On February 1st this year nearly every news bulletin began with the words 'the UK has officially left the European Union'. Boris Johnson could have been forgiven for congratulating himself for fulfilling his constitutional promise to 'get Brexit done'. But there was another story in the news that day too - health officials were trying to find anyone who’d had close contact with two Chinese tourists being treated in Newcastle for coronavirus.
No one at the time could have predicted then that a virus which began thousands of miles away in China would shake the foundations of Britain’s system of government; ten months on all the nations of the United Kingdom are living under different social regimes, internal borders divide the country as never before, and even parts of England have been in open revolt against Westminster.
In this programme Edward Stourton will explore how Covid19 is rewriting the rules Britain’s leaders live by and ask where it could take the UK.
Producer: Ben Carter
Editor: Jasper Corbett