ANALYSIS: Queen's Speech shows Tories want to make it a law and order election

Posted On: 
14th October 2019

No wonder the Queen looked annoyed.

The Queen on her way to delivering her speech to MPs and peers.
PA Images

Forced to drag herself away from Homes Under The Hammer on a wet Monday morning just to read out a list of bills that will never become law this side of a general election.

The 93-year-old monarch, accompanied by Prince Charles, did her duty, but you could tell that her heart wasn't really in it. Perhaps, after doing it 64 times before, she just can't get excited about it anymore. Let's be honest, who can blame her?

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One thing that would probably have made it bearable was a guarantee that she won't have to go through the whole rigmarole for another 12 months.

But, British politics being like it is, it cannot be completely ruled out that she may end up having to do it again before Christmas, if we have an election in the next few weeks.

As it was, there was nothing in the speech which will have come as a surprise to anyone who covered the Tory leadership election. 

Delivering Brexit, an Australian-style points-based immigration system, more money from the NHS and schools - all lifted from Boris Johnson's successful pitch to his party's members and handed to Her Majesty to read out in the House of Lords.

It was, of course, a rather convoluted way of telling us what to expect in the Conservative manifesto. And it is clear that the PM is eager for them to regain their mantle as the party of law and order.

There are no fewer than seven bills dedicated to "tackling violent crime and strengthening the criminal justice system".

From locking up the worst offenders for longer to cracking down on foreign criminals who re-enter the UK after being booted out, the message is clear: vote Tory if you want your streets to be safer.

More police officers will also be recruited, the Government says, while extra measures will also be introduced to help the victims of crime.

It's a clearly-defined, easy-to-sell-on-the-doorstep message which will be hammered home again and again when the election eventually happens.

How Labour - who did well at the last election by promising to reverse Conservative austerity and put more bobbies on the beat - responds will be a defining moment in the campaign.

Despite all the pomp and pageantry, there is a very strong chance that the Queen's Speech will be voted down when MPs get the chance to pass their verdict on it next week.

The Fixed Term Parliaments Act means that, unlike in the past, this would not automatically trigger a general election.

But whether it's this autumn or next spring, the country will be returning to the polling stations soon.

And then we'll know whether the next Queen's Speech will be a re-run of this one, or a far more radical affair written by Jeremy Corbyn.