IN a three-part series, we have examined some of the key events of the past 12 months at which have taken place at Westminster and also at Holyrood.

In the final part, we now look at some of what’s in store for 2024 in the world of politics …

THE past year has hardly offered a quiet time in the political world, with turmoil facing the SNP and the gradual implosion of the Tories.

Not to mention surprises such as the emergence of explosive WhatsApp messages which revealed how the Cabinet was described as “useless f**pigs” and current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak branded “Dr Death” and the shock return to government of former Tory prime minister David Cameron.

It seems like mere moments ago that the SNP leadership race was on after the shock resignation of Nicola Sturgeon.

But Humza Yousaf will celebrate his first year as the SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland in March. 

He is likely to continue to face criticism from the opposition over the SNP’s domestic track record as well as the tricky territory of a looming General Election and the threat of a Labour resurgence in Scotland.

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However, Yousaf is optimistic, saying he is looking for his party not just to hold seats at Westminster but to “win as many seats as we possibly can”.

It remains to be seen how a fall in support for his party suggested by polls will play out at the ballot box.

Whatever the outcome, with support for Yes remaining high, the independence campaign will continue with more rallies planned for 2024

READ MORE: Review of the year 2023: What’s happened in Scottish politics

Before that, there is the issue of the investigation into Health Secretary Michael Matheson’s iPad bill, with the early findings due to be given to him in January

Other issues from 2023 hanging over the party include the investigation into the SNP’s finances known as Operation Branchform.

It has seen high-profile party figures, including former first minister Nicola Sturgeon arrested and released without charge, but the probe has yet to reach a conclusion.

Also continuing to make headlines is likely to be the Bute House agreement with the Greens – with tensions over calls for the powersharing deal between the two parties to end.

And there will be reflections on the progress of devolution as with the 25th anniversary of the first meeting of the Scottish Parliament.

The year at Westminster of course is likely to be dominated by speculation over one issue – no, not whether Larry the cat will finally leave Downing Street in disgust - judging by his appearance in this video - but the small matter of a General Election.

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The date has yet to be set, but it looks like autumn will see the battle of Sunak vs Starmer, with the “hardest politician in Britain” aka the SNP’s Stephen Flynn waiting in the wings hoping to take on the role of kingmaker.

The waters will be tested with a by-election in Wellingborough, taking place following a recall petition triggered by Tory MP Peter Bone’s suspension from the Commons following a bullying and sexual misconduct inquiry.

A date will be set when Parliament returns in January for the vote in this Northamptonshire constituency, which has swung between the Tories and Labour.

There’s also likely to be a New Year showdown between Sunak and the Tories who want to see his flagship Rwanda bill tightened further.

Will any splits leave room for Suella Braverman who famously said it is her “dream” and “obsession” to see a flight take asylum seekers to Rwanda to make a comeback?

Elsewhere will former transport, home, business, energy security and now Defence Secretary Grant Shapps achieve his apparent bid to complete the full deck of Cabinet positions by the time the General Election rolls around?

Another question is whether Labour leader Keir Starmer will end up performing so many U-turns on policies that he ends up precisely where he started with his now-deleted 10 key pledges ...

The UK vote will see some well-known politicians leave whether they like it or not – but a raft of MPs have already announced they are stepping down.

Scottish Tory leader and “four-jobs” Douglas Ross will not stand as an MP again, no doubt leaving room for him to squeeze in more games as a referee – or somehow end up with even more jobs than he started with.

READ MORE: Review of the year 2023: What’s happened in UK politics?

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has also announced he is going – and leaving the door open to accepting a peerage and entering the House of Lords afterwards.

A total of nine SNP MPs have also ruled out standing again, which include the party’s former Westminster leader Ian Blackford, former deputy leader Stewart Hosie and current deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black (below), along with Dr Philippa Whitford, John McNally, Patrick Grady, Douglas Chapman, Peter Grant and Angela Crawley.

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Other well-known names who are quitting include the longest-standing female MP, Labour’s Harriet Harman, former Tory health secretary Matt Hancock, who is now an Independent, former deputy prime minister Dominic Raab, who quit the Cabinet over bullying claims and Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP.

Meanwhile, there will be a leadership contest in Wales after Mark Drakeford announced he would be standing down as First Minister and the leader of Welsh Labour in March. Two candidates will be vying for the top job – education minister Jeremy Miles and economy minister Vaughan Gething.

The end of the year will also see the 60th US presidential election take place – which is expected to be like no other with the prospect of Joe Biden, the oldest president in the country’s history, battling with Donald Trump, the first former US president to stand trial on criminal charges.

Whatever else happens, there's no doubt 2024 is shaping up to be a dramatic election year.