Queen's Speech as-it-happens

MPs to debate the government's upcoming legislative agenda
MPs todebate the government's upcoming legislative agenda
Adam Bienkov By

16.15 - Video of Emily Thornberry mouthin "bo*****s" at Cameron.

15.56- Cameron rattling through lots of prepared gags about Corbyn and the Labour front bench. He's characteristically insufferably smug but also rather good at it. The contrast with Corbyn's rambling performance couldn't be greater.

15.53 - Cameron says that Corbyn once called for the monarchy to stop once the queen ends her reign: "There's more chance that the Labour party calls it a day when he stands down"

15.43 - Cameron says Corbyn has broken a new parliamentary record in not taking interventions. Says by contrast he will "give way a lot... about 500% more than my opponent". He apparently doesn't understand percentages. 

15.42 - Corbyn finishes on another bad joke about driverless cars. Well that was terrible.

15.33 - Tory MPs now chatting away and jeering loudly throughout Corbyn's speech as it becomes clear he's not going to give way at any point. "No I won't give way" he says. Bercow steps in again to make clear that Corbyn is in order: "What is not in order is for people to shout and barrack... I order MPs who are irritated to act with dignity."

15.25 - He started well, but Corbyn is drifting aimlessly now as he refuses to give way to Tory MPs. Jacob Rees-Mogg calls a point of order saying it is "customary" for MPs to give way in speeches longer than 20 minutes. Bercow says MPs are under no obligation to do so.

15.23 - Corbyn makes painful gag about driverless cars and "a secretary of state asleep at the wheel"

15.18 - No sign of the promised forced academisation of schools in the Queen's speech. Corbyn says it's clear the proposals have been "dumped" and claims the government is "in disarray". "Most of what Her Majesty announced today will not require her signature."

15.15 - Corbyn suddenly switches from jokes to attacking the government in the face of repeated calls from Tory MPs to give way.

15.12 - Corbyn adopting the style of a father of the bride speech, which so far seems to be going down pretty well.

15.07 - Corbyn reveals that Spelman was a former union official "while industrial strife raged across the country in the mid-eighties... I was part of it." Says she is still "a closet radical".

15.06 - Corbyn: "I'd like to congratulate the mover and seconder of the Queen's spech. It's not something I've ever had to do before. It's one of those powers of patronage"

15.00 - Jeremy Corbyn is up now. Begins with a legislative joke about freedom of speech and civility. Almost nobody laughs.

14.50 - Dr Lee makes a joke about Cameron's "stimulating" career in PR, which is a medical abbreviation for 'per rectum' or rectal examinations. By the woefully low standards of parliamentary humour, this counts as a corker.

14.47 - Dr Phillip Lee seconding the motion. He says he's surprised to be doing it as he's "not the son of a bus driver" in reference to business secretary Sajid Javid, before adding "why is it that we have to wait so long for these sons of a bus driver and then two come along at once?" in reference to Labour's Sadiq Khan.

14.37 - Caroline Spelman proposing the speech on behalf of the government. Says when she began in Parliament she was one of relatively few female MPs. "We are heading in the right direction" at making Parliament to look "more like the public at large".

14.30 - MPs back in the Commons now to debate the Queen's speech

14.15 - Our editor Ian Dunt has gone through what he describes as the "Vague, meaningless and misleading" speech and picked out some of the worst bits. Here's one highlight on the government's plan to crack down on online porn, by requiring age verification:

"The government keeps on promising this, as if doing so will magically make it happen. The vast majority of pornographic websites are in foreign countries, which the British government has no jurisdiction over. The government plans to get these sites to play ball by putting a burden on the British financial transaction provider to cease operations if they don't put an age verification check on their site. There's just one catch: most of these sites are free, so the financial transaction provider has no power over them.

"They do, however, have the power to force British pornography website to use age verification checks and are setting up a regulator to do exactly that. But they don't seem to know that this was already done, by Atvod, the regulator which they only just finished disbanding when they came up with the new proposals to do what it had already done years ago. Not only does the government not understand the internet, it doesn't seem to understand what it itself has been doing to regulate the internet"

Read on.

12.50 - More Tory Heseltine-bashing, this time from Jacob Rees-Mogg. Asked about the row between Heseltine and Boris Johnson "degenerating" into civil war, he replied:

"Can I make it degenerate further? Lord Heseltine is a frightful old humbug who divided the Conservative party more than anybody else in our modern history and a period of silence on his part would be welcome."

12.25 - The Queen had barely finished speaking before the Tories got back to the serious business of continuing their bloody civil war over the EU referendum. Iain Duncan Smith used an interview with the BBC to attack Michael Heseltine for his comments about Boris Johnson (see 11.13).

The former Tory leader told the BBC: "It's always good to hear voices of the past. I think they should stay in the past". Ouch

12.18 - Our editor Ian Dunt has just sent me his snap verdict on the speech, which he describes as "anaemic":

"This is a really lightweight Queen's Speech which suggests the EU referendum has properly railroaded the government’s domestic legislative agenda. Many of the ideas being mentioned are just reheated from years gone by, including a consultation on the British bill of rights, a new crackdown on non-violent extremists and the snoopers’ charter, which apparently cannot be killed. Others - like measures on driverless cars and a spaceport - are just watercooler moments, designed to distract us from the lack of content elsewhere. And some of it is just pedestrian, such as the digital economy bill granting  a legal right to high speed broadband or the so-called ‘better markets bill’.

"Those hoping for evidence that the government would crack on apace after the referendum will have been disappointed. After just one year, Cameron’s government is so distracted by Europe that its legislative agenda has become distinctly anaemic."

12.13 - Here's the full text of the Queen's Speech:

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons.

My government will use the opportunity of a strengthening economy to deliver security for working people, to increase life chances for the most disadvantaged and to strengthen national defences.

My ministers will continue to bring the public finances under control so that Britain lives within its means, and to move to a higher wage and lower welfare economy where work is rewarded.

To support the economic recovery, and to create jobs and more apprenticeships, legislation will be introduced to ensure Britain has the infrastructure that businesses need to grow. Measures will be brought forward to create the right for every household to access high speed broadband.

Legislation will be introduced to improve Britain’s competitiveness and make the United Kingdom a world leader in the digital economy. My ministers will ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles.

To spread economic prosperity, my government will continue to support the development of a Northern Powerhouse. In England, further powers will be devolved to directly elected mayors, including powers governing local bus services.

Legislation will also allow local authorities to retain business rates, giving them more freedom to invest in local communities. My government will support aspiration and promote home ownership through its commitment to build a million new homes.

Following last week’s Anti-Corruption Summit in London, legislation will be introduced to tackle corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. My government will continue work to deliver NHS services over 7 days of the week in England. Legislation will be introduced to ensure that overseas visitors pay for the health treatment they receive at public expense.

New legislation will be introduced to tackle some of the deepest social problems in society, and improve life chances. A Bill will be introduced to ensure that children can be adopted by new families without delay, improve the standard of social work and opportunities for young people in care in England.

To tackle poverty and the causes of deprivation, including family instability, addiction and debt, my government will introduce new indicators for measuring life chances. Legislation will be introduced to establish a soft drinks industry levy to help tackle childhood obesity.

Measures will be introduced to help the lowest-income families save, through a new Help to Save scheme, and to create a Lifetime ISA to help young people save for the long-term. My government will continue to reform public services so they help the hardest-to-reach.

A Bill will be brought forward to lay foundations for educational excellence in all schools, giving every child the best start in life. There will also be a fairer balance between schools, through the National Funding Formula. To ensure that more people have the opportunity to further their education, legislation will be introduced to support the establishment of new universities and to promote choice and competition across the higher education sector.

My government will legislate to reform prisons and courts to give individuals a second chance. Prison Governors will be given unprecedented freedom and they will be able to ensure prisoners receive better education. Old and inefficient prisons will be closed and new institutions built where prisoners can be put more effectively to work.

Action will also be taken to ensure better mental health provision for individuals in the criminal justice system. My government will continue to work to bring communities together and strengthen society.

Legislation will be introduced to prevent radicalisation, tackle extremism in all its forms, and promote community integration. National Citizen Service will be placed on a permanent statutory footing. My government will continue to safeguard national security.

My ministers will invest in Britain’s armed forces, honouring the military covenant and meeting the NATO commitment to spend 2% of national income on defence. They will also act to secure the long-term future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

My government will continue to play a leading role in world affairs, using its global presence to tackle climate change and address major international security, economic and humanitarian challenges. My government will continue to work to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. It will play a leading role in the campaign against Daesh and to support international efforts to bring peace to Syria through a lasting political settlement.

Britain’s commitment on international development spending will also be honoured, helping to deliver global stability, support the Sustainable Development Goals and prevent new threats to national security. Prince Philip and I look forward to welcoming His Excellency the President of Colombia on a State Visit in November.

My government will continue with legislation to modernise the law governing the use and oversight of investigatory powers by law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies. Legislation will strengthen the capability and accountability of the police service in England and Wales.

My government will hold a referendum on membership of the European Union. Proposals will be brought forward for a British Bill of Rights. My ministers will uphold the sovereignty of Parliament and the primacy of the House of Commons.

My government will continue to work in cooperation with the devolved administrations to implement the extensive new powers in the Scotland Act and establish a strong and lasting devolution settlement in Wales. My government will work in Northern Ireland to secure further progress in implementing the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements.

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."

12.00 - MPs will return to debate the Queen's Speech at 2.30pm.

11.48- The Queen's speech is now over. There were references to about 20 new bills. Here are just some of the measures included.

Prison reform

Governors are going to be given new financial and administrative freedoms to manage prisons, with six prisons to be made "autonomous" from government. Other reforms include allowing prisoners more weekday release with GPS tagging.

Bill of Rights

The Human Rights Act is to be replaced with a new British bill of rights. This is a hugely controversial policy which has already received widespread opposition, with claims it could endanger liberties and even disrupt the Northern Ireland peace process.

Extremism

New powers to 'disrupt' extremists and even close religious venues which harbour extremists are expected to be revealed.

Broadband

The government will introduce a new legal right for every household to receive a fast broadband connection. Perhaps easier said than done.

Trident

The Government will push ahead with its replacement of the Triden nuclear weapons system, although the timescale for the replacement is not yet clear.

Sugar tax

A New tax on sugary drinks will be introduced. However, doubts remain about the legal basis for such a tax. In recent days reports have suggested that the move could be blocked by the EU as a potential breach of state aid rules.

Recovering NHS treatment costs from non-UK residents

The NHS Overseas Visitors Charging Bill is nicely timed for the EU referendum.

11.40 - The Queen refers to the recent anti-corruption summit, her leaked discussion of which with David Cameron, recently got her prime minister into so much trouble.

11.38 - Queen now rattling through her speech with the same enthusiasm and dynamic speaking style she always has on such occasions. 

11.33 - The ceremony is off with the now traditional 'amusing' heckle from Labour MP Dennis Skinner as Black Rod enters the Commons. Skinner who normally makes a vaguely republican intervention, has instead opted for a political dig at the government's attempts to rein in the nation's public broadcaster.

"Hands off the BBC" he shouts.

"I probably shouldn't say anything should I?," responds the BBC's Huw Edwards.

11.13 - The Queen's speech is usually a time when the governing party unite around their agenda for government. Not anymore as the EU referendum campaign continues to tear the Conservatives apart. Former Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has used the occasion to attack his government for "watering down" their agenda on issues from trade union reform to parliamentary sovereignty. He told The Sun:

"Many Conservatives have become increasingly concerned that in the governments helter skelter pursuit of the referendum, they have been jettisoning or watering down key elements of their legislative programme. Whether it is the Trade Union Bill or the BBC Charter proposals, it seems nothing must stand in the way of winning the referendum.

"Yet to compound that, now it appears the much vaunted sovereignty bill, key to the argument that the prime minister had secured a reform of the EU, has been tossed aside as well. The fear in government must be that as no one in Britain buys the idea that the EU has been reformed, the sovereignty bill would draw the public’s attention back to that failure."

Duncan Smith's fellow Brexiteer Boris Johnson is also at it, lashing out against the "synthetic outrage" of party bigwig Michael Hesletine, following Heseltine's blistering attack on him yesterday. After a day in which Johnson falsely claimed the EU doesn't allow people to buy bananas in bunches of more than two or three, he told reporters that his opponents should "stick to the facts" before repeating his claim that the EU "costs about £350m per week." The £350m figure has been repeatedly discriedited.

11.00 - While we're waiting for the Queen to arrive, our editor Ian Dunt has written a preview of the legislation likely to be in her speech. He's not impressed.

"We all spend a lot of time now dwelling on the various inadequacies of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, so it's useful to remind ourselves of how staggeringly inept the Conservatives are too. The Queen's Speech provides exactly that opportunity."

Read on for all the gory details. 

 

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