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AT-A-GLANCE: Everything included in Boris Johnson’s post-election victory Queen’s Speech

AT-A-GLANCE: Everything included in Boris Johnson’s post-election victory Queen’s Speech
7 min read

Boris Johnson’s second Queen’s Speech beefed-up the Tory agenda with a number of fresh bills introduced that were omitted from the state opening just three months ago. Anahita Hossein-Pour takes a detailed look.


BREXIT AND BORDERS

The first act from the Government will be delivering Brexit by 31 January through the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which ratifies the deal Mr Johnson secured in October. The EU bill is expected to be introduced to the House of Commons on Friday.

Further laws on agriculture, fisheries and trade will be brought forward to deal with the split from the Brussels, with a new Trade Remedies Authority being set up to deal with unfair trading practices.

The Conservatives’ Australian-style points-based system, laid out during the election campaign, also appears in the form of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill. 

Measures to resolve international legal disputes for UK businesses, families and individuals will also be established through a new Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill.

The Government has promised to bring in new financial services legislation in a bid to provide certainty and stability for the sector after Brexit.

NHS & PUBLIC SERVICES

Another eye-catching vow is the NHS Funding Bill, confirming a multi-year cash commitment to the health service.

According to the PM this act will make it illegal for ministers not to provide an extra £33.9billion a year by 2023/24 to the organisation.

The Queen’s Speech also mentions plans to set up a new NHS visa for qualified doctors, nurses and health workers to gain fast-tracked entry to the UK.

The Government programme meanwhile highlights the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill brought back from the October agenda, aimed at improving access to innovative medicines. 

The Health Service Safety Investigations Bill also re-appears, aimed at setting up an an independent body to investigate patient safety concerns. In a throwaway line that could have big implications, the Government meanwhile says it plans to “pursue reforms to make the NHS safer for patients”.

Despite no accompanying law, Mr Johnson also lays out plans for more funding for social care and commits ministers to work on a “cross-party consensus” for long-term reform of the ailing system.

Reforming the Mental Health Act also stays on the Government’s agenda.

SUPPORT WORKERS AND FAMILIES 

In a newly-minted section compared to the October speech, the Government spells out measures to boost workers’ rights and housing legislation.

The Employment Bill aims to support flexible working and extend unpaid carers’ leave entitlement, alongside a new law on renters’ reform to improve short-term tenants' protections and scrap “no-fault” evictions. 

In the wake of the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations, housing safety also features, with a vow to publish a draft Building Safety Bill. 

Improving internet safety also gets a look-in with a commitment to a new Online Harms Bill, alongside pledges to increase the National Insurance threshold and boost the National Living Wage.

JUSTICE

Topping the list of changes to the criminal justice system, Mr Johnson has brought in a fresh bill to look at the sentencing and release of terrorist offenders.

The Counter Terrorism (Sentencing and Release) Bill vows to lock up serious and dangerous terrorists for longer. The move comes after a high-profile debate on terrorists in the prison system during the election campaign following the London Bridge attack.

Sentencing also features more broadly, with a law to ensure violent and serious offenders serve longer periods of their time in prison, and a Royal Commission will be set up to look at ways to improve efficiency of the criminal justice system.

Espionage legislation is also a surprise addition in the Government's new agenda, with a promise to boost the security services with powers to crack down on “Hostile State Activity”.

A bill will also be introduced to force schools, police, councils and other authorities to work more closely together in preventing serious crime, amid a high-profile spike in knife offences.

Ministers are also promising to bring back the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill, and allow “no-fault” divorces to diffuse conflict under new divorce and separation laws.

The Queen’s Speech also appears to water down Mr Johnson's commitment to introduce a Foreign National Offenders Bill - promised in October.

Instead the new programme says it will “consider proposals” such as increasing the maximum penalty for those who return to the UK in breach of a deportation order.

INFRASTRUCTURE, INVESTMENT AND DEVOLUTION 

Telecoms legislation will be brought forward to hike the delivery of fast, reliable broadband to homes across the UK.

Without a specific bill named, the Government also says it will introduce a law to minimise disruption to transport services during staff strikes, and will develop ways for airline passengers to “get home quickly” when an airline goes bust in the wake of the Thomas Cook collapse.

The plans also look at reforming business rates and there will be a white paper on “levelling up opportunities” in England. 

Mr Johnson elsewhere commits to publishing a National Infrastructure Strategy to try and better target state help across the UK.

ENVIRONMENT

There is a re-statement of the Tories' pledge to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to create legally-binding targets on air quality under the Environment Bill.

The party says it will create an Office for Environmental Protection, as well as boost local powers to tackle air pollution and ban exports of damaging plastic waste to non-OECD countries.

There is also a pledge to hike maximum sentences for animal cruelty and ban the import and exportd of endangered animal trophies under animal welfare legislation.

CONSTITUTION

As laid out in the Conservative manifesto, the party commits to setting up a Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission, which will explore the relationship between government, parliament and the courts. The move follows high-profile spats over Brexit during the last Parliament.

The Queen's Speech also commits to repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which caused such a headache when the PM tried to call an election, and supporting documents also commit to introducing voter ID at elections.

Turning to devolution, the Conservatives' say they will "urgently pursue" the restoration of the Stormont Assembly in Northern Ireland, which has been absent now for years.

OTHER MEASURES

In a big boost to Tory backbenchers, an Armed Forces (Legal Protections) Bill is talked up as a way to end the “unfair pursuit” of service personnel over legacy issues.

Legislation to compensate members of the Windrush generation is also re-introduced, and a further compensation scheme is set up through the Thomas Cook Compensation Bill to support customers with claims such as life-changing injuries that the bust travel agency would have been responsible for.

A vow to maintain Nato spending at 2% of national income on defence is also included in the agenda, as is the setting up of an ‘Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review’ to reassess the UK’s “place in the world".

It says it will be the “deepest” review on issues of diplomacy, defence and development since the end of the Cold War. 

The Government also reaffirms its bid to stop public bodies pursuing their own boycotts or sanctions against foreign countries.


THE FULL LIST OF NEW BILLS

  • European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill
  • Agriculture Bill
  • Fisheries Bill
  • Trade Bill
  • Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill
  • Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill
  • NHS Funding Bill 
  • NHS Long Term Plan Bill 
  • Medicines and Medical Devices Bill
  • Health Service Safety Investigations Bill
  • Employment Bill
  • Renters’ Reform Bill
  • Building Safety Bill
  • Online Harms Bill
  • Fire Safety Bill 
  • Pension Schemes Bill
  • Counter Terrorism (Sentencing and Release) Bill
  • Sentencing Bill
  • Serious Violence Bill
  • Sentencing (Pre-consolidation and Amendments) Bill
  • Police Powers and Protections Bill
  • Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill
  • Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill
  • Domestic Abuse Bill
  • Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill 
  • Telecommunications (Connectivity) Bill
  • Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill
  • Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill
  • Rail reform and High Speed Rail 2 (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill
  • National Security and Investment Bill
  • Environment Bill
  • Armed Forces (Legal Protections) Bill
  • Windrush Compensation Scheme (Expenditure) Bill
  • Thomas Cook Compensation Bill
  • Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill
     

Read the most recent article written by Anahita Hossein-Pour - 'We had to fight tooth and nail': BAME parliamentarians talk representation and tackling racism

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