Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What to expect in the Queen's Speech

Best laid plans..... Newly pressed suit etc. for Queen's Speech Day. Special day in Parliamenary calendar. So much pomp and splendour. And stunningly beautiful horses. Anyway, left flat, looking dapper (for me that is) only to find no taxis at all. Had to run for it to BBC studio in Millbank to discuss the 'Speech' at 8.30. Now sweaty and ragged! Blogging because it's much more fun commenting before we know.

Biggest expectation for me is a Wales Bill. Pretty certain, and hopefully early in the Parliament. It will not be straightforward. There was much opposition to the Draft Wales Bill presented and 'paused' in last Parliament. It's going to take goodwill and a positive attitude by politicians of all parties to make it happen. Much messing about and the 'slot' in Parliamentary timetable will be gone. I can foresee some real problems about jurisdiction, policing etc. Absolutely key for me will be devolution of income tax powers. Welsh Govt must be financially accountable. Without that, I'd prefer to see the Bill fail.

No doubt, the Prime Minister will want to move away from the soul destroying distraction that is the EU Referendum to return to his agenda for 'social reform'. I expect bills on adoption, promoting life's chances of young people - schools, universities, apprentiships etc. Also expect some progressive proposals from Michael Gove on prison reform, where the new HMP Berwyn at Wrexham could play a part. Expect to hear "One Nation" mentioned a few times over next few days.

There will be lots more too. I'm expecting something on British Bill of Rights. Not looking forward to this. Manifesto commitment, but I've never been happy with it. And bound to be a bill on strengthening security.

And now what I'd like to see. First up after Wales Bill will be a Broadband Bill ensuring access for rural areas, and a Care Bill, focussing on 'end of life' care. Hopefully blog later today about how my hopes and pre-assessment works out! Now to try to tart myself up again for the arrival of our Queen. Don't want to let her down.

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