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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What was in this year’s King’s Speech?

King Charles III delivered his inaugural King’s Speech, outlining the administration’s primary goals for the approaching year.

This is expected to be the final address before the forthcoming general election, signifying the concluding opportunity to unveil any new bills intended for introduction in this parliamentary session.

In the speech, 21 prospective laws were highlighted:

The 21 proposed laws

Animal welfare bill – To permanently ban the export of live cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses from Britain.

Arbitration bill – To reduce current pressure on English and Welsh courts, by allowing two or more parties to resolve disputes via an arbitral tribunal.

Automated vehicles bill – To allow buses and lorries to operate autonomously by the end of the decade.

Criminal justice bill – To force offenders to attend their sentence hearing and to seek powers for transfer of prisoners in and out of England and Wales to serve time overseas.

Data protection and digital information bill – To ensure people can access ‘secure data use’ benefits

Digital markets, competition and consumers bill – To give the Competition and Markets Authority enhanced powers to tackle bad business practices.

Draft rail reform bill – To address key pillars of industry reform including the creation of Great British Railways.

Economic activities of public bodies bill – To ban statements being published that indicate boycotts across the UK.

Holocaust memorial bill – To build a planned Holocaust memorial next to the Houses of Parliament.

Football governance bill – A licensing system to assess club owners and finances against fan engagement standard.

Investigatory powers bill – Tech companies will need to alert the Home Office in advance about any security or privacy features they want to add.

Leasehold and freehold bill – To make it cheaper and easier for existing leaseholders in England and Wales to extend their lease or buy their freehold.

Media bill – To scrap a never-enacted rule forcing media companies to pay the legal bills of people who sue them, even if they win.

Offshore petroleum licensing bill – To award licences for oil and gas projects in the North Sea annually.

Pedicabs bill – A law to regulate and license the three-wheel vehicles.

Renters reform bill – To enable landlords more powers to evict antisocial tenants and an end to pet bans.

Sentencing bill – To hand down whole life orders to “horrific murderers” and more time in jail for rapists.

Terrorism bill – Martyn’s law (named after Manchester Arena bomb victim Martyn Hett) will make venues be better prepared in the event of a terrorist attack.

Tobacco and vapes bill – Legislation to phase out cigarettes being sold in England.

Trade bill – To seal a new trade deal with a range of Pacific and Asian nations.

Victims and prisoners bill – Jade’s law – a suspension of parental responsibility while any mother or father is serving time for killing the person with whom they shared that responsibility – to be introduced.

“More sticking plasters”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, has described the King’s Speech – which was written by the government – as a “plan for more of the same.”

He told the House of Commons: “Today’s address shows just how ridiculous that posturing is because what we have before us is a plan for more sticking plasters, more division, more party first, country second gimmicks and no repudiation of the utterly discredited idea that economic growth is something the few hand down to the many.

“In fact today we reach something of a new low because they are not even pretending to govern anymore. They have given up on any sense of service. They see our country’s problems as something to be exploited, not solved.”

Editorial image credit: Michael Tubi / Shutterstock.com

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