Queen's Arrival for Queen's Speech
Queen Elizabeth II is now at Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament and her Queen's Speech, prepared and given by prime minister Boris Johnson.
The Queen's Speech outlines Johnson's agenda for the session.
The Guardian Live Blog has coverage.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has condemned the government’s planned legislative programme outlined in the Queen’s speech as “a farce”, as he signalled he would back a general election that could deliver a Labour government within weeks.
"There has never been such a farce as a Government with a majority of -45 and a 100% record of defeat in the House of Commons setting out a legislative agenda they know cannot be delivered in this parliament," said Corbyn.
Boris Johnson’s hopes of getting a new Brexit deal through parliament depend to a large extend on the 10 Democratic Unionist party MPs. That is not necessarily because those votes are essential – if Johnson could win over a significant number of Labour MPs, he could make up for those lost 10 votes – so much as the fact the DUP support would help to unlock a chunk of hardline Tory Brexiter support. There were 28 Tory Brexiters who voted against Theresa May’s deal three times, partly because of its impact on the union, but they would find it hard to object to a Johnson deal on unionist grounds if the DUP was in favour.
- The Queen starts by saying the government’s priority “has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 October”.
- The Queen says says the government wants a new partnership with the EU, based on free trade.
- The Queen says the government’s new economic plan will be underpinned by a new fiscal strategy.
- The Queen says the government wants everyone to have access to an excellent education.
- The Queen says the government is committed to the environment. There will be measures to improve air and water quality, and to promote the welfare of animals. Trophy hunting will be banned.
Full Text of Queen's Speech
Here's the Full Text of the Queen's Speech.
The text is 130 pages long with dozens of legislative ideas on the Withdrawal Bill, education, the environment, NATO, public finance, electoral fraud, animal welfare, infrastructure, national security, and health care to name a few.
Boost for Johnson
Hardline Brexit rebel Lee Rowley, one of the 28 so-called Brexiter “Spartans” who voted against Theresa May’s Brexit deal three times, opened the Queen’s speech debate giving a boost to Johnson.
Rowley said he would support Johnson's Deal.
What About DUP?
An Irish Times story quotes the DUP MP Jim Shannon saying anything that does not treat Northern Ireland the same as England would be unacceptable. Shannon said:
It is simple. Are we being treated the same as England? No, we are not. Therefore, if we are not being treated the same as England, then we are not going to accept it.
Ireland on Board
I dismiss that. If the hard Brexiteers come on board that will be that.
Notably, Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister and deputy prime minister, said this morning that a Brexit deal “may ... be possible this week” ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
- The number one priority of Boris Johnson is to stay in power.
- The number one priority of the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar, is to stay in power.
Varadkar did not want to face a 2021 election with Ireland taking a 4% hit to GDP. Voters would likely hold that against him, no matter what they felt about EU unity.
Similarly, Johnson did not want to face voters in the event of short-term medical shortages and long lines crossing the tunnel under the English Channel.
Did Johnson negotiate a good deal? It's hard to say because the final details are not in.
Instead of all of the UK being permanently stuck in a backstop customs union, perhaps only Ireland is. And perhaps there is a time limit of some kind or voting procedure to break that impact.
We do not know what changes, if any, Johnson can get on the political declaration.
But on the surface this seems like a far better deal that what Theresa May negotiated.
If Johnson demands, and gets, word from the EU that it's this deal or a hard Brexit, the MPs will face the binary choice that Theresa May wanted but never succeeded in getting.
Then we will see precisely where the "Stop No Deal" advocates really stand.
Most likely, a short extension will be required to get the bill passed in the UK and EU parliaments.
Expect a Deal
My baseline scenario is now a deal. There's positive movement on many fronts.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock