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Back to Work (or not) ?

by Politicker 0 Comments

The Queen re-opened parliament today (14 October 2019) following the short prorogation allowed by the Courts. The Queen’s Speech outlines the Government plans for the new session…

… though it is unclear how many any of the new Bills proposed by the Government will actually get through Parliament, based on the fact that a General Election is looming.

There now follows 5 days of debate in Parliament chatting about the contents of the speech.

Transcript:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons.

My Government’s priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 October. My Government intends to work towards a new partnership with the European Union, based on free trade and friendly cooperation [European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill].

My Ministers will work to implement new regimes for fisheries, agriculture and trade, seizing the opportunities that arise from leaving the European Union [Fisheries Bill, Agriculture Bill and Trade Bill]. An immigration bill, ending free movement, will lay the foundation for a fair, modern and global immigration system. My Government remains committed to ensuring that resident European citizens, who have built their lives in, and contributed so much to, the United Kingdom, have the right to remain. The bill will include measures that reinforce this commitment [Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill]. Steps will be taken to provide certainty, stability and new opportunities for the financial services and legal sectors [Financial Services Bill and Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill].

My Government’s new economic plan will be underpinned by a responsible fiscal strategy, investing in economic growth while maintaining the sustainability of the public finances.

Measures will be brought forward to support and strengthen the National Health Service, its workforce and resources, enabling it to deliver the highest quality care. New laws will be taken forward to help implement the National Health Service’s Long Term Plan in England, and to establish an independent body to investigate serious healthcare incidents [Health Service Safety Investigations Bill].

My Government will bring forward proposals to reform adult social care in England to ensure dignity in old age. My Ministers will continue work to reform the Mental Health Act to improve respect for, and care of, those receiving treatment.

My Government is committed to addressing violent crime, and to strengthening public confidence in the criminal justice system. New sentencing laws will see that the most serious offenders spend longer in custody to reflect better the severity of their crimes [Sentencing Bill]. Measures will be introduced to improve the justice system’s response to foreign national offenders [Foreign National Offenders Bill]. My Government will work to improve safety and security in prisons and to strengthen the rehabilitation of offenders. Proposals will be brought forward to ensure that victims receive the support they need and the justice they deserve. Laws will be introduced to ensure that the parole system recognises the pain to victims and their families caused by offenders refusing to disclose information relating to their crimes [Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill].

A new duty will be placed on public sector bodies, ensuring they work together to address serious violence [Serious Violence Bill]. Police officers will be provided with the protections they need to keep the population safe [Police Protections Bill]. They will also be awarded the power to arrest individuals who are wanted by trusted international partners [Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill].

My Government will bring forward measures to protect individuals, families and their homes. Legislation will transform the approach of the justice system and other agencies to victims of domestic abuse [Domestic Abuse Bill], and minimise the impact of divorce, particularly on children [Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill]. My Ministers will continue to develop proposals to improve internet safety, and will bring forward laws to implement new building safety standards.

My Ministers will ensure that all young people have access to an excellent education, unlocking their full potential and preparing them for the world of work. My Government will take steps to make work fairer, introducing measures that will support those working hard [Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill]. To help people plan for the future, measures will be brought forward to provide simpler oversight of pensions savings. To protect people’s savings for later life, new laws will provide greater powers to tackle irresponsible management of private pension schemes [Pension Schemes Bill].

To ensure that the benefits of a prospering economy reach every corner of the United Kingdom, my Ministers will bring forward a National Infrastructure Strategy. This will set out a long-term vision to improve the nation’s digital, transport and energy infrastructure. New legislation will help accelerate the delivery of fast, reliable and secure broadband networks to millions of homes [Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill]. An aviation bill will provide for the effective and efficient management of the United Kingdom’s airspace Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill. Proposals on railway reform will be brought forward.

A white paper will be published to set out my Government’s ambitions for unleashing regional potential in England, and to enable decisions that affect local people to be made at a local level.

My Government is committed to establishing the United Kingdom as a world-leader in scientific capability and space technology. Increased investment in science will be complemented by the development of a new funding agency, a more open visa system, and an ambitious national space strategy.

My Ministers remain committed to protecting and improving the environment for future generations. For the first time, environmental principles will be enshrined in law. Measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive. Legislation will also create new legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new, world-leading independent regulator will be established in statute to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action [Environment Bill].

Proposals will also be brought forward to promote and protect the welfare of animals [Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill], including banning imports from trophy hunting.

The integrity and prosperity of the union that binds the four nations of the United Kingdom is of the utmost importance to my Government. My Ministers will bring forward measures to support citizens across all the nations of the United Kingdom.

My Government remains committed to working with all parties in Northern Ireland to support the return of devolved government and to address the legacy of the past.

My Government will take steps to protect the integrity of democracy and the electoral system in the United Kingdom.

My Government will continue to invest in our gallant Armed Forces. My Ministers will honour the Armed Forces Covenant and the NATO commitment to spend at least two per cent of national income on defence.

As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, my Government will ensure that it continues to play a leading role in global affairs, defending its interests and promoting its values.

My Government will be at the forefront of efforts to solve the most complex international security issues. It will champion global free trade and work alongside international partners to solve the most pressing global challenges. It will prioritise tackling climate change and ensuring that all girls have access to twelve years of quality education.

Members of the House of Commons.

Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons.

Other measures will be laid before you.

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2019

Further Information

Queen’s Speech 2019: background briefing notes

Queen’s Speech 2019: background briefing notes (pdf)

Queen’s Speech 2019: what it means for you

PM Letter to MPs – 28 August 2019

by Politicker 0 Comments

A letter from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to MPs.

Transcript:

Dear Colleague,

I hope that you had an enjoyable and productive summer recess, with the opportunity for some rest ahead of the return of the House.

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the Government’s plans for its business in Parliament.

As you know, for some time parliamentary business has been sparse. The current session has lasted more than 340 days and needs to be brought to a close, in almost 400 years only the 2010-12 session comes close, at 250 days. Bills have been introduced, which, while worthy in their own right, have at times seemed more about filling time in both the Commons and the Lords, while key Brexit legislation has been held back to ensure it could still be considered for carry-over into a second session. This cannot continue.

I therefore intend to bring forward a new bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda for the renewal of our country after Brexit. There will be a significant Brexit legislative programme to get through but that should be no excuse for a lack of ambition!

We will help the NHS, fight violent crime, invest in infrastructure and science and cut the cost of living.

This morning I spoke to Her Majesty The Queen to request an end to the current parliamentary session in the second sitting week in September, before commencing the second session of this Parliament with a Queen’s speech on Monday 14 October. A central feature of the legislative programme will be the Government’s number one legislative priority, if a new deal is forthcoming at EU Council, to introduce a Withdrawal Agreement Bill and move at pace to secure its passage before 31 October.

I fully recognise that the debate on the Queen’s Speech will be an opportunity for Members of Parliament to express their view on this Government’s legislative agenda and its approach to, and the result of, the European Council on 17-18 October. It is right that you should have the chance to do so, in a clear and unambiguous manner.

I also believe it is vitally important that the key votes associated with the Queen’s Speech and any deal with the EU fall at a time when parliamentarians are best placed to judge the Government’s programme. Parliament will have the opportunity to debate the Government’s overall programme, and approach to Brexit, in the run up to EU Council, and then vote on this on 21 and 22 October, once we know the outcome of the Council. Should I succeed in agreeing a deal with the EU, Parliament will then have the opportunity to pass the Bill required for ratification of the deal ahead of 31 October.

Finally, I want to reiterate to colleagues that these weeks leading up to the European Council on 17/18 October are vitally important for the sake of my negotiations with the EU. Member States are watching what Parliament does with great interest and it is only by showing unity and resolve that we stand a chance of securing a new deal that can be passed by Parliament. In the meantime, the Government will take the responsible approach of continuing its preparations for leaving the EU, with or without a deal.

The Leader of the Commons will update the House in the normal fashion with regard to business for the final week. For now, I can confirm that on Monday 9 September both Houses will debate the motions on the first reports relating to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 (NIEFA). Following these debates we will begin preparation to end the Parliamentary session ahead of a Queen’s Speech.

The Business Managers in both Houses will shortly engage with their opposite numbers, and MPs more widely, on plans for passing a deal should one be forthcoming. Decisions will also need to be taken about carrying over some of the bills currently before the House, and we will look to work constructively with the Opposition on this front. If agreement cannot be reached we will look to reintroduce the bills in the next session, and details on this will be set out in the Queen’s Speech.

As always my door is open to all colleagues should you wish to discuss this or any other matter.

Yours sincerely,

The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

Additional notes from the Editor:

from https://www.parliament.uk

Could be that a new session of Parliament is well overdue.

Prorogation (pronounced ‘pro-ro-ga-tion’) marks the end of a parliamentary session. It is the formal name given to the period between the end of a session of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament that begins the next session.

A session of Parliament runs from the State Opening of Parliament, in the past this has usually been in November through to the following November. However, in 2010 the Leader of the House announced the Government’s intention to move towards five 12-month sessions over a Parliament, beginning and ending in the spring.

Parliament to be suspended in September

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Parliament is to be suspended in the second week of September ahead of a Queen’s Speech on 14 October 2019.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-announces-plans-to-bring-forward-new-bold-and-ambitious-legislative-agenda

The Prime Minister has briefed Cabinet colleagues that the government will bring forward an ambitious new legislative programme for MPs’ approval, and that the current parliamentary session will be brought to an end.

The Prime Minister has spoken to Her Majesty The Queen to request an end to the current parliamentary session in the second sitting week in September. Following the conclusion of the traditional party conference season, the second session of this Parliament will commence with a Queen’s Speech on Monday 14 October.

A central feature of the legislative programme will be the Government’s number one legislative priority, if a new deal is forthcoming at European Council, to introduce a Withdrawal Agreement Bill and move at pace to secure its passage before 31 October.

The decision to end the current parliamentary session, the longest in close to 400 years and in recent months one of the least active, will enable the Prime Minister to put a fresh domestic programme in front of MPs for debate and scrutiny while also ensuring that there is good time before and after the European Council for Parliament to further consider Brexit issues. Votes on the Queen’s Speech are likely to fall on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 October.

Through a Queen’s Speech, the government will seek to strengthen public services, improve infrastructure and connectivity across the country, tackle crime and enhance the integrity of the criminal justice system, while protecting our natural environment for the long-term.

The Prime Minister said:

We must focus on crucial public priorities, helping the NHS, fighting violent crime, investing in infrastructure and science and cutting the cost of living.

We have made an important start, funding for 20,000 extra police officers and new investment in our NHS, but to deliver on the public’s priorities we require a new session and a Queen’s Speech.

I believe it is vital that Parliament is sitting both before and after European Council and if, as I hope, a deal with the EU is forthcoming, Parliament will then have the opportunity to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill required for ratification ahead of 31 October.

Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s speech is part of the State Opening of Parliament and happens when Parliament reassembles after a general election and then at the start of each Parliamentary session. Only the monarch can call a Parliament together and no business can happen until the Queen reads her speech. Her Majesty The Queen delivered the 2017 Queen’s Speech on 21 June in the Houses of Parliament. It sets out the government’s agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.

The actual speech can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2017

Here is a summary with details of the 27 Bills and Draft Bills outlined in the speech.

  • Delivering Brexit
  • Building a stronger economy
  • Making our country fairer
  • Making our country safer and more united
  • Other measures

Brexit

Repeal Bill – repealing the European Communities Act 1972 and converting EU law into UK law
Customs Bill – to ensure that the UK has a standalone UK customs regime on exit
Trade Bill – to put in place the necessary legislative framework to allow the UK to operate its own independent trade policy upon exit from the EU
Immigration Bill – to establish new powers concerning the immigration status of EEA nationals
Fisheries Bill – to enable the UK to exercise responsibility for access to fisheries and management of its waters.
Agriculture Bill – to ensure that after we leave the EU we have an effective system in place to support UK farmers and protect our natural environment.
Nuclear Safeguards Bill – to establish a UK nuclear safeguards regime as we leave the EE and Euratom.
International Sanctions Bill – to establish a new sovereign UK framework to implement international sanctions on a multilateral or unilateral basis

Building a stronger economy

Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill – will ensure the UK continues to be at the forefront of developing new technology in electric and automated road vehicles
Space Industry Bill – powers to license a wide range of new commercial spaceflight, and to create a regulatory framework to ensure that commercial spaceflight in the UK remains safe
High Speed 2 Phase 2A Bill – will provide the powers to build and operate the next stage of the HS2 network between Birmingham and Crewe.
Smart Meter Bill – to help deliver more transparent energy bills
National Insurance Contributions Bill – will legislate for National Insurance contributions changes announced in the Budget 2016 and Autumn Statement 2016.

Making our country fairer

Travel Protection Bill – will improve protection for holidaymakers by updating the UK’s financial protection scheme for holidays
Draft Tenants’ Fees Bill – to tackle unfair fees on tenants in the private rental market
Draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill – to help tackle the evil of domestic abuse and violence
Civil Liability Bill – to crack down on fraudulent whiplash claims
Courts Bill – to reform the courts system in England and Wales to ensure it is more efficient and accessible
Financial Guidance and Claims Bill – will combine three financial advice bodies into one, ensuring that people across the UK are able to seek the help and advice they need to manage their finances
Goods Mortgage Bill – will implement recommendations from the Law Commission to update Victorian era law on logbook loans

Making our country safer and more united

Armed Forces Bill – will ensure our armed forces have all the resources and capability they need to be the best in the world and keep our country safe.
Data Protection Bill – to ensure the UK has a data protection regime that is fit for the 21st century
Draft Patient Safety Bill – to help improve patient safety in the NHS and instil greater public confidence in the provision of healthcare services in England

Other measures

The programme will include three Finance Bills to implement budget decisions.

The Summer Finance Bill 2017 will include a range of tax measures including those to tackle avoidance.

The programme will also include a technical Bill to ratify several minor EU agreements and further Bills, which will be announced in due course, to effect the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The government will also be taking forward a range of other measures which may not require primary legislation.

Further information can be found at

Queen’s Speech 2017: what it means for you

There is also a document containing briefing notes on the announcements made in the 2017 Queen’s Speech which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/queens-speech-2017-background-briefing-notes

and a copy is also available at

Queen’s Speech Background Notes

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