The Queen’s Speech on 14 October 2019 delivered an outline of the Government's proposed policies and legislation for the coming session of Parliament.
It is worth remembering that we currently have a minority government (minus 43 majority) and the UK's departure from the European Union (Brexit) remains unclear. There could also be a general election shortly. All these factors mean that the announcements in the Queen's Speech are subject to significant change.
If the Queen’s Speech is voted down by Parliament, this could lead to a vote of no confidence in the government. The last time this happened was in 1924, leading to Stanley Baldwin’s resignation as prime minister and the opposition forming a new government.
Key announcements in the speech:
- To secure the UK's departure from the EU on 31 October (Brexit) and to work towards a new partnership with the EU based on free trade and friendly cooperation.
- New regimes for fisheries, agriculture and trade, seizing the opportunities that arise from leaving the EU.
- Championing global free trade, working alongside international partners.
- A new immigration bill to "lay the foundation for a fair, modern and global immigration system". The government remains committed to ensuring that resident European citizens have the right to remain. (But will the bill be workable for key sectors such as social care, hospitality, food & drink and construction?)
- A new economic plan (Budget) will be underpinned by a responsible fiscal strategy, investing in economic growth while maintaining the stability of the public finances.
- New measures to support and strengthen the NHS, its workforce and resources. This includes a new independent body to investigate serious healthcare incidents.
- Reforms to adult social care to ensure dignity in old age, and reform to the Mental Health Act. (We await the much promised green paper on this that was promised in the 2017 Conservative Party election manifesto).
- Measures to ensure young people have access to excellent education and all girls have access to 12 years of quality education.
- A new bill on the allocation of tips.
- Employment reform, building on previous government consultations
- Simpler oversight of pensions savings and greater powers to tackle irresponsible management of private pension schemes.
- A long term vision to improve the nation's digital, transport and energy infrastructure. New legislation to accelerate the delivery of fast, reliable broadband to millions of homes, and proposals on railway reform will be brought forward.
- Environmental principles will be enshrined in law to "protect and improve the environment for future generations.
- Measures being introduced include improving air and water quality, tackling plastic pollution and restoring habitats.
- An Animal Welfare Bill, including banning imports on trophy hunting.
- A commitment to working with all parties in Northern Ireland to support the return of devolved government.
- Bills from last session are carried over or reintroduced, including Domestic Violence Bill and the bill to bring in ‘no fault’ divorce
- A commitment to solving the most complex international security issues.
Background notes to the speech
Autumn 2019 Budget
A provisional date of 6 November has been announced for the Autumn Budget, but this is subject to change if there is a no-deal Brexit.
We have previously covered what might be in the Budget here.
By Gary Mackley-Smith