Over a third of the 26 bills mentioned in the Queen's speech replace, remove or renew EU measures as others offer a populist stance on 'law and order'.
The Queen’s Speech was delivered today in a clear pre-election bid by Boris Johnson. However, over a third of the 26 bills announced are post-Brexit fixes.
There will also be new regimes for agriculture, fisheries and the end of Freedom of Movement. A bill will also allow for the UK to arrest criminals subject to warrants from ‘trusted countries’ – which will replace the EU arrest warrant. However, it is unclear if and how this would be reciprocal.
Alex Sobel MP from the Love Socialism, Hate Brexit group of MPs said “The Queen’s Speech has been cynically used to drive forward an untenable and impractical deadline for Brexit and a fantasy world of a prosperous Britain making quick and profitable trade deals.
“The reality is Boris Johnson faces a parliament of realists and we will aim to legislate for any deal to be confirmed by the public.”
The speech also presented bills that called for tougher prison sentences. But penal reform campaigners have long argued this is not an approach that will reduce reoffending. Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform said: “This is not a sensible, evidence-based policy; it is the politics of the lynch mob.
“This is about making people spend more time in prison, which will affect thousands of men and will probably put staff in danger by taking hope away from people.
“We already know that prisoners are in appalling conditions, with a lot of violence, injury and suicides. A lot of it is directed at staff. This is very irresponsible.”
There were also announcements that covered Health and Social Care, but these lacked detailed plans about what was to be done in these areas beyond some additional spending.
Commenting on the speech, General Secretary of Unison, Dave Prentis said: “After years of painful cuts, health, schools, town hall and police employees will be relieved. Public services are at long last to get the funding so cruelly denied them.
“But if ending austerity were so easy to end, it’s a pity the government couldn’t have scrapped its damaging economic policies a long while ago.
“Services are at breaking point and will need substantial investment if they are to recover – especially social care.
“We’ll all be expecting the government to keep its promises. Now isn’t the time for game playing or cheap political stunts. Next month’s Budget must deliver for public services.”
Other bills include a controversial measure to require ID for voting, a strengthening of compensation for those caught up in the Windrush scandal and measures to end trophy hunting.
Emma Burnell is a freelance journalist and consultant.
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