Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker has welcomed today’s Queen Speech, which, as well as setting out the Government’s determination to deliver on the EU referendum result, has set out a bold domestic agenda addressing many of the issues that he has raised in Parliament and continuously campaigned for. These include investment in the NHS and broadband, support for victims and the police and a focus on the environment.
The main function of the Queen’s Speech is to announce the Government’s priorities and to list the bills that they plan to introduce in the coming session.
Overview of the Government’s priorities:
- The government remains committed to ensuring that resident European citizens, who have built their lives in, and contributed so much to, the United Kingdom have the right to remain.
- Measures will be brought forward to support and strengthen the National Health Service, its workforce, and resources enabling it to deliver the highest quality care. This includes a new independent body to investigate serious healthcare incidents.
- Robin was pleased that Queen’s Speech reinforced the Government’s commitment to addressing violent crime and strengthening confidence in the criminal justice system this includes new sentencing laws to better reflect the severity of crimes and an improved response to foreign national offenders. Separately the Government has announced new investment in policing and West Mercia Police have already welcomed the fact that their first 93 new officers under plans to increase national numbers by 20,000 are to be recruited this year.
- There will also be new proposals for victims to receive the support they need and the justice they deserve featuring changes to the parole system. “Helen’s Law” follows a campaign named after Helen McCourt, who was murdered in 1988; her killer has never revealed the location of her remains. “Helen’s Law” will, for the first time, make it a legal requirement to consider this concealment when deciding on whether to release an offender, and Robin is reassured that the government has committed to this proposal in England and Wales.
- The Domestic Abuse Bill will continue to be debated in this session of Parliament, as well as a bill to minimise the impact of divorce on children. The Bill will create a legal definition of domestic abuse clarifying that domestic abuse can be financial, verbal and emotional as well as physical and sexual and that, critically, it is about patterns of abuse over time. Measures in the Bill will introduce new Domestic Abuse Protection Notices and Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to further protect victims and place restrictions on the actions of offenders. The Bill will also establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner to stand up for victims and survivors, something many of Robin’s constituents have campaigned for, and Robin has taken these concerns up directly with the Home Office.
- The Animal Welfare Bill will also return, banning imports on trophy hunting. Many constituents in Worcester have expressed concerns around this appalling activity and have written to Robin asking the government to commit for the UK to ban these barbaric imports. There are clear ethical concerns around the practice of trophy hunting of endangered species.
- Robin has long campaigned for better protection of the environment and was pleased that a number of measures were announced in the Queen’s Speech to help build on the actions that the Government has already taken. Britain is leading by example and for the first time, environmental principles will be enshrined in law to protect and improve the environment for future generations. Measures being introduced include improving air and water quality, tackling plastic pollution and restoring habitats so flora and wildlife can thrive. Robin was also pleased to hear that an entire day’s debate is being dedicated to climate change this Thursday in the Chamber and having visited many schools in his constituency to talk about climate change and hear young people’s thoughts and concerns, he is pleased the government is tackling the climate emergency head on. Robin will continue to support the UK in its world-leading role in tackling climate change and the transition to Clean Growth, with the UK being the first country to introduce legally binding long-term emissions targets under the landmark Climate Change Act.
- The Pension Schemes Bill will help people plan their savings for later life by giving them access to information on their pensions’ savings in one place online, for the first time. It will also improve the protection of people’s pensions, strengthening the powers of the regulator to tackle irresponsible management of pension schemes.
- Infrastructure legislation will ensure the benefits of a prospering economy reach every corner of the United Kingdom and set out a long-term vision to improve the nation’s digital, transport and energy infrastructure. This will include the introduction of the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill to make it easier for telecoms companies to install digital infrastructure when landlords ignore repeated requests for access. The government will also bring forward measures to ensure that all new homes are built with reliable and fast internet speeds.
- The Queen’s Speech also reiterated the government’s priority to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31st of October. The government intends to work towards a new partnership with the European Union, based on free trade and friendly cooperation.
Commenting on the Queen’s Speech, Robin said:
“This is a Queen’s Speech which outlines a positive vision for the country. I was delighted to see a number of policy areas that I have pushed for over many years in parliament – including domestic abuse, environmental regulations to ensure the UK continues to lead the developed world in decarbonisation, improving our already world leading record on animal welfare, and addressing violent crime.”
“This follows the news delivered at the end of last week that schools across the United Kingdom and Worcestershire are set to receive a boost in funding. The 4.6% per pupil funding boost next year will mean schools in Worcestershire will receive a much-needed budget increase giving teachers, parents and pupils the certainty to plan, and supercharge standards in our schools. I fully intend to support this ambitious Queen’s speech to deliver a positive programme both for Brexit and beyond.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“This is a programme that will set our country on a new, upwards trajectory. At its heart is a new vision for Britain. A vision of a country happy and confident about its future. A vision of the country that we love.”
“The mission of this government is nothing less than making our country the greatest place on earth. The greatest place to live, to work and to do business. And this Queen’s Speech will set us firmly on that course.”
Notes to editors:
For the full text of the Queen’s Speech see: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2019
For information on the Queen’s speech & the State opening of Parliament see: