Year in review: Our top stories of 2016

Including Trump, Brexit, the Labour leadership contest and the Queen's 90th


1. Tories filibuster ‘Turing Bill’ – denying pardons to 50,000 living gay men

“MPs shouted at Conservative minister Sam Gyimah to sit down as the cut-off time for SNP MP David Nicolson’s bill approached. However, the justice minister continued to speak, a vote was not called and the bill fell. If passed, it would have cleared the way for a pardon of nearly 50,000 men living with convictions for consensual homosexual activity.”

2. Trump: Angela Merkel shames Theresa May with message for next US president

“Germany and America are connected by common values: democracy, freedom, respect for the law and for human dignity irrespective of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political conviction. On the basis of these values, I offer the future president of America, Donald Trump, a close working relationship.”

3. I founded a Momentum branch – but will be supporting Owen Smith

“I hear the policies put out by John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn and I wholeheartedly support them. I cheer the support and rejuvenation they have brought to our party. But what I see in practice is different. I see a leader confined by an inability to compromise and to reach out to make alliances — the basis of pragmatic politics.”

4. PMQs: Jeremy Corbyn grills PM Theresa May on grammar schools

“Real terms cuts in schools’ budgets, half a million pupils in super-size classes, a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention, a rising number of unqualified teachers in classrooms, vital teaching assistants losing their jobs. Isn’t this the case of a government heading backwards to a failed segregation for the few and second-class schooling for the many?”

5. Owen Smith, Angela Eagle and Jeremy Corbyn – what’s the difference?

“Jeremy Corbyn’s voting record shows consistency over many years on Labour’s hard-Left, with a commitment to greater equality, social justice, opposing privatisation, and a non-interventionist foreign policy, with curbs to anti-terror laws and no nuclear deterrent.”

6. Brexiters’ faux-populism is a sham. They don’t want to ‘take power back from the elites’

“When I see a group of Westminster politicians, many of whom are privately-educated, many of whom live off private incomes, campaigning under a ‘take back control’ banner, it seems to me that it is they themselves who are a threat to democracy and I think we should ask very carefully who exactly is taking back power from whom.”

7. Lib Dems hit their highest membership in a decade – why are thousands signing up?

“Yesterday I had been proud to be British: tolerant, diverse and united. Now I felt like my identity had been ripped away from me. I feared for the impact on the rest of EU, an Un-United Kingdom, an end to the inclusive society I thought I belonged to. I was angry and hurt and wanted to fight for what I’d lost.”

8. Labour Leave is funded by Tory donors and Vote Leave, not ‘Labour and trade unions’

“But why is Labour Leave claiming to be funded by ‘Labour, Trades Unionists and Socialist Society Members’ when its three biggest funders are Conservative Party donors, a right-wing activist and the official Brexit campaign led by Boris Johnson?”

9. Closing Holloway Prison will leave vulnerable women out in the cold

“The closure of Holloway appears to be neither for the benefit of women or Londoners. However, it can be used as an opportunity to frame a new conversation around imprisonment, social justice and social housing.”

10. The Queen’s 90th birthday is a reminder of how monarchy curbs democracy

“A lot of people instinctively say she’s ‘never put a foot wrong’, building the myth that the Queen is to be trusted in contrast with the scandal ridden politicians. Yet if we think the Queen has been a great head of state then we really are setting the bar very low.”

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