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New laws promised in Queen's Speech

Queen's Speech 2015: EU referendum, tax cuts and Right to Buy expected



   
   

       


   

       
Queen's speech rehearsals

                        Rehearsals have been taking place at Westminster ahead of the Queen's Speech
                   

               

An EU referendum, tax cuts for low-earners and an extension of Right to Buy will be promised in the first all-Conservative Queen's Speech since 1996.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the speech would set out a "clear vision for what our country can be".

Labour said the reality would be "very different from the rhetoric", while Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg will accuse the Tories of abandoning liberalism.

The Queen's Speech is the centrepiece of the State Opening of Parliament.

It sets out the government's legislative plans and is expected to be delivered by the sovereign just after 11:30 BST, in the presence of MPs, peers and other dignitaries in the House of Lords.

Measures that are expected include:

Mr Cameron said he would not "waste a single moment" in delivering his manifesto promises following the Conservatives' election victory.

These include a bill paving the way for a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, promised by 2017.

While the precise wording of the question to be put to voters has not been confirmed, the Yes option is expected to be to remain part of the EU.

There will also be a pledge that nobody working 30 hours a week or less on the minimum wage will pay any income tax, and housing association tenants will also be given the same right to buy their homes as people living in council accommodation.

A consultation, rather than new legislation, is expected in relation to Conservative plans to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins said.

Proposed legislation, aimed at trying to limit abuse of human rights laws, has been criticised by some Conservative MPs.

Michael Gove, the new justice secretary, is leading the proposals, which are expected to be on hold until wider consultation has taken place.

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Analysis by political editor Nick Robinson

Their own party is exhilarated by their surprise victory and have still not unlearnt the habit of discipline which served them well in the run up to polling day. Newly elected MPs can't vote on anything for a few days and many are still finding their new desks.

So, Team Cameron have a few days, maybe weeks, perhaps even months to sell positive messages before the real world intrudes.

Don't imagine for a second, though, that this can last. Intrude the real world will… and soon. Indeed, the first signs are that it already is.

The decision not to table a Bill to scrap Labour's Human Rights Act and strengthen the role of the British courts against the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg tells you all you need to know.

It combines all David Cameron's real world problems - his party and the Tory press's "obsession" with Europe (his word not mine); a tiny Commons majority of just a dozen; a House of Lords which has an anti-government majority and a newly resurgent SNP.

Read Nick's full blog

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Environment Secretary Liz Truss said she would not speculate on what would be in the Queen's Speech but insisted the Human Rights Act was "not working for the British people" and the government was "very clear" it would be ultimately replaced by a British Bill of Rights.

"We will absolutely do it. It is a manifesto commitment," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

But Labour said David Cameron had "got into a mess" over the issue while former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, back in Westminster as an SNP MP, told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "They can't get [the legislation] through. That's the bottom line."

Mr Salmond said: "It just indicates that a majority of 12 in Parliamentary terms is actually very little. There's going to be a range of key votes where the government comes under real pressure and will find themselves in headlong retreat."

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Queen's Speech in numbers

The Queen and Prince Philip during the 2010 State Opening of Parliament
  • This will be the 62nd speech Queen Elizabeth has delivered in person, and the 64th of her reign - in 1959 and 1963 she did not attend as she was pregnant

  • The longest, in 1999, had 1,763 words

  • The shortest, 737 words long, came in 2009

  • The average length has been nine minutes, 50 seconds

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Sir John Major was prime minister last time an all-Conservative government unveiled a Queen's Speech.

Mr Cameron said his programme would mean that "wherever you live you can have the chance of a good education, a decent job, a home of your own and the peace of mind that comes from being able to raise a family and enjoy a secure retirement".

But Harriet Harman, Labour's acting leader, said the Conservatives wanted to "set the nations of the country against each other" and threaten "basic rights at work".

Mr Clegg - who was deputy prime minister until the general election left the Lib Dems with just eight MPs - is to respond for his party.

He will criticise moves to replace the Human Rights Act, saying it is "dispiriting - if pretty unsurprising" that the Conservative government is "turning its back" on the liberal stance championed by his party in the coalition.

Following the Queen's Speech the new Parliament session will begin in the afternoon, with the Commons and Lords debating the policies set out.

Coverage of the State Opening of Parliament begins on BBC One and the BBC News Channel at 10:30 BST. You can also watch online via Democracy Live.


   

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