The Conservative Party led by Cameron wins the 2015 UK general election. Cameron:
We can make Britain a place where a good life is in reach for everyone who is willing to work and do the right thing. We will govern as a party of one nation, one United Kingdom.
The Labour Party rules out ‘confidence and supply’ deal with SNP post elections if it fails to win majority. Miliband:
I’m not interested in deals…I want to be clear about this. No coalition, no tie-ins. I’m not doing deals with the Scottish National Party.
The European Union commission issues and estimating economy adjustment bill to Britain. Prime Minister Cameron states that Britain refuses to pay the bill along with and investigation underway to reveal how such a figure came about. Since 1995, Britain’s economy performance did better than other EU states. Speaking in Brussels, Cameron:
This is completely unacceptable. It is an unacceptable way for this organization to work – to suddenly present a bill like this for such a vast sum of money with so little time to pay it. And it is an unacceptable way to treat one of the biggest contributors to the European Union. It is an appalling way to behave. I am not paying that bill on December 1. If people think I am they have got another thing coming. This organization shouldn’t be surprised if it behaves in its way if its members say it has to change.
The UK government is reported to redeploy drones based in Afghanistan to Iraq and Syria, where they may get authorization to deploy Hellfire missiles. They will be based in Kuwait and controlled via satellite link from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. Whitehall official:
The Reapers would be very useful for intel on Isis in Syria for ourselves and our allies; that would be their primary purpose. Their use in combat would obviously depend on parliamentary approval – unless we have a need for them to secure the wellbeing of British subjects or prevent a humanitarian crisis.
Speaking during a national security conference in London, United Kingdom senior police officer Sir Hogan-Howe reveals that a minimum average of five British citizens are traveling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. Tracking and reacting to the threats of home terrorists who obtain experience from ISIS training grows worse, what he calls “potentially militarized individuals.” After citing some examples, Sir Hogan-Howe:
Those are the ones that we believe have gone. There may be many more who set out to travel to another country and meandered over to Syria and Iraq in a way that is not always possible to spot when you have failed states and leaky borders. We know that over 500 British nationals travelled to join the conflict. Many have returned and many will wish to do so in the coming months and perhaps in future years. The Met say they have made 218 arrests for terrorist-related activity this year, an increase of about 70% in three years. A large part of this increased arrest rate is due to terrorist activities, plots and planning linked to Syria. The trend is, I think, set to continue.
The Foreign Office releases a statement:
We are aware of the video and are working urgently to verify the contents. If true, this is a further disgusting murder. We are offering the family every support possible; they ask to be left alone at this time.
British lawmakers meeting in emergency session approve a motion Friday to participate in airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq. The 524-43 vote comes after Prime Minister David Cameron tells Parliament that the country has a “duty to take part” in international efforts to combat the extremist group. Cameron says:
This is not a threat on the far side of the world but one which menaces European nations directly.
Cameron says that while the three main unionist parties at Westminster has promised the Scottish parliament broader powers, the referendum raises the issue of voter representation in England as well as the other countries of the UK:
We have heard the voice of Scotland and now the millions of voices of England must be heard.
He asks Labour whether it will agree to the introduction of English votes for English MPs – the ‘West Lothian question’ – and says that House of Commons leader William Hague will advance the issue in a special cabinet committee. He says the government would shortly say more about the devolution of further powers to the cities and regions of the UK.
The Auld Acquaintance Cairn monument at Gretna village on the banks of the Sark river on the border of Scotland and England, built of stones collected from around the United Kingdom, reaches nine feet in height and 350 tons in weight. Among the stones collected by English and Scottish pilgrims to the site are some that have been carried across rough seas from remote Scottish isles or mailed from remote areas of England. A fragment of the Berlin Wall and a bit of rubble from a Glasgow house bombed during the Blitz have been added. Christine Bethune, a 63-year-old library assistant from Edinburgh adds a red and green stone:
It’s difficult to explain how moving it is. If you broke it, it wouldn’t be the same stone.
She explains that the monument is designed to emphasize the social ties between Scotland and Enland, aside from debates over policies and economics:
I’m English, but I’ve lived in Edinburgh for 40 years. I was married to a Scot. My children were raised in Scotland — one is voting ‘yes,’ the other would vote ‘no,’ but is living in London. I understand Scottish pride. I’ve lived with it for a long time. But I think it’s possible to be proud of your country without dividing the union.
The hostage threatened by ISIS in its videotaped execution of British aid worker Haines is identified as 47-year-old Alan Henning, a taxi driver from the northwest of England. Friends of Henning who were also captured but later released say an aid convoy they were traveling with was stopped by masked gunmen after crossing the Turkish border and Henning was separated from the others. His disappearance has previously been kept secret by his family at the advice of the British Foreign Office (FCO) while negotiations are made for his release.
The UK is planning to set up or expand three military bases in the Middle East to respond to the threat of ISIS. An infantry battalion may be based in the United Arab Emirates while a training post in Oman could be used, and the Royal Navy is believed to hope that the port in Bahrain could be increased in size to accommodate more sailors and bigger warships. Defence source:
You could see an infantry battalion based in al-Minhad, being able to train alongside the Emirates
British female recruits are believed to be running a Shariah police force in the ISIS stronghold city of Raqaa. The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), based in King’s College in London, says Glasgow native Aqsa Mahmood, 20, is believed to be a key figure in the all-female al-Khanssaa brigade. She is linked via internet postings under her username Umm Layth to several other British women, whose identities are unknown but who go by the social media usernames Umm Haritha, Umm Ubaydiah and Umm Waqqas. All are believed to be associated with the about al-Khanssaa brigade, which pays its members about 25,000 Syrian pounds a month, or around $162, to enforce Shariah dress codes and examine people wearing burkhas to make sure that they are women and not enemy fighters in disguise. Another four British women are said to have expressed interest in joining the brigade. ICSR researcher:
Al-Khanssaa is a sharia law police brigade. This is Isil’s female law enforcement. We think it’s a mixture of British and French women but its social media accounts are run by the British and they are written in English … The British women are some of the most zealous in imposing the IS laws in the region. I believe that’s why at least four of them have been chosen to join the women police force.
A Scottish-born girl is reported to have have moved to Syria and has disseminated jihadi messages via Twitter. The ‘@Umm Layth_’ Twitter account believed to be operated by is currently suspended. A tweet in June apparently supporting the Lee Rigby murder, Boston Marathon bombing and Fort Hood, Tx., shootings:
Follow the examples of your brothers from Woolwich, Texas and Boston. If you cannot make it to the battlefield, then bring the battlefield to yourself.
A 19-year-old female from Scotland was reported missing to us by her family in November 2013. Inquiries are ongoing in relation to her whereabouts and we are supporting her family.
A poll by The Independent finds that 35% of respondents agree Britain should take part in airstrikes against ISIS while 50% disagree and 15% say they don’t know. At 42%, men are more likely to support airstrikes than women, with 28%. It finds that 69% of respondents say the UK shouldn’t send ground troops and only 20% say it should.
British nationals use a sophisticated ‘dead letter’ email system to smuggle their way into Iraq and Syria to join ISIS, with terrorist handlers employing ‘silent’ email addresses that do not actually send messages, but contain instructions in the Draft folder. Militants are then moved secretly across Europe and smuggled across the Turkish border to training camps in Syria. As many as 20 British nationals are believed to be waiting in safe houses or hotels for the all-clear to cross the border.
The UK raises its terror threat level to Severe from Substantial, meaning that an attack is ‘highly likely’ although may not be imminent. Home secretary Theresa May:
[The decision is] related to developments in Syria and Iraq, where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the west
Severe is the fourth level in a five-tier system, one below Critical, which would indicate that an attack is imminent. This is the first time the level has been raised to Severe since July 11, 2011.
British Ambassador to the U.S. Sir Peter Westmacott tells CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley that authorities are ‘close’ to identifying the ISIS militant who killed Global Post journalist James Foley in a videotaped beheading:
[…] We’re putting out a great deal of resource into identifying this person. I think we’re not far away from that. We’re putting a lot into it. And there are some very sophisticated technologies, voice identification and so on, which people can use to check who these people are. But, of course, the problem goes beyond one horrendous criminal, if you like […] I do know from my colleagues at home that we are close.
British Ambassador to the U.S. Sir Peter Westmacott tells CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley his government is not currently considering adding to U.S. air power in Syria. On cooperation with the U.S.:
…we are in this together, and we need a joint operation to really push back against this barbaric behavior. We mean what we say on that.
However when questioned by Crowley on whether this could include British airstrikes:
It is not now contemplated.
The UK government and Foreign Office are investigating reports that Rochdale man Kadir Islam has died following an Israeli airstrike in the southern city of Rafah. Friends say he was killed while delivering medical supplies to a hospital, but it isn’t known which agency he was working for. Prime Minister Cameron:
I’m extremely concerned about these reports and we are doing everything we can to get to the bottom (of them) and find out exactly what has happened. I don’t want to say anything before we’ve been able to do that but this only reinforces the need for an immediate unconditional humanitarian ceasefire observed properly by both sides. This slaughter, this killing has got to end.
Police and community groups in the UK record around 100 hate crimes over the course of a month, including bomb threats, vandalized synagogues, racist banners and assaults. The Community Security Trust charity:
This is well over double what we would normally expect to see and most of the incidents are linked to what’s going on in Israel and Gaza
A CST spokesman says the 50% increase in discriminatory attacks is the sharpest since Israel’s previous Gaza conflict in 2009.
The Scottish Parliament in Holyrood unanimously passes the independence referendum bill, setting out rules such as the referendum question and campaign spending limits.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon:
I think we can be proud that we’re passing legislation that will put Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands – I hope that the people of Scotland will seize that opportunity, seize that future, seize that prospect of a better Scotland with a resounding ‘Yes’ vote.
The UK and Scottish governments agree to ‘work together to ensure that a referendum on Scottish independence can take place.’ The agreement issued in Edinburgh says the referendum should fulfill several conditions:
Have a clear legal basis;
be legislated for by the Scottish Parliament;
be conducted so as to command the confidence of parliaments, governments and people, and;
deliver a fair test and a decisive expression of the views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect.
The governments agree to promote an Order in Council under Section 30 of the Scotland Act of 1998 in the UK and Scottish Parliaments to allow a single-question referendum to be held before the end of 2014. This will allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate.
The governments are agreed that the referendum should meet the highest standards of fairness, transparency and propriety, informed by consultation and independent expert advice.
First minister Salmond announces that he wants to hold a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014. The timeframe for the vote is designed to allow all the necessary legislation required to authorise it to be passed and for proper preparations to be made:
The date for the referendum has to be the autumn of 2014. That’s because this is the biggest decision that Scotland has made for 300 years. If you are going to do things properly and have the debate in the way it must be had then that is the date that we are going to move towards.
He says the referendum must be ‘made in Scotland’ and approved by the Scottish Parliament, and warns the UK government about ‘trying to pull the strings behind the scenes’.
What Scotland objects to is all the strings they (the UK government) are trying to to attach. They are trying to run a referendum by proxy.