Queen’s Speech: the good and the worrying for the Lib Dems

From a Liberal Democrat perspective there is a lot to welcome in the Queen’s Speech (including what’s missing from it). But it isn’t all good news.

Here are the key points:

  • Sensible that economic growth put first but good that constitutional reform in the three priorities with which the Queen started the speech: “Economic growth, justice and constitutional reform”.
  • Banking reform going ahead – major Liberal Democrat demand now will become law.
  • Ditto for Green Investment Bank (which has actually started operation) and changes to rules over directors’ pay.
  • Good that Steve Webb’s work on reforming pensions to make them simpler and fairer has got a slot in the legislative agenda. (Despite their very different places on the political spectrum, he and Iain Duncan Smith have an effective working relationship on this area.)
  • Lords reform in the speech, and using the same language (“… will be brought forward…”) as for other proposals in the speech; no lessening of language on that compared to other items.
  • Continuing progress on removing sexism from rules of Royal Succession is victory for Lynne Featherstone who took up the issue several years ago (along with Evan Harris and others), running into a wall of disinterest – it can’t be done, it won’t be done – even amongst some Liberal Democrat colleagues, at least until she got a big splash story in the Sunday Times on it. (See Where Lynne Featherstone leads, David Cameron follows – once again.)
  • Defamation law reform dear to many liberal hearts and good to see it going ahead despite some major debates over what it should say.
  • Commitment to spending 0.7% on foreign aid even though no legislation – as what really matters is what aid is given, losing the legislation (for now) is no great loss if budget is maintained.
  • Secret courts legislation looks likely to be one of the main Lib Dem sore points with controversy ahead.
  • Other main sore point is likely to be over online snooping, though Clegg won a concession that there will be “scrutiny of draft clauses”.
  • Banana skins and possibilities to lurch to the right aplenty around deregulation proposals; another one to watch with care although some changes would be very much in line with Lib Dem policy.

The full text of the Queen’s Speech is here and more details are here.

9 responses to “Queen’s Speech: the good and the worrying for the Lib Dems”

  1. "economic growth put first" rhetorically but there's very little in there to bring it about… most of the rest of your bullet points make me proud to be a Lib Dem influencing this government (in a quasi-homeopathic way in my own case, reasonably strongly in the party's case!)

    • In terms of *legislation*, it strikes me there's very little that anyone wants on the economy. Ranging from those who want bigger cuts to those who want more spending, it is almost all about things that either will be done with next Budget or things that don't require legislation at all.

  2. There is quite a bit to like in the Queen's Speech – particularly pleased to see Sarah Teather's SEN work included. A real issue to watch out for are employees rights in the Enterprise Bill. Lack of a mention for a Recall Bill also concerning.

  3. Also, the Groceries Code Ajudicator Bill is great news, something that Labour failed to implement for years and could really help consumers and farmers alike.

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