Liz Saville Roberts MP: A meaningless Queen’s Speech won’t solve the crises our country is facing
A Queen's Speech is not required to answer the Brexit question, nor will it tackle the climate crisis or commit to devolved policing to Wales, writes Liz Saville Roberts MP.
We are now in a pointless prorogation (albeit legal), leading to a largely meaningless Queen’s Speech on Monday.
This pomp and ceremony is not required in order to answer the Brexit question. It is not required to bring forward a vote on their deal. It is not required to seek and extension to Article 50. It is not required to call a People’s Vote.
Not only is the Queen’s Speech unnecessary, it is seemingly impossible for this Westminster Government to deliver the programme of work which they will outline. They simply do not have the numbers or the credibility needed to deliver what they will promise.
Fundamentally calling for an election whilst at the same time outlining a year-long – or perhaps multi-year – programme of legislation is logically incompatible. Whatever way you look at it, it just does not add up.
That said, we are having one. But I am willing to bet, it will fail to answer the big questions facing the four nations of the UK.
Let’s start with the big one – Brexit.
Parliament has shown itself to be incapable of solving the Brexit crisis – the number one priority in this Queen’s Speech should be to hold a final say referendum.
The only way of overcoming the parliamentary logjam on the European question is to take it back to the people in a referendum.
While the first referendum did not define what withdrawal from the EU would look like, the second must clearly and honestly present the options available, now that we know exactly what that is.
Plaid Cymru would be ready to campaign in a referendum with facts, information, passion for Wales as a confident, outward-looking European nation.
After three years of chaos, we have never been more sure that the best deal for our nation is to remain in Europe.
Westminster is a noisy place at the best of times. This week, however, the dial has been turned to eleven with the Extinction Rebellion protesters setting up camp.
Love them or loathe them, you can’t say that they aren’t making their presence known and shaping the debate. For what it’s worth, I think they have a point.
But don’t expect much more than superficial nods to the environment in Monday’s legislative agenda.
Big problems need big solutions, but on climate change this Westminster Government continues to be small minded.
From shelving rail electrification meaning diesel train continue to be needed, to cancelling the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, the Westminster Government has only shown a superficial intent to tackling the climate crisis.
Plaid Cymru has proposed a Bill to establish a fifteen-year economic and public investment strategy that prioritises renewable energy, with the aim of rebalancing the United Kingdom economy and eradicating inequality, with the overarching aim of tackling the climate crisis.
This would mean £20 billion in Wales over the next fifteen years through a Rebalancing Renewables Revolution to shift the economy away from London and create over 200,000 ‘green collar jobs’ in Wales by 2035 to tackle the climate emergency.
The Government is holding this Queen’s Speech with an election firmly in its sights. But even where the Mr Johnson and his teem seem to be shooting at an open goal, they are managing to miss.
On policing, where they promise 20,000 extra officers, they are not only plastering over the cuts that they inflicted, they are doing so in the wrong places.
One simple solution, that should be included in a Queen’s Speech on Monday, would be to devolved policing.
Devolving policing to Wales will not only provide a cash injection – of around £25million – for Welsh police forces but will also allow Wales to bring a better and joined up service to the people of Wales in the way that best meets the needs of our communities.
Bizarrely, Monday’s gold leafed ceremony will quickly fade, as the Brexit negotiations intensify and the Saturday sitting of Parliament approaches with the consequent next crescendo in the Brexit crisis coming to a head.
This doesn’t detract from the fact, however, that we find ourselves in a pointless prorogation with a meaningless Queen’s Speech on Monday, which won’t even answer the questions our nations are facing.
Liz Saville Roberts is Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Westminster Leader.