Brexit a year on: Nine of the most bizarre moments in politics since Britain's vote to leave the European Union

Rebecca Smith
Farage has been busy, despite stepping down as Ukip leader last year
Farage has been busy, despite stepping down as Ukip leader last year (Source: Getty)

It has been a wild ride since David Cameron announced in February last year that the referendum on European Union membership would go ahead, leaving Britain's fate in the nation's hands.

And now a year on from the Brexit vote itself, what better time to revisit some of the rather bizarre moments along the way?

Read more: Brexodus? One year on, what banks have said about Brexit and job moves

1. Cameron gets creative

David Cameron's Last Day As The UK's Prime Minister
(Source: Getty)

After formally announcing his resignation in July, David Cameron presumably forgot his microphone was on, and hummed away contentedly as he left the rest of us to Brexit.

As the internet often does, it seized on Cameron’s hum for inspiration, dishing up a range of creative remixes.

2. The Farage hokey cokey

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage Visits Veterans At Future For Heroes UK
Where next? (Source: Getty)

First he stood down in the aftermath of the EU referendum result, saying: “I’ve done my bit.” Only Ukip then got into a bit of a muddle.

Diane James was elected – so far so good – but then resigned just 18 days afterwards. And in November left Ukip entirely. Meanwhile, leadership hopeful Steven Woolfe quit the party calling the party “ungovernable” after he was hospitalised in Strasbourg following an altercation with another of the party’s politicians, Mike Hookem.

So back in October Farage stood in as interim leader, until Paul Nuttall became the leader in November. Only he’s now stood down too after the party’s wipeout in the local elections was followed by a disappointing showing in the General Election and zero seats.

So, Farage has said he’s thinking about returning as Ukip leader again. Keeping up?

3. The flotilla face off

Nigel Farage Joins Fishing For Leave On A Flotilla Down The Thames
(Source: Getty)

No Brexit discussion of its weirdest moments so far could go by without a nod to the campaign madness along the way. As it really heated up, you may recall a bizarre battle of the boats in the Thames, when Nigel Farage sailed a fishing boat (to tell parliament to take back control of British waters from the EU FYI).

Only staunch Remainer Bob Geldof had a boat of his own. No life-size game of Battleship here though. Just some yelling with Geldof giving Farage a two-fingered salute. Delightful.

Nigel Farage Joins Fishing For Leave On A Flotilla Down The Thames
(Source: Getty)

4. Johnson versus Gove

Vote Leave Campaigners Deliver Speeches On The Risks Of Remain
(Source: Getty)

As if there wasn’t enough political drama to last the country months, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson became embroiled in a Shakespeare-level bit of theatre, after Gove – previously a supporter of Johnson’s bid to be PM – turned on him and unveiled his own bid.

And then, after inviting the press to his campaign launch, Johnson announced he wasn’t standing for PM.

At least his aides were quick-thinking though.

5. Shake it off

(Source: Getty)

Look, it's not only Britain that's had some bizarre stuff going on over the past year. And Brexit hasn't been the only political event to get people talking. In the year since the vote happened, we've also seen the election of President Donald Trump in the US. He's been involved in some very odd moments since taking office.

But one of the strangest – and most amusing for onlookers – is surely the handshake competition he has with every political leader he comes into contact with.

So infamous have his handshakes become, that France’s President Macron said his iron grip in his own meeting with Trump was “a moment of truth” to show he won’t even make small concessions. Who knew handshakes were such serious stuff?

6. Covfefe

Usually an accidental tweet is pretty swiftly forgotten - unless it's one that leaves the tweeter in a rather awkward position, or you're someone pretty important.

So when President Trump appeared to accidentally tweet last month: "Despite the constant negative press covfefe", the internet seized on it with glee.

The tweet was deleted, sadly, though it stayed up for six hours before it vanished.

And then, not only that, White House press secretary Sean Spicer, told media: "The President and a small group of people know exactly what it meant." Right.

7. Corbyn's revolving cabinet

The speedy switch ups in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet started before the Brexit vote of course, but it certainly didn’t stop afterwards.

Back then, he was under repeated attempts to oust him from power, though that has changed since the election result (more on that soon...).

Four different people have held the shadow culture secretary position since September 2015, and four different people held the shadow defence post, among others. It’s enough to give anyone motion sickness.

8. Left in the dark

There may have been far bigger fish to fry for many watching the UK's political landscape in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, but Conservative MP Philip Hollobone was focused on what he'd seen as an insult to his constituency of Kettering on the results night.

Actress Lindsay Lohan wanted some information on what Brexit would mean economically, and had tweeted her impatience on EU referendum night: "Sorry, but Kettering where are you?"

Hollobone took up the issue in parliament, and said: "Everyone knows where Kettering is. It's famous as the home of Weetabix Breakfast Cereal." He offered Lohan a chance to switch on the Christmas lights in Kettering to see for herself, which she accepted on Twitter, before duly going AWOL.

Luckily, former Eastenders actress Cheryl Fergison was drafted in for the job. Phew.

9. That snap election

Theresa May Announces A General Election
(Source: Getty)

So it came as a surprise, but the general feeling among commentators was that Theresa May called the election to shore up her Brexit negotiating position with an increased majority. And it would be, they thought, smooth sailing with Labour seemingly in the doldrums. Except, well, it didn’t quite pan out like that did it?

The exit poll predicted it, the results pouring in confirmed it, and May promptly lost her majority, leaving Britain with a hung parliament. She has been embroiled in talks with Northern Ireland’s DUP, and though we still haven’t got that sewn up, Brexit negotiations have already kicked off.

Read more: Who is and isn't prepared to be financially worse off after Brexit?

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