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The Queen’s Speech at a glance

The speech laid out 26 Bills the Government wants to bring in over the next year.

The Queen arrives through the Norman Porch for the State Opening of Parliament (Paul Ellis/PA)
The Queen arrives through the Norman Porch for the State Opening of Parliament (Paul Ellis/PA)

By Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent

The Queen has delivered her speech outlining the Government’s agenda for the next 12 months, despite the Prime Minister not having the numbers to push it through.

Boris Johnson does not have a Commons majority, making the likelihood of most of the announced legislation passing before an election is called relatively slim – one reason why the Opposition have labelled it a “political stunt”.

Here is what was revealed at a glance:

Law and order: Almost a third of the 26 new laws announced were dedicated to cracking down on crime.

If approved, the Bill will mean longer time behind bars for violent and sexual offenders. Ministers also have in place reforms to make it easier to deport foreign suspects and bids to deny parole to culprits who refuse to disclose information about their victims.

Environment: The Queen’s Speech contained initiatives to tackle waste – such as a “takeaway tax” on single-use plastics – along with attempts to ban animal cruelty, including a consultation on banning imports and exports from “trophy hunting”.

Transport: Plans were announced to radically overhaul how trains are operated by scrapping the current franchise system, following a major review into the railways. Further legislation needed to build HS2 was also confirmed.

Brexit: For all the new draft laws announced, Britain’s EU exit loomed large over the speech given by the monarch.

The opening line mentioned the Government’s “priority” of securing the UK’s exit from the EU by October 31 but the free trade deal mentioned, which is due to make up the content of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, has not been struck yet with Brussels.

– Bills on fishing, trade and agriculture form part of the moves to push post-Brexit arrangements on.

Health: There was confirmation about plans to beef up the NHS with already-announced investment for hospitals, a new investigations watchdog to probe safety concerns and a medicines Bill that is designed to speed up the process of making “innovative” treatments available to patients.

– There were promises to reform both adult social care and the Mental Health Act but no specific legislation was outlined.

Other measures included:

– A “tipping” Bill to ensure waiting and bar staff receive their tips in full following outrage that some restaurant chains are siphoning off up to 10% of gratuities paid by card.

– The continuation of the Domestic Abuse Bill to give victims better protection in their homes.

– Moves to make divorce simpler for families.

– Efforts to make fast broadband available to every home, making it compulsory for new homes to come with good connection speeds.

– Reforms to elections by bringing in voter ID.

– Continuing to honour the pledge to spend 2% of GDP on defence.

PA

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