West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has welcomed a Queen’s Speech which places an emphasis on ‘bread and butter’ issues and, in particular, in addition to ensuring that Britain leaves the EU, the proposal for a ground-breaking Environment Bill.
The bill will see environmental principles enshrined in law for the first time while a range of measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so that plants and wildlife can thrive.
Legislation will also create new legally-binding environmental improvement targets and an independent regulator will be established in statute to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action.
A separate animal welfare bill will ensure that the UK continues to have the toughest animal welfare standards.
In other areas, the Government will set up an independent NHS investigations body with legal powers to look into “serious healthcare incidents”, has pledged to update the Mental Health Act to reduce the number of detentions and to reform adult social care.
In addition, the Government will introduce legislation to strengthen the criminal justice system so that the most serious violent and sexual offenders spend more time in prison to match the severity of their crimes and ensure prolific and repeat offenders undertake robust community orders.
Mr Thomas said the Queen’s Speech was long overdue and welcomed the fact that it concentrated on “the bread and butter issues that matter most to people such as safety, schools and hospitals”.
“Brexit has been taking up too much of the Government’s time,” he said.
“There are so many other priorities which have not had the attention they deserve and so I am delighted to see the prominence given to the Environment Bill and the fact that we will finally see the Social Care Green Paper.
“The Queen’s Speech also brings forward legislation to ensure a prospering economy will reach every corner of the UK, accelerating the delivery of digital, transport and energy infrastructure.”