Monarch – Elizabeth II
Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher (Conservative)
2 January – Workers at British Steel Corporation go on a nationwide strike over pay called by the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation, which has some 90,000 members among British Steel's 150,000 workforce, in a bid to get a 20% rise. It is the first steelworks strike since 1926.
19 January – The first UK Indie Chart is published in Record Week.
20 January – The British record TV audience for a film is set when some 23,500,000 viewers tune in for the ITV showing of the James Bond film Live and Let Die (1973), starring Roger Moore who is at this time in the process of filming For Your Eyes Only.
21 January – MS Athina B is beached at Brighton.
28 January – Granada Television airs a controversial edition of World in Action on ITV, in which it alleges that Manchester United F.C. chairman Louis Edwards has made unauthorised payments to the parents of some of the club's younger players and has made shady deals to win local council meat contracts for his retail outlet chain.
14 February – Margaret Thatcher announces that state benefit to strikers will be halved.
14 – 23 February – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, United States, and win one gold medal (Robin Cousins for figure skating).
17 February – British Steel Corporation announces that more than 11,000 jobs will be axed at its plants in Wales by the end of next month.
First episode of the popular political television sitcom Yes Minister broadcast by the BBC.
Manchester United chairman Louis Edwards dies from a heart attack at the age of 65, just weeks after allegations about his dealings with Manchester United and his retail outlet chain.
10 March – An opinion poll conducted by the Evening Standard suggests that six out of 10 Britons are dissatisfied with Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, who now trail Labour (still led by James Callaghan, the former prime minister) in the opinion polls.
19–20 March – Radio Caroline, the pirate radio station, is forced to cease transmission when MV Mi Amigo, the ship on which it is based, runs aground and sinks off the Thames Estuary.
The British Olympic Association vote to defy the government, and send athletes to the Olympic Games to be held in Moscow, USSR in the summer.
Robert Runcie enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury.
26 March – The budget raises tax allowances and duties on petrol, alcohol and tobacco.
British Leyland agrees to sell the MG cars factory at Abingdon to a consortium headed by Aston Martin-Lagonda when the plant closes this autumn.
National Heritage Act sets up the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
Vauxhall, the British division of General Motors, launches the Astra, a front-wheel drive hatchback which replaces the recently discontinued Viva and is based on the latest Opel Kadett. Although the car is currently produced in West Germany and Belgium, there are plans for British production to commence at the Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire next year.
1 April – The steelworkers' strike is called off.
4 April - Alton Towers Resort is opened by Madame Tussauds in Staffordshire.
10 April – The UK reaches agreement with Spain to re-open its border with Gibraltar.
18 April – Zimbabwe becomes independent of the United Kingdom.
22 April – Unemployment stands at a two-year high of more than 1.5million.
30 April – The Iranian Embassy Siege begins. A six-man terrorist team calling itself the "Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan" (DRMLA) captures the Embassy of Iran in Prince's Gate, Knightsbridge, central London, taking 26 hostages.
1 May – British Aerospace privatised.
3 May – Liverpool win the Football League First Division title for 12th time.
5 May – The SAS storm the Iranian Embassy building, kill 5 out of the 6 terrorists and free all the hostages.
10 May – West Ham United win the FA Cup with a 1–0 victory over Arsenal in the final at Wembley Stadium. Trevor Brooking scores the only goal of the game to make West Ham United only the second team from the Second Division to have won the trophy in postwar years. It is West Ham's third FA Cup triumph.
16 May – Inflation has risen to 21.8%.
27 May – Inquest into the death of New Zealand born teacher Blair Peach (who was killed during a demonstration against the National Front last year) returns a verdict of misadventure, resulting in a public outcry.
28 May – Nottingham Forest retain the European Cup with a 1–0 win over Hamburger SV, the West German league champions, in Madrid. The winning goal is scored by Scotland international John Robertson. The European Cup has now been won by an English club for the fourth successive year, as Liverpool won it for two consecutive years before Forest's first victory last year.
British Leyland launches its Morris Ital range of family saloons and estates, which are a reworking of the nine-year-old Marina that was one of Britain's most popular cars during the 1970s. Production is expected to finish by 1984 when an all-new front-wheel drive model is added to the range, and sales begin on 1 August – the same day that the new W-registered cars go on sale.
The UK economy slides into recession.
6 June – Two Malaysian men are jailed for 14 years after being found guilty of running a drug smuggling ring in London which generated millions of pounds.
12 June – Gail Kinchen (a pregnant 16-year-old) and her unborn baby are accidentally shot dead by a police marksman who entered the Birmingham flat where her boyfriend David Pagett is holding her hostage at gunpoint. 
17 June – Secretary of State for Defence, Francis Pym reveals to the House of Commons that US nuclear cruise missiles would be located at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire and the disused RAF Molesworth base in Cambridgeshire.
19 June – Gunmen attack the British embassy in Iraq; three unknown attackers are shot dead by Iraqi security forces.
24 June – Unemployment is announced to have reached a postwar high of 1,600,000.
26 June – The Glasgow Central by-election is held, with Labour retaining its hold on the seat despite a swing of 14% to the Scottish National Party.
30 June – The pre-decimal sixpence coin is withdrawn from circulation.
1 July – MG's Abingdon car factory looks set to close completely this autumn as Aston Martin fails to raise the funds to buy it from British Leyland.
8 July – Miners threatening to strike demand a 37% pay increase, ignoring pleas from Margaret Thatcher to hold down wage claims.
10 July – Alexandra Palace in London gutted by fire.
19 July – 3 August – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Olympics in Moscow and win 5 gold, 7 silver and 9 bronze medals.
22 July – Unemployment has hit a 44-year high of nearly 1.9 million.
29 July – Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announces the introduction of Enterprise Zones as an employment relief effort in some of regions of Britain which have been hardest hit by deindustrialisation and unemployment.
Undated: Britain is now in recession for the second time in five years following two successive quarters of economic contraction, which worsened from 0.9% in the first quarter of the year to 1.8% in the second quarter.
11 August – Margaret Thatcher visits the Harold Hill area of East London to hand of the keys to the 12,000th council tenants in Britain to buy their home under the right to buy scheme. However, she is met by jeering from neighbours of the family.
15 August – 37 people die as a result of fires started by arson at adjacent London nightclubs.
28 August – Unemployment now stands at 2million for the first time since 1935. Economists warn that it could rise to up to 2.5million by the end of next year.
1 September – Ford launches one of the most important new cars of the year – the mark 3 Escort, which is a technological innovation in the small family car market, spelling the end of the traditional rear-wheel drive saloon in favour of the front-wheel drive hatchback, and following a trend in this sector of car which is being repeated all over Western Europe. An estate version is also available.
9 September – Bibby Line’s Liverpool-registered ore-bulk-oil carrier MV Derbyshire sinks with the loss of all 44 crew south off Japan in Typhoon Orchid following structural failure. At 91,655 gross tons, she is the largest UK-registered ship ever lost.
11 September- The Marlborough diamond is stolen in London.
12 September – Marlborough diamond thieves Joseph Scalise and Arthur Rachel are arrested in Chicago after getting off a British Airways flight in the city. However, the stolen diamond has not been found.
13 September – Hercules, a bear which had gone missing on a Scottish island filming a Kleenex advertisement, is found.
21 September – First CND rally at RAF Greenham Common.
24 September – 34-year-old Singapore born doctor Upadhya Bandara is attacked and injured in Headingley, Leeds; the Yorkshire Ripper is believed to have been responsible.
3 October – The 1980 Housing Act comes into effect, giving council house tenants of three years' standing in England and Wales the right to buy their home from their local council at a discount.
6 October – Deregulation of express coach services.
8 October – British Leyland launches the Austin Metro, a small hatchback which uses much of the Mini's mechanical design but an entirely different body which offers more space and practicality. Production of the 21-year-old Mini, however, is set to continue for the foreseeable future, although it is expected to be scaled back along with that of the larger Austin Allegro.
9 October – Gloagtrotter of Perth, Scotland, trading as GT Coaches, begins operation of a coach service from Dundee to St Pancras, London, as The Stage Coach, origin of the Stagecoach Group.
10 October – Margaret Thatcher makes her famous "The lady's not for turning" speech to the Conservative Party conference after party MP's warn that her economic policy was responsible for the current recession and rising unemployment.
James Callaghan, ousted as prime minister by the Conservative victory 17 months ago, resigns as Labour Party leader after four and a half years.
Former prime minister Harold Macmillan, 86, criticises Margaret Thatcher's economic policies, claiming that she has "got the wrong answer" to the economic crises which she inherited from Labour last year. Her economic policies are also criticised by union leaders, who blame her policies for rising unemployment and bankruptcies, and warn that this could result in civil unrest.
17 October – Elizabeth II makes history by becoming the first British monarch to make a state visit to the Vatican.
22 October – Lord Thomson announces that The Times and Sunday Times will be closed down within five months unless a buyer is found.
24 October – MG car production ends after 56 years with the closure of the plant in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, where more than 1.1million MG cars have been built since it opened in 1924.
28 October – Margaret Thatcher declares that the government will not give in to seven jailed IRA terrorists who are on hunger strike in the Maze Prison in hope of winning prisoner of war status.
5 November – Theresa Sykes, a 16-year-old Huddersfield mother of a young baby, is wounded in a stabbing near her home in the town. The Yorkshire Ripper is believed to be responsible.
10 November – Michael Foot is elected Leader of the Labour Party.
13 November – George Smith, a security guard, is shot dead when the van he is guarding is intercepted by armed robbers in Willenhall, West Midlands. 
17 November – University student Jacqueline Hill, aged 20, is murdered in Headingley, Leeds.
19 November – Police investigating the murder of Jacqueline Hill establish that she was probably the 13th woman to be killed by the Yorkshire Ripper.
23 November – Despite the economy now being in recession and the government's monetarist economic policy to tackle inflation being blamed for the downturn, the government announces further public spending cuts and taxation rises.
8 December – John Lennon is shot dead in New York.
10 December – Frederick Sanger wins his second Nobel Prize in Chemistry, jointly with Walter Gilbert, "for their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids".
14 December – Thousands of music fans hold a 10-minute vigil in Liverpool for John Lennon.
18 December – Michael Foot's hopes of becoming prime minister in the next general election are given a boost by an MORI poll which shows Labour on 56% with a 24-point lead over the Conservatives.
An UFO is allegedly sighted near RAF Woodbridge. This and its subsequent sightings would be part of what was later known as the Rendlesham Forest incident, the most well known UFO incident to occur in Britain.
28 December – The Independent Broadcasting Authority award contracts for commercial broadcasting on ITV. TV-am is awarded the first ever breakfast TV contract, and is set to go on air by 1983.
Inflation has risen to 18% as Margaret Thatcher's battle against inflation is still in its early stages.
Britain becomes self-sufficient in oil.
Alton Towers begins development as a theme park.
Transcendental Meditation movement community established in Skelmersdale.
The economy contracts throughout the year, shrinking by 4% overall with the greatest decline occurring in the second quarter of the year at 1.8%.
The Alternative Service Book.
Douglas Adams' novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
Julian Barnes' first novel Metroland.
Anthony Burgess's novel Earthly Powers.
William Golding's novel Rites of Passage, first of the To the Ends of the Earth trilogy.
David Lodge's novel How Far Can You Go?.
Iris Murdoch's novel Nuns and Soldiers.
Barry Unsworth's novel Pascali's Island.
Benjamin Zephaniah's first poetry collection Pen Rhythm.
1 January — Richie Faulkner, rock guitarist (Judas Priest)
20 January — Jenson Button, racing driver
Ralf Little, footballer and actor
Steve Tully, footballer
13 March — Linda Clement, Scottish field hockey player
23 March - Russell Howard, English comedian and TV and radio presenter
29 March — Andy Scott-Lee, Welsh singer (3SL) & Pop Idol (series 2) contestant
Ben Freeman, actor
Cheryl Valentine, Scottish field hockey midfielder
8 May — Michelle McManus, Scottish singer, winner of Pop Idol (series 2) and TV host
9 May — Kate Richardson-Walsh, English field hockey player
30 May — Steven Gerrard, footballer
Martin Devaney, footballer
Oliver James, actor
2 June — Richard Skuse, rugby player
4 June — Philip Olivier, actor
10 June — Jovanka Houska, chess master
23 June — Jessica Taylor, singer Liberty X
29 June — Katherine Jenkins, mezzo soprano
18 July - Tasmin Lucia-Khan, TV news presenter
28 July — Leo Houlding, English rock climber
12 September — Kevin Sinfield, English rugby league player
14 October — Ben Whishaw, actor
26 October — Khalid Abdalla, Scottish-born actor
28 October — Alan Smith, footballer
12 November — Charlie Hodgson, English rugby union player
19 November — Adele Silva, actress
6 December — Steve Lovell, footballer
7 December — John Terry, footballer
20 December — Ashley Cole, footballer
25 December — Laura Sadler, television actress (died 2003)
11 January – Barbara Pym, novelist (born 1913)
18 January – Sir Cecil Beaton, photographer (born 1904)
17 February – Graham Sutherland, artist (born 1903)
1 March – Dixie Dean, football player (born 1907)
7 March – John Illingworth, yachtsman, yacht designer, and naval officer (born 1903)
29 April – Alfred Hitchcock, film director (born 1899)
14 May – Hugh Griffith, actor (born 1912)
18 May – Ian Curtis, musician and singer (Joy Division) (born 1956)
7 June – Elizabeth Craig, writer (born 1883)
12 June – Billy Butlin, founder of Butlins (born 1899, South Africa)
23 June – John Laurie, actor (born 1897)
1 July – C. P. Snow, novelist and physicist (born 1905)
24 July – Peter Sellers, actor (born 1925)
26 July – Kenneth Tynan, theatre critic (born 1927)
24 August – Yootha Joyce, actress (born 1927)
25 September – John Bonham, drummer (Led Zeppelin) (born 1948)
6 October – Hattie Jacques, Carry on films actress (heart attack) (born 1922)
4 November – Johnny Owen, boxer (born 1956)
22 November – Norah McGuinness, painter and illustrator (born 1901)
26 November – Rachel Roberts, actress (suicide) (born 1927)
3 December – Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists (born 1896)
8 December – John Lennon, singer, songwriter, and guitarist (The Beatles) (murdered) (born 1940)
1980 in the United Kingdom Wikipedia
Events from the year 1980 in the United Kingdom.