The Queen’s Speech is one of the great parliamentary occasions. Parliament assembles to hear the Sovereign set out her government’s legislative programme for the coming year.
Black Rod commands members of the Commons to attend the Lords to hear the speech, but not before the doors of the Commons are slammed in his face in an act of symbolic defiance.
The speech had begun by the time some MPs got there, and by the time many had jostled for a better view it had ended. One of the shortest Queen’s Speech of recent times, and one which the next day failed to make the front page of any major newspaper.
Bills were few in number. Some were reheated old ideas, some were watered down versions of what we had been demanding. Some issues which had dominated MPs’ post bags at times such as banning wild animals in circuses or enshrining the 0.7 per cent spent on international aid in law, were missing altogether.
I looked for the reforms which would address many of the issues my constituents are concerned about. But there was nothing substantial on the minimum wage to make work pay or to end job insecurity by tackling zero hours contracts.
Nothing to address the shocking statistic that for the first time on record most of the people who are in poverty in Britain today are people in work, not people out of work.
Considering the recent elections have been seen as a warning shot to the major parties, the government’s response sounded like a damp squib.