Government Could Struggle To Get All 38 Bills Announced In The Queen’s Speech Through
3 min read
The government faces a race against time to pass the 38 bills — the highest number of bills announced for a parliamentary session since 2005 — in its 2022 Queen’s Speech.
This year’s legislative agenda is seven bills short of the record-breaking 2005 Queen’s Speech, which set out 45 pieces of legislation to mark the start of Tony Blair’s third and final term as Prime Minister.
This year’s speech contains 38 bills, of which five are carried over from the previous session, and five are “draft” bills which aren’t always guaranteed to become law in the coming year.
According to analysis by PoliticsHome, the average number of new laws proposed at the start of a parliamentary session is 22, significantly less than the number announced this year.
The Prime Minister's official spokesperson dismissed concerns on Tuesday about the scale of the legislative agenda this term.
"This is rightly an ambitious legislative programme. It's one of the busiest programmes in the last 15 years," they said.
"But these are issues that can't wait, and we're confident that we have the capability to progress through them."
But Dr Alice Lilly, a senior researcher at the Institute for Government, said she “really struggled” to see how the government would be able to pass all these bills in the coming parliamentary session.
“It's a huge amount compared to what we've seen recently, and that's bearing in mind that in the last few years we've seen a couple of double length sessions. As far as we know, this [session] is just one year,” she told PoliticsHome.
She added that, even once the carry-over and draft bills are accounted for, the number of new laws announced this year still represents “an awful lot”.
“Some of those are going to be quite big and I think are likely to be quite contentious,” Dr Lilly continued.
“And we saw the kind of difficulty that the government had at the end of last session actually trying to finish up things and get them through before the end.
“Putting all of that together, the short answer is: I would be quite surprised if they got through all of that in the next year.”
In a sign of the government’s priorities, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has the largest number of bills under its remit, with six to get through in the next year.
This includes the flagship Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which promises to drive local growth by “empowering local leaders to regenerate their areas”, and the long-awaited Renters Reform Bill, which includes measures to abolish so-called ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has six bills, including the draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill which will be proposed jointly alongside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The third highest number of new laws goes to the Home Office, which has five pieces of legislation to pass this session.
Its agenda includes the controversial Public Order Bill, which seeks to outlaw “guerilla” protest tactics such as those used by environmental groups, and the Economic Crime and
Corporate Transparency Bill, which aims to tackle illicit finance in the UK.
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