Theresa May has scrapped the 2018 Queen’s Speech to give the Government more time to push through controversial new Brexit laws.
The Prime Minister will on Wednesday launch a two-year parliamentary session rather than the traditional one-year session, in order to give MPs and peers more time to scrutinise Brexit legislation.
But the decision is also a tacit admission of some of the parliamentary battles ahead: ditching the Queen’s Speech for 2018 means the Government will avoid having to push through another vote on its legislative programme at the height of Brexit negotiations – and possibly tensions.
The Queen’s Speech – which sets the legislative programme for the government – is a big moment in the parliamentary calendar.
But Mrs May was forced to postpone the official opening of parliament for two days – until 21 Wednesday – as she hammers out a formal deal with the DUP to prop up her minority government after falling nine seats short of the winning line in the 9 June snap election.
The Queen’s Speech was also dropped in 2011 under David Cameron’s then-coalition government.
Ministers at the time argued it was to give Parliament more time to scrutinise the Government’s heavy legislative agenda, while Labour said it was an “abuse of power” designed to ease the passage of controversial legislation.
Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons, said Brexit would require “substantial amounts of legislation”.
“We will build the broadest possible consensus for our Brexit plans and that means giving Parliament the maximum amount of time to scrutinise these bills by holding a two-year session of Parliament. It will mean we can work together to deliver a successful Brexit deal and a strong social legislative programme that delivers justice and opportunity for all.”
The Government said the Queen’s Speech will include the Great Repeal Bill, which converts EU laws into British legislation, and other Brexit legislation around immigration laws.
Mrs May is also pledging to press on with a domestic programme to address inequalities in society, despite lacking a majority to push through any controversial reforms.
No. 10 said the Government would deliver Brexit while also addressing deep-rooted inequalities in society.