Last night after several days of debate the government’s legislative programme for the new session of Parliament was passed by 297 votes to 237. A surprisingly large majority of 60 considering that notionally the government only has a majority of 12.
Good news for those who are fed up of hearing about the referendum. From today the government at least are prevented from issuing more information because of the rules governing the referendum and indeed elections in general that prevent a government from making policy announcements in the run up to a poll. These arrangements are often referred to as ‘the purdah period’.
At 9am today the Chairman of Ways and Means – the Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle will draw out the numbers of twenty MP’s who will be given priority in having time to debate a Bill of their choice. For the past two days all MP’s except Government Ministers have been able to enter this name into the Private Member’s Bill Ballot Book. This is a book with numbered rows in it and I just took the next space on the page the book was open at. I am number 138. The winners will be inundated with pressure groups wanting them to adopt their particular cause.
At the other end of the today’s business will be the final votes on the Queen’s Speech. Yesterday, the amendment tabled by the Labour Party was defeated by 300 votes to 263.
The third and final theme of the Bills announced in the Queen’s speech is that of keeping our country safe.
The long awaited so called Bill of Rights will apparently include measures to reform and modernise the UK human rights framework. In reality if the Country votes to stay in the European Union whatever this Bill might claim to do will in my opinion be irrelevant because this Country will still be subject to the Human Rights regime set out by the EU in their own Charter of Fundamental Rights which will be legislated upon by the European Court of Justice.
A Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill will give law enforcement agencies new powers to protect vulnerable people, including children from those who seek to extol extremist propaganda.
The Criminal Finances Bill will include new measures to deal with money laundering and include a new offence which companies will be guilty of if they fail to stop their staff facilitating tax evasion.
Finally, the much discussed Investigatory Powers Bill will continue to be debated and hopefully in this session will at last find its way on to the statute book.
The second of the three themes of the Queen’s Speech is increasing the life chances of the most disadvantaged. The government is proposing reforms to try and tackle some of the biggest social problems in society and remove barriers to opportunity.
There will be a Children and Social Work Bill which will include changing the considerations courts must take account of when deciding on adoptions for children, changing the balance in favour of permanent adoption and a new system of regulating social workers.
The Education for All Bill will include new laws to enable the academies programme to be expanded and a new funding formula to deliver fairer funding for every school and every pupil across the Country.
The Higher Education and Research Bill will make it easier for new Universities to open and require all Universities to publish detailed information about applications, offers and outcomes so it will be easier to assess what they are doing to help social mobility.
There will also be bills to reform prisons giving governors more powers and to expand the National Citizen’s Service.
Yesterday saw Her Majesty the Queen carry out the State Opening of the new session of Parliament. In what I understand was her 63rd Queen’s Speech she formally set out the government’s new programme for the forthcoming session.
There were three main themes: delivering security for working people; increasing life chances for the most disadvantaged and strengthening our national security.
Included in the first of these themes are the Digital Economy Bill – this give every household a legal right to a fast broadband connection, the Modern Transport Bill – this will include legislation covering commercial spaceports and driverless cars, a Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill and a Local Growth and Jobs Bill. This last Bill will bring about the biggest change in local finances for several decades. It will give local Councils full control of the money they raise through business rates, so they will have the full benefit attracting new companies and investment into their area.
Today sees the first votes of the new session on the Queen’s Speech.
The Queen’s Speech outlined eleven new Bills which will be dealt with in the months ahead.
Armed Forces (Services Complaints and Financial Assistance ) Bill
Childcare Payments Bill
Modern Slavery Bill
National Insurance Contributions Bill
Pensions Tax Bill
Private Pensions Bill
Recall of Members of Parliament Bill
Serious Crime Bill
Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill
Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill
In addition to these Bills there are still half a dozen Bills which have been carried forward from the last session of Parliament which need to complete their passage through the House of Commons.
Taken together thee Bills will help to secure the economic recovery which is now underway. The difficult decisions taken by the Government have meant that the budget deficit has been reduced by a third. income tax has been cut for 25 million people and 1.5 million more jobs have been created.
There is of course much more still to do but it is only by sticking to the long-term plan the Government has embarked on that we will be able to secure a better future fur Bury and a Better future for our Country.
After a short recess taking in this years local elections Wednesday saw the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech which whilst read out by Her Majesty the Queen it is of course written by the Government. It sets out the list of Bills the Government will bring forward in the next legislative session.
This year the Queen’s Speech was all about backing people who work hard and want to get on in life.
The Government has already made much progress in fixing our broken economy, reducing the deficit by a third and rebalancing the economy away from the public sector with the creation of one and a quarter million new private sector jobs.
The proposed new legislation will further boost the economy and help businesses create more jobs.
The National Insurance Contributions Bill will cut the cost of recruiting new employees. By introducing what will effectively be a nil rate band for National insurance Contributions of £2,000 every business and charity which employs people will be better off.
A new Deregulation Bill will reduce burdens on businesses and tidy up the statute book by repealing legislation no longer of practical use.
Other new Bills will cover pensions, care costs, anti-social behaviour and offender rehabilitation. Despite what some have suggested there will be plenty of legislation to consider in the months ahead.
An Immigration Bill will stop immigrants accessing public services they are not entitled to and make it easier to remove people from the UK who should not be here.