Last week in Westminster, Emma responded to the Queen’s speech delivered at the State opening of Parliament on Wednesday 18 May. Her Majesty set out Tory plans for the next parliamentary session to MPs and peers.
Reforms to prisons, universities, adoption and the care system were at the top of the Government’s agenda for the coming year which included a range of measures to modernise the UK’s economy, including legislation to enable the development of commercial spaceports, allow Britain to pioneer driverless cars and spread the use of drones by businesses and individuals, as well as a legal right to fast broadband connections for every household.
Unlike last year’s bumper package, the puny 21 Bills unveiled this year were clearly aimed at avoiding controversy in a Government tearing itself apart over the Europe debate. Many of the Bills had been announced already.
Short of things to say, the Prime Minster attempted to resurrect the compassionate Conservative rhetoric by announcing measures to increase life chances for the most disadvantaged.
He described the package as a “One Nation Queen’s Speech from a progressive, One Nation, Conservative Government”
But no one concerned about social justice will be hood-winked by Mr Cameron’s attempts to frame the royal speech as caring for the disadvantaged or his empty promises to tackle some of the deepest social problems in our country or to remove all barriers to opportunity.
“Whether this was an attempt by the Prime Minister to salve his conscience, in case he loses his job next month in the wake of the EU referendum, no one believes the ‘we are all in this together rhetoric’. You only have to look around to see this government’s devastation of children’s centres, school nurses, social work and child mental health, while generous childcare promises go unfunded.
If the Government were serious about removing all barriers to opportunity, why would they have announced in the same speech that they were going to increase university tuition fees which will make it even less likely for the poorest and disadvantaged to be able to go to university and will mean the more prestigious universities will be able to charge more – creating a two tier university education system – where only the wealthy can afford the best institutions.
This speech showed a weak government obsessed with in-fighting not the needs of people who elected them. Whilst the Tories put all of their time, resources and the taxes of the people of South Shields into an internal dispute over Europe, what do the people of South Shields get in return? The deficit continues to grow, homelessness continues to grow, food bank usage continues to grow, child poverty continues to grow, the NHS is on its knees, doctors and teachers are striking and our public services have been cut to crisis point. This speech looked very much like a stab in the dark from a Prime Minister who is a dead-man walking.”
You can read Emma’s speech here:
You can read the Queen’s speech in full here.