The Queen has set out the Conservative government's agenda for the year ahead in a progressive Queen’s Speech that aims to unite and level up Britain after Brexit. Through the speech, Boris Johnson has set out his vision for the country saying he was ‘humbled by the trust millions of voters placed in this Government’ and that ‘the work to repay that trust starts here’.
The Government’s first priority is to deliver Brexit on 31 January and to negotiate an ambitious free trade agreement with the EU that benefits the whole country. This Queen’s Speech sets out how we will seize the opportunities created by Brexit:
- The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill will ratify the deal secured by the Government in October, delivering Brexit.
- The Agriculture Bill will reform UK agriculture by improving environmental protections and strengthening transparency and fairness in the supply chain.
- The Fisheries Bill will enable us to reclaim control over our waters, ensuring the sustainability of our marine life and environment.
- The Trade Bill will establish the Trade Remedies Authority to protect UK industry from unfair trading practices.
- The Government will end free movement and pave the way for a modern, fairer points-based immigration system.
- A Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill will provide a clear framework for cross-border resolutions for individuals, families and UK businesses involved in international legal disputes.
- The Government will provide certainty, stability and new opportunities for the financial services sector.
- Legislation will enshrine in law the largest cash settlement in the NHS’s history and the Government will deliver the NHS Long Term Plan in England to ensure our health service is fit for the future.
- A Medicines and Medical Devices Bill will ensure that our NHS and patients can have faster access to innovative medicines, while supporting the growth of our domestic sector.
- The Government will also pursue reforms to make the NHS safer for patients.
- The Government will provide extra funding for social care and will urgently seek cross-party consensus for much needed long-term reform so that nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it.
- The Government will continue work to modernise and reform the Mental Health Act to ensure people get the support they need, with a much greater say in their care.
- The Government will increase levels of funding per pupil to ensure all children can access a high-quality education.
Supporting workers and families:
- An Employment Bill will enhance workers’ rights, supporting flexible working, extending unpaid carers’ entitlement to leave and ensure workers keep their hard-earned tips.
- A Renters’ Reform Bill will enhance renters’ security and improve protections for short-term tenants by abolishing ‘no-fault’ evictions and introducing a lifetime deposit.
- To ensure residents are safe in their homes, we will bring forward measures to implement the most urgent recommendations from the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry. We will also publish a draft Building Safety Bill to implement the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations.
- Recognising our commitment to making the UK the safest place to be online, we will continue to develop an Online Harms Bill.
- The Pension Schemes Bill will enable people to better plan their saving for later life and improve the protection of people’s pensions, strengthening the regulator’s powers to tackle irresponsible management of pension schemes.
- The Government will reduce the cost of living, including through increases to the National Insurance threshold and the National Living Wage.
Strengthening the criminal justice system and keeping people safe
- A Counter Terrorism (Sentencing and Release) Bill will ensure the most serious and dangerous terrorist offenders stay in prison for longer.
- A Sentencing Bill will ensure the most serious and violent offenders serve more of their sentences in custody.
- A Serious Violence Bill will place a duty on public bodies to work together to identify and tackle early factors that can lead to crime and ensure the police can more easily stop and search habitual knife carriers.
- A Police Powers and Protection Bill will establish a Police Covenant and ensure the police are able to fully conduct their duties by providing them with additional support and protection.
- Recognising the pain felt by victims and their families when offenders refuse to disclose certain information about their crimes, the Prisoners (Disclosure of Information about Victims) Bill will require the Parole Board to take this into account - a version of ‘Helen’s Law’.
- The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will remove unnecessary conflict during the divorce process, in which children are so often caught up, while ensuring that divorce remains a carefully considered decision.
- The Government will re-introduce the Domestic Abuse Bill, strengthening protections for victims and providing new enforcement mechanisms.
- The Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill will empower police officers to immediately arrest someone wanted for a serious crime committed in a trusted country, without having to apply to a court for a warrant first.
- Proposals to deal more effectively with foreign national offenders will be considered, including increasing the maximum penalty for those who return to the UK in breach of a deportation order.
- The Government will set up a Royal Commission to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice process.
Improving infrastructure and levelling up opportunity across the country
- The Government will invest in public services and infrastructure while keeping borrowing and debt under control and will publish a National Infrastructure Strategy.
- Delivery of fast, reliable and secure broadband networks to millions of homes will be accelerated, with legislation to make it easier for telecoms companies to install digital infrastructure and to ensure all new homes are built with reliable and fast internet.
- The Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill, will maintain our position as a world-leader in aviation by modernising our airspace, making journeys quicker, quieter and cleaner whilst also tackling the unlawful use of unmanned aircraft (drones).
- Legislation will be brought forward to ensure that minimum levels of service are maintained during transport strikes so that hard-working commuters can still get to work.
- We will develop measures to ensure people can get home quickly when an airline goes bust.
- In response to the Williams Review, we will publish a White Paper containing reforms that address passengers needs while providing value for the taxpayer and delivering economic benefits across the UK.
- A draft National Security and Investment Bill will strengthen the Government’s powers to investigate and intervene in business transactions (takeovers and mergers) to protect national security.
- To maintain the UK’s position as a global science superpower, we will boost public R&D funding, launch a comprehensive UK Space Strategy and develop proposals for a new funding agency.
- A White Paper will be published to reiterate commitment to levelling up opportunities and investment in the regions across England.
- The Government will reform business rates to protect high streets and communities from excessive tax hikes and keep town centres vibrant. The Government will bring forward the next business rates revaluation and make future revaluations in England more frequent.
Safeguarding the natural environment
- Our landmark Environment Bill will protect and preserve the planet for generations to come. It will establish a new Office for Environmental Protection, increase local powers to tackle air pollution, introduce charges for specified single use plastic items, and ban exports of polluting plastic waste to non-OECD countries.
- The Government will also continue to take steps to meet the world-leading target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
- Legislation will be introduced to promote and protect animal welfare, including measures to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty, to ensure animals are recognised as sentient beings, and ban the import and export of trophies from endangered animals.
Strengthening the bonds between the different parts of the UK and to safeguard its constitution and democratic processes
- The Government will continue to uphold the constitutional integrity of the UK, working constructively with the devolved administrations and their legislatures to ensure our Union continues to flourish.
- The Government will urgently pursue the restoration of the devolved power-sharing government at Stormont to ensure the people of Northern Ireland have the political leadership of their elected local representatives.
- A Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission will be set up to consider the relationship between Government, Parliament and the courts and to explore whether the checks and balances in our constitution are working for everyone.
- The Government will take forward work to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.
- The Government will protect the integrity of our democracy and elections, tackling electoral fraud through the introduction of voter ID and banning postal vote harvesting.
Supporting the armed forces
- There will be continued investment in our Armed Forces and honour the Armed Forces Covenant.
- The UK will continue to uphold the NATO commitment to spend at least two per cent of national oncome on defence.
- The Government will legislate to bring an end to the unfair pursuit of our Armed Forces through vexatious legislation.
- The Government will seek the prompt implementation of the Stormont House Agreement to provide both reconciliation for victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and greater certainty for military veterans.
- The Prime Minister will undertake an Integrated Defence, Security and Foreign Policy Review – the deepest review of these issues since the end of the Cold War.
- The Government will secure ambitious new trade deals with our international partners across the world.
- The Government will take forward our commitment to ban public bodies from imposing their own direct or indirect boycotts, divestment or sanctions campaigns against foreign countries.
- Finally, this Government will champion Conservative values and put a strong United Kingdom front and centre in the world. It will champion the UK’s interests and uphold our values of the rule of law, freedom of expression, and the importance of human rights on the international stage. It will continue to work alongside our international partners to tackle the most pressing global challenges, including terrorism and climate change.