed that Bieber was wanted in connection with a 1995 murder in Florida. It is also revealed that he had entered Britain by using the name Nathan Wayne Coleman — who was really a child who had died in infancy in 1968.
* 15 December - David Blunkett resigns as Home Secretary after three-and-a-half years in the role. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/15/newsid_4361000/4361728.stm|title="2004: Blunkett resigns over visa accusations", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-02-13]


* Iain M. Banks' novel "The Algebraist".
* Louis de Bernières' novel "Birds Without Wings".
* Alan Hollinghurst's novel "The Line of Beauty".
* Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels "A Hat Full of Sky" and "Going Postal".


* 4 January - Joan Aiken, writer (born 1924)
* 13 January - Harold Shipman, serial killer (born 1946)
* 26 January - Hugh Jenkins, politician (born 1908)
* 27 January - Hugh Scanlon, trade union leader (born 1913)
* 29 January - M. M. Kaye, writer (born 1908)
* 6 February - Humphry Osmond, psychiatrist (born 1917)
* 15 March - John Pople, chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1925)
* 28 March - Peter Ustinov, actor, writer, dramatist and raconteur (born 1921)
* 13 April - Caron Keating, television presenter (born 1962)
* 19 April - Norris McWhirter, political activist and television presenter (born 1925)
* 3 May - Anthony Ainley, actor (born 1932)
* 14 May - Anna Lee, actress (born 1913)
* 29 May - Jack Rosenthal, playwright (born 1931)
* 1 July - Peter Barnes, playwright and screenwriter (born 1931)
* 18 July - Paul Foot, journalist (born 1937)
* 28 July - Francis Crick, scientist, discoverer of the structure of DNA (born 1916)
* 12 August - Godfrey Hounsfield, electrical engineer and inventor, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (born 1919)
* 13 October - Bernice Rubens, novelist (born 1928)
* 20 October - Lynda Lee-Potter "Daily Mail" columnist (born 1935)
* 21 October - Vincent Brome, writer (born 1910)
* 23 October - Bill Nicholson, footballer and football manager (born 1919)
* 25 October - John Peel, DJ and radio presenter (born 1939)
* 29 October - Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, princess (born 1901)
* 29 October - Peter Twinn, mathematician, World War II codebreaker and entomologist (born 1916)
* 6 November - Fred Dibnah, steeplejack and television personality (born 1938)
* 9 November - Emlyn Hughes, footballer, football manager and TV gameshow captain (born 1947)
* 19 November - John Robert Vane, pharmacologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (born 1927)
* 2 December - Alicia Markova, ballerina (born 1910)


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