Queen's Speech: Law and order dominate government plans

14 October 2019, 16:57

The Queen and Prince Charles attend parliament
The Queen and Prince Charles attend parliament. Picture: PA

The Queen has reopened Parliament and set out what Boris Johnson's calling an 'optimistic' programme to make the UK 'the greatest place on Earth'.

The Queen’s speech, outlines the government’s plans for legislation, included details of the withdrawal agreement bill, to be voted on if the EU agrees to a Brexit deal this week.

Among the other 26 bills are tougher sentences for violent and sexual offences and legislation to keep serious criminals in prison for longer, impose tougher sentences on foreign offenders who return to the UK and provide better protection for victims of domestic abuse.

They sit alongside measures intended to invest in the NHS, strengthen environmental protections and raise living standards through increasing the national living wage to £10.50 an hour.

The speech focused heavily on law and order. The Queen said her Government was "committed to addressing violent crime, and to strengthening public confidence in the criminal justice system."

The Monarch revealed plans for new sentencing laws which would see that the most serious offenders spend longer in custody to "reflect better the severity of their crimes "

The Government will also work to improve safety and security in prisons and to strengthen the rehabilitation of offenders.

The Queen's Speech also highlighted victims and the levels of support they receive from the justice system.

The Queen said: "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."

The Government's agenda also places a new duty which will be placed on public sector bodies, ensuring they work to address serious violence.

Mr Johnson, was keen to focus on his domestic agenda, promising a Queen's Speech that will "get this country moving again".

"The people of this country don't just want us to sort out Brexit," he said.

The House of Lords gathered for the Queen's Speech
The House of Lords gathered for the Queen's Speech. Picture: PA

"They want their NHS to be stronger, their streets safer, their Wifi faster, the air they breathe cleaner, their kids' schools better-funded - and this optimistic and ambitious Queen's Speech sets us on a course to make all that happen, and more besides.

"After one of the least-active parliaments in living memory, the proposals we are bringing forward will get this country moving again.

"This is a Queen's Speech that will deliver for every corner of the UK and make this, once again, the greatest place on earth."

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn branded the Speech as "ludicrious" likening it to a "party political broadcast from the steps of the throne."

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott hit out at Mr Johnson's plans, branding them "hypocritical," and "farcical," she said: “It is hypocritical for the Tories to set out these plans when they were the ones who imposed cuts and let crime soar in the first place. Everything was cut, from schools, to the NHS, to the police, to mental health services. They all had terrible consequences.

“This Queen’s Speech is farcical. It is just an uncosted wish list which the government has no intention and no means to deliver, and nothing more than a pre-election party political broadcast."

Boris Johnson, MPs and Commons officials listen to the Queen's Speech
Boris Johnson, MPs and Commons officials listen to the Queen's Speech. Picture: PA

Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner refused to attend the Queen's Speech.

He appeared to mutter "I'm not going" after Black Rod requested MPs' attendance in the House of Lords to hear the Queen's Speech.

This prompted laughter from both sides of the House of Commons.

Mr Skinner is known for making quips during the State Opening of Parliament and it has become part of the pomp and circumstance of the event.

He remained behind in the Commons chamber as other MPs filed out towards the Lords.

Speaker John Bercow has led MPs back into the Commons chamber, and the sitting is suspended until 2.30pm.

Debate on the Queen's Speech will take place at this point.

As the Queen ended her speech, Labour MP Jim McMahon tweeted: "Really admire The Queen. Not sure I could have read that without swearing out loud."

Yeomen of the guard conduct a search of the Palace of Westminster
Yeomen of the guard conduct a search of the Palace of Westminster. Picture: PA

Specific measures announced include:

- Environment Bill setting legally binding targets to reduce plastics, restore biodiversity, improve water quality and cut air pollution.

- Immigration and Social Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill to end freedom of movement and introduce a points-based immigration system from 2021.

- Railway reform with a white paper setting out proposals to overhaul the current system of franchising and creating a new commercial model.

- Action on building standards in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire with the establishment of a new regulator with powers to impose criminal sanctions for breaches of building regulations.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

England beat Serbia 1-0 in tense first round Euro 2024 clash

England beats Serbia 1-0 after early goal from Jude Bellingham in tense first round Euro 2024 clash

England vs Serbia staring XI confirmed ahead of Three Lions' Euro 2024 clash

England vs Serbia staring XI confirmed as Gareth Southgate prepares for Three Lions' opening Euro 2024 clash

Police hunt 21-year-old man following death of boy, 12 in shocking hit-and-run

Police hunt 21-year-old man following death of boy, 12 in 'appalling' hit-and-run

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting

Wes Streeting urges doctors not to strike amid claims manifesto is not the ‘sum total’ of Labour's NHS spending

Clashes erupt between football fans in Gelsenkirchen ahead of England and Serbia's first Euro 2024 match

Clashes erupt between football fans in Gelsenkirchen ahead of England's first Euro 2024 match against Serbia

Southwark council raised more than £2.6 million by issuing 43,300 fines to motorists

Labour council urged to refund motorists after ‘unfairly’ fining thousands of drivers £2.6million

Police rammed the cow

Officer who rammed cow with police squad car removed from frontline duties

England fans in Gelsenkirchen

Thousands of England fans descend on Gelsenkirchen ahead of Three Lions' first Euro 2024 match against Serbia

Queues at Birmingham airport

Travel chaos strikes major UK airport as passengers stuck in lengthy queues

Police rammed the cow

Owner of cow rammed by police gives update on its condition and says officers should be fired for 'disgusting' incident

Officers shot a man threatening football fans in Hamburg

Man shot by police after brandishing 'axe and molotov cocktail' close to Euro 2024 fan zone

Labour's Wes Streeting has called for a debate with Nigel Farage

Labour's Wes Streeting calls for debate with Nigel Farage to take on 'toxic rhetoric' in 'battle of ideas'

Prince William's children have sent him a Father's Day message

'We love you papa': George, Charlotte and Louis send Prince William Father's Day message in first social media post

Labour and the Conservatives would leave the NHS 'worse off than under austerity', the Nuffield Trust has warned

Labour and Tories would leave NHS 'worse off' than under austerity, health think tank warns

Mark Harper has admitted there is a 'hard fight ahead' for the Conservatives to win the election

Minister admits 'hard fight ahead' as poll suggests 'Tory extinction' - but says no deal to be done with Farage

William and Charles have shared Father's Day messages

Prince William sends touching Father's Day message to Charles with new photo, as King also shares childhood video