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Queen's Speech: reactions

20 May 2016

Alexandra Cardenas considers reactions to the Queen's Speech, and outlines the main points of interest to the legal profession.


This week, Parliament has been focused on the Queen's Speech and debating its content. In the address that opens the 2016-17 parliamentary session, the Queen announced 21 new bills and three bills were carried over. 

Many of the bills included a re-announcement of government policy including their intention to publish a Bill of Rights. It is still unlikely that we will see the bill until after the EU referendum. 

The most relevant bills for the legal sector are highlighted below, including policies on tax evasion and modernisation of the courts. 

Monday 16 May

Parliament was in prorogation ahead of the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday 18 May. 

Tuesday 17 May

Parliament was in prorogation ahead of the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday 18 May.

Wednesday 18 May

On Wednesday, the Queen delivered her annual speech to Parliament outlining the government's legislative agenda for 2016-17. 

Read about the most relevant bills in our blog post

Read the speech in full (PDF)

Parliament 

Queen's Speech debate: leader of the opposition speech

Following the Queen's Speech, the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn MP (Labour), gave his critic of the announcements. Of interest he noted: 

• The Labour Party will defend the Human Rights Act 'as we defend the human rights of everyone in this country, and indeed all those who benefit from the European convention on human rights'.

• The Labour Party will not support the privatisation of Land Registry. He noted that the move was considered by the last two Parliaments and rejected as they listened to public and expert opinion. 

• He welcomed measures designed properly to tackle tax avoidance and evasion. He said however that the government is continuously failing on this matter. He criticised Conservative MEPs for not voting for country-by-country tax transparency and stated that the prime minister is allowing UK tax havens to not issue public registers of beneficial ownership. He also opposes wholesale the introduction of beneficial ownership registers for offshore trusts. 

Thursday 19 May

Parliament 

House of Commons: Queen's Speech debate - Land Registry

On Thursday, the House of Commons debated elements of Queen's Speech related to transport and infrastructure. In the debate shadow housing minister John Healey MP (Labour) noted his party's opposition to the privatisation of Land Registry. He argued that it will undermine the trust of homeowners, mortgage lenders and solicitors. He said that privatisation puts at risk the 'essential neutrality, quality and transparency that the Land Registry currently offers.' He also argued that it has delivered a surplus for Treasury in 19 of the past 20 years.

House of Lords: Legislation - Children and Social Care Bill

The Children and Social Bill was introduced in the House of Lords and undertook its First Reading. 

Read the bill in full

The Second Reading will be on Tuesday 14 June. 

Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill

The Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill was introduced in the House of Lords and undertook its First Reading.

Read the bill in full

The Second Reading has not been confirmed. 

Private Members Bill ballot

Yesterday, the House of Lords announced the results of the ballot for Private Members Bills. The following Bills may be of interest: 

• Modern Slavery (Transparency in Supply Chains) Bill - Baroness Young of Hornsey 

• Renters' Rights Bill - Baroness Grender 

• Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill - Baroness Tonge 

• Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) Bill - Earl of Lytton

• Divorce (Financial Provision) Bill - Baroness Deech 

• Online Privacy Protection Bill - Lord Paddick 

• Ethnicity Pay Gap Bill - Baroness Hussein-Ece

• Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill - Lord Dholakia

• Cohabitation Rights Bill - Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames 

• Missing Persons Guardianship Bill - Baroness Hamwee

We will monitor the publication of each Private Members Bill for further details of the legislation. 

Friday 20 May

Nothing to report.

Tags: politics | Westminster weekly update | courts | tax

About the author

Alexandra Cardenas is Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at the Law Society. Public Affairs manages the relationships with parliament and government. She is a dual qualified solicitor in England and Wales (2014), and Colombia (2002). Prior to the Society, she practised as a human rights lawyer and worked at Macmillan Cancer Support and Animal Defenders International.

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