Aled Thomas, the Worcester News politics reporter goes through the archives to look at the year’s top political news

1 Theresa May’s snap election…

Riding high in the polls in April, with a more than 20-point lead, the Prime Minister went on a walking holiday at Easter and came back and called an election. She told cabinet a couple of hours before announcing it, and even Worcestershire’s Conservative MPs were taken by surprise, as were journalists across the country. Mrs May said her working majority of 17 wasn’t enough to allow her to deliver the right ‘red, white and blue Brexit.’

2 … didn’t go so well (for her)

Worcestershire’s Conservative MPs defended their seats handily enough – ( Redditch MP Rachel Maclean is actually new to Parliament, taking over the seat from her fellow Conservative Karen Lumley who won the seat in 2010) – but otherwise the election was a disappointment for Theresa May, to say the least.

Having asked for the backing of the country and a dominating majority, she lost MPs and only remains in Number 10 with the backing of 10 Northern Irish DUP MPs. Not so Strong. Not so stable. And, as a by-product, it’s made Worcester MP Robin Walker’s job as third in charge at DExEU that much harder.

3 Mark Garnier’s unconventional shopping list

Amid all sorts of allegations about ahem unparliamentary behaviour, which saw both the de fact Deputy PM and the Defence Secretary step down, Wyre Forest’s Conservative MP hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.

He faced a cabinet office investigation into allegations by his former secretary Caroline Edmonson that he used derogatory language and asked her to go to a sex shop and buy two vibrators; one for his wife one for another woman.

Mr Garnier was found not to have broken the ministerial code and kept his job as International Trade minister.

4 The AB1 saga.

The AB1 car registration plate was the first issued in Worcestershire, all the way back in 1903. It has traditionally been used on the car of the Worcestershire, then more latterly West Mercia, Chief Constable.

This year the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia decided to sell it.

He was, at first, criticised for wanting to raise money by flogging off a bit of the county’s heritage.

When it transpired that Mr Campion had sold the plate to a former Chief Constable, Paul West for the not inconsiderable sum of £160,000, he got some grief for a. selling it to a chum, and b. not making enough money.

Can’t do right for doing wrong.

5 Corbyn visit

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, known to fans as The Absolute Boy, came to Worcester as part of the General Election campaign. (See above.) Perhaps knowing his audience he chose to speak about parking- saying he would abolish hospital parking charges if he made it to Number 10.

He also pledged to lift the pay cap for NHS workers and ensure “every primary school child, of every age” got free meals.

It didn’t seem to help in Worcester, although his party did increase its number of seats by 29 nationwide.

6 County Council got even bluer

Before the General election, the Conservatives did really well in local elections. The Conservative Group at County Hall increased its majority (remember one of those, Theresa?), holding 40 seats out of 57 after the May elections.

7 Worcester City Council on a knife-edge

Although the Conservatives have most seats in the Guildhall, at 17, they don’t quite have enough to form a majority administration.

Two Green councillors voted to keep the leader of the Labour group, Adrian Gregson, at the head of the authority. But the council’s new committee system, designed to prevent constantly overhauling policy as political power switches, means he has to work with Councillor Marc Bayliss, leader of the Conservative group, as the deputy leader.

No overall control, and unusual arrangements to maintain an administration - where Worcester leads, the UK follows.

8 Conservative candidate has never been anything but True Blue. Oh, hang on a second.

Bill Amos, the brother of former city mayor Cllr Alan Amos too in Bedwardine in May in a crunch city council by-election. And won.

Before the election he told the Worcester News he had “never had alliances with other parties” – unlike his Brother Alan, who had twice switched parties.

It quickly became apparent that Mr Amos, a former railways worker, was a Labour member at the start of the 1990s.

It didn’t harm his election much and he now represents Bedwardine alongside his brother.

9 Children’s services.

An Ofsted review at the end of 2016 found that Worcestershire County Council’s children’s services were ‘inadequate.’

Since then the council has been told to find a different way to run the services, and it has narrowed down the options to two: a strategic partnership with another authority or authorities, and a wholly-owned company.

A decision will be made next year and the new arrangement should be in place by April 2019.

10 No Joy at the election – and then Joy

Theresa May didn’t just take Conservative MPs by surprise.

Joy Squires, a Worcester City councillor fought the election in 2015, losing by more than 5,000 votes.

When the election was called she said she didn’t want to stand this time. Then, after reflection, she did stand.

And she did pretty well, increasing her vote and her share of the vote, and cutting Robin Walker’s majority to just under 2,500.

11 Worcester news readers say keep the hunting ban – which they helped bring in

The story goes that the hunting ban originated because Worcester’s Labour MP Mike Foster asked Worcester News readers what he should do with a private member’s bill – and they said ban hunting.

When Theresa May said she would offer MPs a free vote on repealing it, as party of her election campaign, readers didn’t like it.

A poll in the paper revealed 68 per cent backed the ban, with 31 per cent going the other way and one per cent unsure.

And now the PM is said to have dropped the idea of putting a repeal of the ban to Parliament.

12 County anthem to be Elgar air?

It’s a favourite at the last Night of the Proms, and Land of Hope and Glory, which uses Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance march as its tune, could be the county’s official anthem.

City and County Councillor Richard Udall proposed the song becomes the Worcestershire anthem, and got approval in the chamber at County Hall.

He said: "Personally I believe it should be our national anthem but at the moment I would happily settle for its adoption as the anthem for the county.

"Sir Edward Elgar is one of the county’s most famous sons, his music is known not just nationally but internationally.

"He may not have written the lyrics to Land of Hope and Glory but the music is well known for being from Worcestershire and we should celebrate that fact."