Foresight News looks ahead to the key events in the calendar for 2022 that need to be in your news diary. Events are as planned at time of writing, but subject to change as the year goes on.
A new stage in the UK’s post-Brexit trading arrangements begins with the introduction of customs declarations on food imports from the EU (1 January), though full physical checks don’t come into effect until later this year.
The new regulations come just ahead of the Oxford Farming Conference (5 January), which may be an opportunity for British farmers to bend the ears of any ministerial representatives about the merits of the new UK-Australia trade deal.
Lawyers representing Prince Andrew will once again argue that the lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre accusing the Duke of sexual assault should be dismissed, as oral arguments are held in the case (4 January). The much-maligned Golden Globe Awards are scheduled to take place (9 January) despite broadcaster NBC dropping the ceremony following industry criticism over its membership’s lack of diversity.
After two and a half years of diplomatic wrangling and negotiation between the UK and the United States, Anne Sacoolas appears in court via video-link (18 January) to face criminal charges over the death of Harry Dunn. Sacoolas has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving over the August 2019 collision.
The Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee (6 February), 70 years after she ascended to the throne following the death of her father King George VI in 1952. While the usual 41-gun salute may take place to mark the occasion, the major celebrations are reserved for the jubilee bank holiday in June.
The Beijing Winter Olympics begin (4 February) under a cloud of controversy and diplomatic boycotts, as the Chinese capital becomes the first city to host both the summer and winter editions of the Games.
French President Emmanuel Macron hosts world leaders for the One Ocean Summit (11 February), just days before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is scheduled to meet for the first of two sessions this quarter (14-18 February and 21-25 March). The IPCC sessions are followed by the release of closely-watched working group reports on adaptation (February) and mitigation (March).
The full inquest into the deaths of 11 people at the Shoreham Airshow in 2015 opens (28 February), and is expected to run until mid-April.
The UNBOXED festival (1 March), conceived way back in the aftermath of the EU referendum as a celebration of post-Brexit Britain, kicks off a months-long series of multiple-platform events showcasing the creativity and innovation of the four UK nations.
Ali Harbi Ali is due to go on trial at the Old Bailey (21 March) charged with the murder of former Southend West MP Sir David Amess, who was killed while running a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea in October.
Two years after receiving Royal Assent, the so-called “smacking ban” comes into effect in Wales, (21 March) making the physical punishment of children illegal.
Legislation introduced at the start of the pandemic to give the government and local authorities emergency powers is due to expire (24 March), though the rapid spread of the Omicron variant at the end of 2021 means the government is likely to seek a further six-month extension to the Coronavirus Act.
Stormont’s Department of Health faces a deadline to make abortion services available in Northern Ireland (31 March), per a direction issued by the UK government in July. A legal challenge to the direction which followed in October and is pending judgment may, however, hold up the timetable further.
After making two Budget speeches in 2021, the Chancellor may have hoped to see a return to a more regular fiscal schedule this year, but the possible introduction of new restrictions over the New Year could force him to return to the despatch box this month for another Spring Budget / Statement.
Ever a busy legislative month, new measures for April this year include a new tax on plastic packaging and the Scottish government’s nationalisation of ScotRail (1 April), which is also when the annual increase to the Living Wage Rise takes effect. The most significant, however, are changes to NICs (6 April) which mark the first stage of the introduction of the new Health and Social Care Levy.
France holds a closely-watched presidential election (10 and 24 April). At the time of writing, incumbent Emmanuel Macron had not formally announced his candidacy, though he is widely expected to seek a second five-year term. Other candidates to keep an eye on are Valérie Pécresse (Les Républicains), Anne Hidalgo (Parti Socialiste), Marine Le Pen (Rassemblement National) and Éric Zemmour (Reconquête).
Parliamentary elections may also be held this month in Hungary, where the opposition to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are running a unified campaign headed by Péter Márki-Zay.
A mixed month for the Royal family as they celebrate the Queen’s 96th Birthday (21 April) before bracing for the publication of a new royal biography, The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor – The Truth and the Turmoil (26 April). China hosts the UN Biodiversity Summit (COP15) after two years of delays, with countries hoping to adopt the final post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (15 April 25-8 May).
It is 15 years since Madeleine McCann was discovered missing from her bed in the Portuguese holiday destination of Praia de Luz (3 May). Despite numerous UK and European investigations, no one has been charged with her abduction.
Plenty of factors in play for this year’s local elections (5 May), with a disjointed Conservative Party likely to be fighting on multiple fronts against a Labour Party that ended 2021 riding high in the polls, a Liberal Democrat party seeking to capitalise on those dramatic by-election gains and an angry Tory grassroots tempted by the Reform party’s offer. In Northern Ireland, the resolution or otherwise of trade and border issues and court battles involving the leading parties could result in even higher drama at Stormont.
Presidential and parliamentary elections take place in the Philippines (9 May), where firebrand leader Rodrigo Duterte is stepping down. Since taking office in 2016, Duterte has faced international condemnation over his human rights record and attempts to muzzle the press; Rappler co-founder Maria Ressa was awarded last year’s Nobel Peace Prize for her fearless coverage of his anti-drugs campaign.
The business end of the football season brings the men’s (14 May) and women’s (15 May) FA Cup finals, the Europa League final (18 May), and the conclusion of the Premier League (22 May), before St Petersburg hosts the Champions League final (28 May).
70s disco legends ABBA return with their show Voyage (27 May) which runs at the purpose-built ABBA Arena at the (Dancing) Queen Elizabeth II Park in London until September. Gimme gimme gimme a reason not to go.
Get the champagne on ice early this month, as the country marks The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee (2-5 June) with a four-day bonanza featuring a bonus bank holiday, a Buckingham Palace party and pageant and a national Big Jubilee Lunch.
Victims’ families and survivors mark the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire (14 June), which killed 72 people in 2017. The inquiry into the disaster is still ongoing, with a final report expected later this year at the earliest.
Billie Eilish and Diana Ross headline as festivalgoers descend on Glastonbury for the first time in two years (22-26 June).
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hosts his G7 counterparts for a summit in Bavaria (26-28 June). NATO leaders then meet in Madrid for their annual summit (29-30 June).
London’s long-awaited east-west rail link is (finally) due to be operational by this month, though there are hopes that Crossrail services may be fully up and running earlier in the year after TfL confirmed trial operations had begun at the end of November.
Full physical checks on EU food products, initially due to be imposed in October 2021 and delayed again from New Year’s Day, are introduced at UK borders (1 July), though the spectre of Article 16 and further supply chain disruption may result in a third postponement.
It is 50 years since Britain held its first ever gay pride march (1 July) when 2,000 members of the LGBTQ+ community took to the streets of central London.
The glorious summer of sport kicks into full swing with the opening of the Women’s European Football Championships (6 July, final on 31 July), followed by the women’s (9 July) and men’s (10 July) singles finals at Wimbledon, the World Athletics Championships (15-24 July), and the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (28 July).
Nurse Lucy Letby is scheduled to go on trial over six months at Manchester Crown Court (25 July), charged with eight counts of murder and 10 of attempted murder over the deaths of babies at the Countess of Chester hospital between June 2015 and June 2016.
After two heavily disrupted years, fans of comedy, theatre and dance will have their fingers crossed for a return to normalcy for the annual rain-soaked summer extravaganza that is the Edinburgh Fringe (5-29 August), while West London’s Notting Hill Carnival (28 August) will also be hoping to bring its trademark vibrancy back to the capital after a two-year pandemic induced absence.
This month marks the 75th anniversary of the Partition of British India, which ended nearly 200 years of British rule in the region. Pakistan marks its Independence Day first (14 August), followed by India (15 August).
Parents, students and news crews descend on schools across the country for A-Level (18 August) and GCSE (25 August) results days.
It’s been 25 years since the death of Princess Diana (31 August), who was killed in a car crash in Paris which also took the life of her partner Dodi Fayed and their driver Henri Paul.
Prince Andrew’s civil trial could get underway as soon as this month, assuming his lawyers are unsuccessful in having it dismissed (see above). The case involves allegations linked to the Duke of York’s association with the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.
World leaders arrive in New York City for the opening of the annual UN General Debate (20 September), the highlight of UN calendar. It will be interesting to see whether the deferred decision on who represents Myanmar and Afghanistan at the world body is resolved ahead of the gathering.
A busy month at NASA: the window opens (20 September) to launch its ExoMars mission with the ESA, less than a week before its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission could have its earliest opportunity to intercept asteroid 35803 Didymos (26 September).
The Labour Party returns to Liverpool (24 September) for Keir Starmer’s third autumn conference as leader. Last year’s event was defined by a bruising row over leadership rule changes, though a narrow victory for Starmer paved the way for an authoritative end of year reshuffle. The PLP is largely behind him, though Sir Keir may still need to convince sections of the membership this weekend that he’s prime ministerial material.
Those working group reports from earlier in the year feed into the 57th IPCC session (26-30 September), which will see scientists approve and publish the Sixth Assessment synthesis report (3 October), pulling together findings from the past few years ahead of the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement in 2023.
Will Boris Johnson be making the leader’s speech at this year’s Conservative Party conference (2 October)? Things seemed pretty grim in the last weeks of 2021, but Johnson is nothing if not a survivor so ambitious cabinet ministers may have to wait another year or two to become the headline act.
Brazil holds presidential elections (2 October), with incumbent Jair Bolsonaro seeking a second term. Bolsonaro, in keeping with his reputation as Brazil’s Trump, has been laying the groundwork to question the outcome of the election.
The 2021 Rugby League World Cup, delayed for a full year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, is due to begin (15 October) as England host the tournament for the fourth time in four decades.
The BBC celebrates 100 years since its foundation (18 October) with a bumper line-up of specially curated content to mark the centenary, from major sporting and cultural events to landmark commissions.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo hosts leaders for the G20 summit in Bali (30-31 October) to discuss issues facing the world’s largest economies.
The Chinese Communist Party is expected to hold its 20th National Party Congress this month, an event that takes place every five years and is expected to be particularly historic if all goes to plan and Xi Jinping secures an unprecedented third term as party (and country) leader.
Europe’s biggest tech conference gets underway in Lisbon as a who’s who of the digital world gather for the Web Summit (1 November).
The entirety of the US House of Representatives and a third of seats in the US Senate are up for grabs in the midterm elections (8 November). Democrats’ chances of retaining control of either chamber look slim, and President Joe Biden will struggle to achieve many legislative accomplishments in his final two years in office with a Republican-controlled Congress.
The UK marks Remembrance Sunday with the Cenotaph Service. It’s a big moment on the Royal calendar, and the 2021 ceremony was the most high-profile event that The Queen was forced to miss due to health problems at the end of the year (13 November).
The Premier League pauses for its winter break (14 November) as attentions turn to Qatar and the opening of the 22nd FIFA World Cup (21 November).
6 December marks the 100th anniversary of the Irish Free State, which was established a year after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The Free state existed until 1937, when a new constitution was put in place creating the Republic of Ireland.
The anniversary isn’t the only news from the country: this month will also see Leo Varadkar take back over from Micheál Martin as Taoiseach under the terms of their 2020 coalition agreement (15 December).
One of the worst mass shootings in the history of the United States took place 10 years ago in Newtown, Connecticut, when Adam Lanza killed 20 primary school children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School (14 December).
The Lusail Iconic Stadium hosts the final of the FIFA World Cup as the four-week festival of football reaches its conclusion (18 December). Will France retain their title? Can a South American country end the continent’s 20-year wait for a World Cup winner? Could football finally be coming home in time for Christmas?
An eventful year for the Royal Family is rounded off by the publication of Prince Harry’s memoirs, expected late this year. The book will recount the “highs and lows” of the Duke’s life and will be “accurate and wholly truthful”, according to the book’s publisher.
Picture: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images