A background of turnips with Thérèse Coffey's face in a circle in the bottom left.

February 2023 in review

While February 2024 might be closer, it is time to reflect on the biggest stories from February 2023.

The month marked a year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ongoing war between the two countries. You can read more about how a year of the conflict was marked here.

Turkey-Syria earthquakes

On 6 February, two earthquakes of 7.8 and 7.5 magnitudes hit Turkey, killing over 50,000 people.

26 million people were affected as infrastructure was destroyed.

The impacts of the earthquake are still felt by those affected, with agencies such as the Red Cross the World Health still working in the area.

The earthquake also became a significant part of the Turkish presidential elections later in the year.

There was criticism of President Erdogan and the Turkish government for delaying the rescue efforts and politicising the disaster.

Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation

Nicola Sturgeon caught people off-guard on a Wednesday morning in February, announcing that she was going to stand down as First Minister of Scotland after eight years in office.

Citing wanting to return to her personal life, going to coffee with friends and spending more time with family, many questioned the timing.

She had just gone toe-to-toe with the British government over the Gender Recognition Reform bill and there has been a longstanding debate within the SNP over the best way to achieve independence.

Also making front pages was the finances of the SNP and her knowledge and involvement of what was donated when.

Shortly after Humza Yousaf was elected, her husband, Peter Murrell was arrested and a white evidence tent was put up outside their home.

The former First Minister was a force for the Scottish Nationalist cause and a longstanding figure in British politics, whatever the circumstances around her resignation, her tenure was significant.

Food shortages and turnip gate

In possibly the best political statements of the year, then Environment Secretary, Thérèse Coffey, told MPs that people should be eating turnips if they were eating seasonally.

At a time of fruit and veg shortages in supermarkets with many restricting the number of salad items you could buy.

The suggestion of eating turnips over tomatoes went viral on social media, and No.10 said that she was promoting British produce, not telling people what to eat.

A combination of poor weather across the board and rising energy costs meant that UK farmers stopped or delayed growing produce and harvesters internationally could not fill the gap.

Image credit: Mike Mozart and Chris McAndrew

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