Monday brought about the first Queen’s Speech in over two years, ending the longest parliament session in nearly 400 years. The State Opening of Parliament allows for the Government to set out the programme of legislation that it intends to pursue in the forthcoming parliamentary session.
In this Queen’s Speech, Her Majesty set out the Governments’ priorities in a broad range of areas, ranging from the National Health Service and reform of adult social care in England to measures on law and order, financial services and the environment.
We will introduce an Environment Bill that protects and improves the environment for future generations, improving air and water quality and legislating environmental improvement targets. We will also legislate to improve animal welfare, including banning imports from trophy hunting. This will include increasing maximum sentences for animal cruelty from six months to five years, and ensuring that animals are recognised in domestic law as sentient beings.
The Government has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that resident European citizens who have built their lives in and contributed so much to the UK have the right to remain in the UK after we have left the European Union. This commitment will be reinforced through the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination Bill.
We will introduce a bill to provide certainty, stability and new opportunity for the financial services and legal sectors. This will enhance competition of the UK sector with high standards to protect UK consumers, and set out further measures to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading regulatory standards and remains open to international markets.
Health and Social Care
The Queens Speech committed to the NHS Long Term Plan’s multi-year funding settlement, while transforming patient care and future proofing our NHS. Also, we will introduce legislation to establish an independent body to investigate serious healthcare incidents. We will also reform social care in England, ensuring the sustainability and setting out legislative requirements. Furthermore, we reform mental health care, modernise the current system and reforming the Mental Health Act. As such, we will introduce a white paper that ensures better care and a great say in care.
Law and Order
We will introduce a Sentencing Bill that ensures that the most serious criminals spend longer in custody, meaning that their sentences match the severity of their crimes. The Government will also bring measures to improve the justice systems response to foreign national offenders ensure that authorities have the ability to deal with them effectively.
We will also introduce measures to ensure that victims receive the support they need and the justice they deserve, and place duties on public sector bodies, ensuring they work together to address serious violence. A Police Protections Bill will recognise the bravery and commitment of police officers and ensure they are able to fully conduct their duties by providing them with additional support and protections. We will also introduce powers for police to arrest individuals who are wanted by trusted international partners, helping keep the public safer.
We will also continue with the Domestic Abuse Bill, which will transform the approach taken by the justice system to victims of domestic abuse, provide the support they need and ensuring that offenders are brought to justice.
This Queen’s Speech promises 26 Bills in total, alongside a whole host of other measures and reforms. I am confident that this programme of Government shows a new vision for Britain, ensures it remains a great place to live, work and do business. It ensures that we can tackle crime and keep citizens safe, while improving the NHS, ensures that all young people have access to an excellent education that prepares them for the world of work and recognises the importance that we tackle climate and environmental issues for future generations.