Coalition winners and losers in the Queen's Speech

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 9 May 2012 in Diary
The government's legislative programme will focus on economic growth and constitutional reform, according to this morning's Queen's Speech. But it was interesting to note what wasn't included in the pageantry

It's kind of ironic to see the queen talking about House of Lords reform amidst the pageantry of the Upper House.

In terms of politics, the bill to reform the composition of the House of Lords was the most interesting of the 19 proposed by Her Majesty today (roughly 19 – it's always contentious whether to include draft bills in the total). Notably, it only included the minimum requirement as stated in the coalition agreement.

Lib Dem president Tim Farron, whose party has pushed for the reform, told BBC News: "I recognise that it is hardly in the top ten issues of anybody normal out there. But reforming democracy so that the people who make the laws are elected by [the electorate] is right."

Transport secretary Justine Greening agreed: "We all stood on the same manifesto. It's one of the things we do need to do. Ultimately, it does matter."

Other than that, the government hinted at a softer, cost-of-living based programme. This included measures to improve provision for disabled children and kids with special needs, more flexible parental leave and a draft bill "to modernise adult care and support in England".

Labour's shadow Treasury minister Rachel Reeves said that her party would support reforms to adoption and maternity/paternity leave, but said the plans for social care fell short.

"Social care system needs changing," she said.

Lib Dems are likely to be pleased with some of the banking reform proposals, including strengthening regulation of the financial services sector. They will also count legislation for an independent adjudicator to ensure "supermarkets deal fairly with suppliers" as one of their wins.

In terms of the pageantry, Dennis Skinner got his jibe in as Black Rod entered the Commons – although it was a rather political one.

The Labour MP shouted: "Jubilee year. Double dip recession. What a start."

It provoked cries of "Shame, shame" from the government benches.

Then followed the awkward walking and chatting, where David Cameron and Ed Miliband appeared to be discussing a box at one point.

Interestingly, high-speed rail did not feature in this year's Queen's Speech – and neither did gay marriage.

HS2 is likely to be part of next year's Queen's Speech, Greening confirmed.

But the future of Cameron's idea for gay marriage is unclear at this time. If it's a U-turn, I am sure we will find out in the next few hours.

UPDATE: Mark Pack says that gay marriage was never intended to be in this year's speech. Wonder how many others will pick up on this?

Tags: Adoption, Banking reform, Gay Marriage, HS2, Paternity rights, Pensions, Queen's Speech 2012, Social Care

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