Queen's Speech: David Cameron says plans will rebuild Britain

 

The Queen sets out the government's plans for the year ahead

David Cameron has hailed the coalition's plans for the year ahead as a "Queen's Speech to rebuild Britain".

They include flexible parental leave, breaking up the banks and exempting the UK from euro bailouts.

Lords reform is the most controversial measure in a slimmed down programme but the PM said boosting growth and cutting the deficit were his top priorities.

He denied Labour claims the plans include nothing to get young people into work or kick start the economy.

The prime minister told MPs: "Let me say exactly what this Queen's Speech is about. It is about a government taking the tough, long-term decisions to restore our country to strength.

"Dealing with the deficit, rebalancing the economy and building a society that rewards people who work hard and do the right thing."

Labour leader Ed Miliband said his party would support measures such as parental leave and a Green Investment Bank - but the Queen's Speech contained nothing for the young unemployed, working families and "millions of people who don't think the government is on their side".

David Cameron say the government is "taking tough decisions to help families who work hard and do the right thing"

"No change, no hope - that is the real message of this Queen's Speech," Mr Miliband told MPs.

The legislative programme - unveiled by the Queen in a speech to MPs and peers - contained 15 bills and four draft bills, a much slimmer programme than in previous years.

It had been billed as a fightback for the coalition after the Conservatives and their Lib Dem partners suffered heavy losses at last week's local elections.

BBC Political Correspondent Norman Smith said it was a "hotch potch" of bills with "no over-arching theme", explicitly designed to prevent the government from becoming "bogged down" with difficult legislation when it should be focusing on the economy.

But some fear that the inclusion of House of Lords reform in the legislative programme will stoke tensions between the two governing parties, with some Tory MPs strongly opposed to the plans.

Key legislation in the Queen's Speech includes:

  • Children and Families Bill: Mothers in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to transfer maternity leave to their partners. There will be better support for special needs pupils and improved access arrangements for divorced fathers in England. The adoption process in England will also be reformed to end delays and making inter-racial adoption easier
  • Banking Reform Bill: Splitting banks into separate retail and investment arms
  • Draft Communications Bill: Making it easier for police and intelligence agencies to access, store and share data on private phone calls and email communications
  • Crime and Courts Bill: Moving towards televised court proceedings and creating a specific offence of driving under the influence of drugs. Establishing a National Crime Agency
  • Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill: Curbing the power of large supermarkets and ensuring suppliers are "treated fairly and lawfully" through a new independent adjudicator
  • Electoral Registration and Administration Bill: Introducing individual voter registration to cut down on fraud

There is also a bill to establish a Green Investment Bank, make it easier for firms to sack workers by reforming the employment tribunal system and to strengthen shareholders' ability to curb directors' pay.

More detail on measures

But Lords reform is likely to prove the most hotly-contested measure, with some Conservative MPs likely to fight plans for a smaller and mostly-elected second chamber.

In a joint statement, Mr Cameron and his Lib Dem deputy Nick Clegg said: "The primary task of the government remains ensuring that we deal with the deficit and stretch every sinew to return growth to the economy, providing jobs and opportunities to hard-working people across Britain who want to get on."

But they insisted pushing ahead with Lords reform was in the best interests of the country.

"We believe that power should be passed from the politicians at Westminster back to the people of Britain, which is why we will keep the promise in our parties' manifestos and reform the House of Lords, because those who make laws for the people should answer to the people."

Labour's Sadiq Khan said it was "not clear" how ministers planned to reform the House of Lords, or whether it remained a priority for the government. He also noted it made no mention of a referendum.

'Snooper's charter'

Proposals to give parents the right to request flexible working, such as fewer hours and job sharing, throughout their working lives also appear to have been dropped.

And there was no mention of legalising gay marriage, which will please some Conservative backbenchers who have criticised it as a distraction from fixing the economy, but the Home Office said it remained committed to introducing same-sex civil marriage "by the end of this Parliament" and a consultation was "still ongoing".

Planned reforms to adult social care in England also look a way off after the much-delayed publication of a government White Paper, which is now expected in the summer.

A bill to make it easier for the police and security services to intercept personal data has been published in draft form only, allowing for greater scrutiny before it becomes law, will please Lib Dem and Tory backbenchers angry at what they saw as plans for a "snooper's charter".

There is also a measure to deal with negative headlines generated by Chancellor George Osborne's decision to increase tax on charitable donations from the super rich, announced in last month's Budget.

When Black Rod summoned MPs, Dennis Skinner said: "Jubilee year, double-dip recession, what a start"

A Small Donations Bill will provide a top up payment similar to Gift Aid to charities that receive small cash donations of £20 or less, enabling them to claim 25p for every £1 collected in the UK, on up to £5,000 of small donations.

In his Commons response to the speech Labour leader Ed Miliband also questioned why Lords reform was in the speech when senior ministers had said it was not a big priority.

He contrasted it with the absence of other coalition pledges, such as reforming adult social care, enshrining in law a commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on foreign aid and reform of lobbying rules.

He said Mr Cameron's proposals showed the government "just don't get it".

 

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  • Comment number 690.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 689.

    676 - "It wasn't really a boom. It was a lie.That was the problem.

    Banks fiddled to create the illusory profits and governments didn't ask the questions they should have because of the tax receipts."

    Then more shame on Labour. The tax receipts were real but the boom was an illusion.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 688.

    "joan
    The present government was NOT given a mandate to govern"

    Yes they were. The coalition commands a majority of MPs and so they have a mandate to govern. You might prefer a different way of running the country and discerning the popular will, but this is the one we have so put up with it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 687.

    664Cheddy
    656DancinPaganTheMadKiltie
    I don't think that's quite fair unless you are trying to stir up some "anti-rich" comments.
    -
    Not advocating rioting, but there does seem to be an unequal application of the law when the powers that be want to make an example out of someone for their own purposes.

    Rape affects people for the rest of their lives, not just a few days & this was organised crime

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 686.

    @ 641.Gort2012
    "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."

    And our career Politicians from their wealthy upbringing can't wait to leave Eton/Oxbridge to be corrupted to the max in Government - it's in their genetics.

    Corruption for them it seems is as natural as breathing.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 685.

    I really wonder how many people commenting here actually listened to the Queen's speech. In no way was reform of the House of Lords given priority over the economy - it's totally untrue to suggest otherwise. Typically, Labour have voiced opposition to everything, without offering anything in the way of a viable alternative.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 684.

    The government, and in particular the liberals don't get it, WE DON'T WANT LORDS REFORM! How out of touch can you get. I still blame labour for the mess we're in and I don't trust Miliband and Balls but the coalition need to sort their ideas out and focus on sorting out the economy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 683.

    662.BigFacedBoy
    "Think of the money and jobs gay marriage could make. There is no sense, only prejudice, in not allowing it"

    Your first para' was ok & made a lot of sense,
    but you blew it with your second one, shown above.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 682.

    654. granger18

    Better still, this sham of a government should call a national election

    --

    I don't know why the coalition bothers to set out what bills it is going to progress through parliament as the public never bother to read, or understand, the ones that have already been enacted.

    The Fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011 means that the government can't call an early election

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 681.

    There's one sure fire way to win the next election: Tackle the fuel crisis. Not a single one political party in the country has declared any interest in tackling the most pressing issue for the largest number of people in the country. OUT OF TOUCH!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 680.

    670. MrJimMorrison

    It's not me you need to convince. We know the coalition have heard those arguments and Balls and Milliband keep raising them. They have decided on a course of action you disagree with. That's democracy. Whether it will work remains to be seen but they have done the legislating and we need to see what happens. Legislating more before we know is not a good idea.

  • Comment number 679.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 678.

    They should be introducing a law to increase the protection of children who are subjected to sexual exploitation and rape as in the recent case of the Asian men targetting those poor young girls.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 677.

    The economy matters, but who will say that it's an end in itself? Social care, electoral reform and marriage equality are important issues even if they don't have a direct effect on you. It's these so called "peripheral" issues that help shape the character of our country.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 676.

    635. Divots

    Labour supporters need to hang their heads in shame. Their party had 13 years power during boom economic times
    -----------

    It wasn't really a boom. It was a lie.That was the problem.

    Banks fiddled to create the illusory profits and governments didn't ask the questions they should have because of the tax receipts.

    Yet, still no bank reform.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 675.

    655

    The present government was NOT given a mandate to govern neither of the parties had votes necessary to allow any of the present coaltion to govern they just hitched a ride together and as a subsequence of this hitching together betrayed any voters who voted for them. Most people would not have voted either Tory or Lib/Dem in order for them to shack up
    together together

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 674.

    630. Centres for Stuff I Heard from Some Guy
    "Switzerland is composed of 4 linguistic groups...... Their main invention: Cuckoo clocks!"
    >>>
    Hearty congratulations to the Swiss then - at least they know where to put their cuckoos!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 673.

    "Banking Reform Bill: Splitting banks into separate retail and investment arms"

    So now we can be shafted 2 ways. Spit roast anyone?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 672.

    Yet more freedoms gone... More of our money spent on these ridiculous schemes and ideas that this Government keep spewing out like some sort of political vomit. Politicians listen carefully, Your days are numbered, the time has come for the people to take back power from this criminal class... Your time is up, it wont be today, or tomorrow but it is coming. Revolution is in the air!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 671.

    In 40 odd years I saw for the first time the whole queens speach and its pageantry. What a show of the rich and famous it is where the party becomes a public affair for all of 30mins A world that just doesn't fit into todays society. Its old, gloomy and clearly out of touch. I cannot see the point to these silly ceremonies. Yes they are history but it doesnt mean we have to constantly reenact them

 

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