Thin speech shows the Conservatives' loss of confidence
Today’s Queen’s Speech confirmed many of the progressive victories that follow from the general election, with many of the most controversial Tory manifesto pledges excluded from the speech altogether.
There was no mention of fox hunting or grammar schools, and the social care plans have been watered down with the government now suggesting a consultation rather than solid proposals. Additionally, the speech made no mention of Donald Trump, which confirms that the president’s visit has been postponed in the face of public and political resistance.
Overall, the speech was remarkably thin, with few legislative proposals of any kind beyond the plans for Brexit. Indeed, in a number of areas (such as social care and counter-terrorism), the government is promising reviews and consultation rather than actual legislative change.
The speech began with discussion of Brexit, although the language has been watered down. For instance, rather than specifically mentioning the ‘Great Repeal Bill’, the Queen announced that ‘a bill will be introduced to repeal the European Communities Act and provide certainty for individuals and business’.
“This will be complemented by legislation to ensure that the United Kingdom makes a success of Brexit, establishing new national policies on immigration, international sanctions, nuclear safeguards, agriculture, and fisheries.”
The speech reflects the prime minister’s lack of confidence that she can get major legislation through, and certainly her fears over the most regressive of her manifesto pledges. And of course, it’s not clear whether the government can to pass the speech at all, since it has failed to reach an agreement with the DUP.
The government hopes that this speech will set the agenda for the next two years. But few would be surprised to see the Queen back in parliament before 2019.Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.