Trump's visit, fox hunting and all the other things dropped in Theresa May's Queen's Speech
A lot of manifesto commitments have bitten the dust
If you were a tl:dr kinda guy on the whole ‘election’ thing, then let us save you the bother: it didn’t go very well for Theresa May.
Having thrown away her majority on an election she didn’t need to call, she’s spent the days since the shock result desperately trying to piece together a deal with the ultra-conservative Northern Irish DUP party to retain power via a loose coalition. With their 10 seats added to the 318 Tory ones, it gives her a total of 328 seats, with the rest on 322 (although Sinn Fein do not sit in Parliament with their seven seats. However, it means that if just seven MPs vote against that coalition, they will lose a vote – therefore, it will not be easy for them – to put it mildly – to get all the things they promised in their manifesto through Parliament.
Bearing that in mind, it was always going to be interesting to see what happened at today’s Queen’s Speech – already delayed by two days because of the ongoing talks between the DUP and the Tories – where Her Majesty outlines the Government’s legislative agenda for the coming year (in this case, the coming two years, since May has ordered a rare two-year Parliament in order to focus on Brexit).
Gone are a host of potentially unpopular policies, and what remains is, unsurprisingly, pretty Brexit-heavy. Here are the key points:
- GRAMMAR SCHOOLS: Gone are plans to expand grammar schools
- THE ‘DEMENTIA TAX’: May’s deeply unpopular plans for social care reform have been postponed
-FOX HUNTING: No mention of a vote on re-legalising fox hunting
- TRUMP’S STATE VISIT: The Queen normally mentions details of any state visits, and the King and Queen of Spain’s visit in July was referred to. So this means no trip to the UK for Donald Trump
- FREE SCHOOL LUNCHES: Now not being scrapped
- SERIOUS FRAUD OFFICE: Now no plans to abolish it (it was due to be be rolled into the UK’s wider criminal investigation agency, the National Crime Agency)
- PRISON REFORM PLANS: Dropped
- BREXIT: Eight Brexit bills are kept, as expected. The Guardian reports that “Downing Street says the great repeal bill “won’t put any constraints on the withdrawal agreement we will make” which crucially leaves open the door to any type of Brexit, whether hard or soft”
- TECHNOLOGY: Measures on electric cars, developing commercial satellites and extending smart metering
- CITIZENS’ RIGHTS: The energy cap is still in there, albeit in a weaker form as a non-legislative measure, there are plans to tackle unfair tenants’ fees and to help reduce car insurance premiums and a draft bill to improve victims’ rights in the criminal justice system
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: New plans to tackle domestic violence with a special commissioner and new protection and sentencing powers
- GRENFELL TOWER: As expected, a public inquiry into the fire
Oh, and the Queen decided to turn up looking like the EU flag.
Will they actually get any of this through? Time will tell.