Queen's Speech: What is on Boris Johnson's to-do list?

By Laurence Sleator & Daniel Kraemer
BBC Political Research Unit


Sitting on the Sovereign's Throne, Elizabeth II delivered the 65th Queen's Speech of her reign to Parliament earlier.

The speech outlined the government's agenda for the coming parliamentary session, with 26 bills - pieces of proposed legislation - spanning health, education, defence, technology, transport and crime, as well as Brexit.

Here's what the Queen's Speech contained, and what it may mean in practice.


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What the speech said: "My government intends to work towards a new partnership with the European Union, based on free trade and friendly co-operation."

What it means: If Boris Johnson can secure a deal this week - which is backed by MPs - he will then need to pass the European Union Agreement Bill, ratifying it into UK law.

Her Majesty also spoke of "new regimes" post-Brexit for fisheries, agriculture and trade and a new immigration system. All of these require new laws.

Law and order

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What the speech said: "My government is committed to addressing violent crime, and to strengthening public confidence in the criminal justice system."

What it means: Law and order dominated the government's announcements. They included separate bills covering sentencing, foreign national criminals, extradition, serious violence, prisoners and police protections.

The extradition bill would create powers to immediately arrest suspected criminals who are in the UK but wanted in other "trusted" countries.

The sentencing bill would push back the automatic release point for violent and sexual offenders from half-way to two-thirds of the way through a sentence.

A Foreign Nationals Offenders Bill would increase the maximum punishment for those who return to the UK in breach of a deportation order.


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What the speech said: "Proposals on railway reform will be brought forward."

What it means: Ministers are signalling that a new commercial model for the railways will arrive in 2020, replacing the existing franchised system - with more details to be published soon.


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What the speech said: "New laws will be taken forward to help implement the National Health Service's Long Term Plan in England."

What it means: On top of a renewed commitment to the plan - first published under Theresa May - the government will focus on improving mental health care and will bring in new laws aimed at improving patient safety and increasing the number of clinical trials for new drugs.

Health is devolved, so Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have other plans.

Adult social care

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What the speech said: "My government will bring forward proposals to reform adult social care in England to ensure dignity in old age."

What it means: In the long term, ministers are promising a further consultation - in the form of a green paper - on reforming the existing system.

In the shorter term, local authorities could be allowed to increase council tax by an extra 2% to raise £500m towards paying for care for the elderly.


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What the speech said: "For the first time ever, environmental principles will be enshrined into law."

What it means: Recalling especially pollutant vehicles, charges for certain single-use plastics and protecting trees are just some of the measures being considered in a new environment bill.

There is also a strong focus on animal welfare, with bills pledged increasing the sentence for animal cruelty.


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What the speech said: "A white paper will be published to set out my government's ambitions for unleashing regional potential in England, and to enable decisions that affect local people to be made at a local level."

What it means: The government is not committing to specific new laws in this area, but the policy paper is expected to expand the number, powers and funding of local mayors in England.

Grenfell and Windrush

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What the speech said: "My Ministers... will bring forward laws to implement new building safety standards."

What it means: With the continuing fall-out from the Grenfell disaster in 2017, ministers plan to put into law a new safety framework for high-rise housing blocks.

It would include giving local residents more of a say and putting in place strong significant sanctions for house builders that don't meet the safety standards.

The government also plans to pass a new law to secure the compensation scheme for victims of the Windrush scandal.

Drones and tips

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What the speech said on drones: "An aviation bill will provide for the effective and efficient management of the UK's airspace."

What it means: A bill would give police more powers to tackle unlawful use of drones and other model aircraft following last year's high-profile disruption at Gatwick airport.

What the speech said on tips: "Take steps to make work fairer, introducing measures that will support those working hard."

What it means: This is a popular measure, welcomed by Labour, that would force employers in England and Wales to distribute all tips to workers without deductions.

ID for voting

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What the speech said: "My government will take steps to protect the integrity of democracy and the electoral system."

What it means: A new law is being touted which would require people to show photo ID to vote in UK elections.

Labour says this is an attempt to "rig" the next election, by suppressing turnout among younger and ethnic minority voters.

Carried-over bills

There are four pieces of legislation that were "carried over" from the last session.

This means the government has decided to carry on from where they left off before prorogation, rather than starting from scratch.

The four include the Domestic Abuse Bill, which has cross-party support and started its journey through Parliament at the beginning of October.

What next?

After six days of debate, MPs will vote on the Queen's Speech and any amendments made by MPs.

Boris Johnson, who does not have a majority in the Commons, is at risk of potential defeat. The last PM to lose such a vote was Stanley Baldwin in 1924.