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Theresa May forced to ditch key manifesto pledges in watered-down Queen's Speech

Theresa May forced to ditch key manifesto pledges in watered-down Queen's Speech
3 min read

Theresa May has been forced to scrap key planks of the Conservative manifesto after losing her Commons majority at the general election.

In a major embarrassment, the Prime Minister has ditched plans to means test the winter fuel allowance, introduce a new generation of grammar schools and end the triple lock on pensions.

Mrs May has also cancelled plans to get rid of free school lunches for the youngest pupils and end the ban on fox hunting.

Controversial plans to force people to sell their homes to pay for their social care - dubbed a 'dementia tax by critics - will also be subject to a consultation in a watering down of the initial manifesto proposal.

A cap on energy prices looks to have also been diluted, with no bill proposed on the policy and the Government only committing to "extending the price protection currently in place for some vulnerable energy consumers to more of those on the poorest value tariffs".

The extent of the climbdown has been revealed in the Queen's Speech, which is largely dominated by Brexit. The high-profile event takes place against the backdrop of the Prime Minister's failure to so far strike a deal with the DUP to prop up her minority administration.

It shows that the Prime Minister no longer has the power to force her plans through the Commons after her decision to hold a snap election spectacularly backfired.

In all, MPs will deal with 27 government bills over the next two years, plus a number on non-legislative measures, including the introduction of a public advocate to represent families involved in Hillsborough-style tragedies, as revealed by PoliticsHome this morning.

The proposed laws include a Repeal Bill ending the authority of the EU over the United Kingdom after Brexit. A further seven new bills relate to Brexit, including a Customs Bill, Trade Bill, Immigration Bill, Fisheries Bill and Agriculture Bill.

Other bills cover plans to scrap tenants' fees, crack down on domestic abuse and introduce flexible working in the Armed Forces.

A review of the Government's counter-terrorism strategy in the wake of the recent attacks in London and Manchester will also take place, while current mental health legislation will also be reformed to give it greater priority in the NHS.

The Queen said: "My government's priority is to secure the best possible deal as the country leaves the European Union. My ministers are committed to working with Parliament, the devolved administrations, business and others to build the widest possible consensus on the country's future outside the European Union."

In her foreword to the Queen's Speech, Mrs May - who has faced intense speculation about her own future since the election - pledged to govern with "humility and resolve" after losing her majority.

"We will work hard every day to gain the trust and confidence of the British people, making their priorities our priorities," she said.

The Prime Minister added: "This is a government with purpose, determined to deliver the best Brexit deal. Intent on building a stronger economy and fairer society. Committed to keeping our country safe, enhancing our standing in the wider world and bringing our United Kingdom closer together.

"Putting ourselves at the service of millions of ordinary working people for whom we will work every day in the national interest."

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