British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, his popularity plunging and his reputation for economic competence under fire, faced his first electoral test on Thursday since taking over from Tony Blair in June. The local council seats up for grabs in England and Wales, alongside a high-profile clash to pick the next mayor of London, were last contested in 2004.
To deliver the longest British budget speech of all time, William Gladstone imbibed a throat-soothing mixture of sherry and beaten egg to help him through a marathon that lasted four hours and 45 minutes. enjamin Disraeli reached for brandy and water to deliver the shortest budget -- he took just 45 minutes to plot the path for the nation's finances.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5,2 shook parts of Britain on Wednesday but officials said there were no reports of anyone being killed or serious damage. The quake struck about an hour after midnight and many people in the capital London and other areas said they had been woken up by the tremors.
Britain's former spy chief on Wednesday took the rare step of going public to deny that the security services murdered Princess Diana. The Secret Intelligence Service normally neither confirms nor denies stories about its operations in the shadowy world of espionage glamorised in the James Bond movies.
Daniel Day-Lewis gave his Oscar chances a welcome boost on Sunday by landing a best actor Bafta at the British Academy Film Awards for his searing portrayal of a driven oil prospector in There Will be Blood. French actress Marion Cotillard sprung the surprise of the night by scooping the best actress award for her role as singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose.
Investigators said on Friday that the engines of a British Airways Boeing 777 failed to respond to demands for more thrust shortly before it crash-landed at London's Heathrow International Airport on Thursday. Thirteen people were injured when British Airways flight 83 from Beijing came down well short of the southern runway.
Former England soccer manager Steve McClaren fought off tough competition from United States President George Bush to win a dreaded Foot in Mouth award on Tuesday from the Plain English campaign. He was hailed for a supreme example of gobbledegook in talking about star player Wayne Rooney: ''He is inexperienced but he's experienced in terms of what he's been through.''
As a wax model of English rugby star Jonny Wilkinson joined the statue of national hero Horatio Nelson in London's Trafalgar Square, attention in both England and South Africa was on Friday focused on the looming Rugby World Cup final between the two nations.
It may never be known if Princess Diana was pregnant when she died with her lover, Dodi al-Fayed, in a high-speed Paris car crash, the inquest into their deaths was told on Wednesday. Dodi's father, Harrods luxury storeowner Mohamed al-Fayed, says the couple were killed in 1997 by Britain's security services on the orders of Queen Elizabeth's husband, Diana's former father-in-law.