SHOCK horror, we are going to have the same three-week break for party conferences as we have always had. Bigger shock horror, we are going to end the longest Parliamentary session since the Civil War, and have a Queen’s Speech as we used to do every year. Worst shock horror, the Remain forces who have dominated the Parliamentary agenda for three years complaining about the result of the referendum will not have many more days to repeat this. Most of the country will breathe a sigh of relief if the endless rows about Brexit are over and we can get on with a decent agenda for the UK.
The irony of Remain is that they now dare to say it is undemocratic to implement the referendum decision, undemocratic to have a new session of Parliament with a new agenda for a new government, and undemocratic if the majority get their way. It is they who launched the attack on democracy, by denying the result of the referendum and seeking to stop the transfer of powers of self-government back to Parliament, which was the whole point of the Brexit vote.
So what should we want from the Queen’s Speech? Certainly an end to the endless and pointless wrangling about what type of Brexit we want. We will now get the one sort available to us, Brexit without a Withdrawal Agreement. We need from the Queen’s Speech a clear statement of how the powers and money we are getting back from the EU will be used to boost our economy and our public services. The new government has made clear its wish to spend more on schools, the NHS and the police. It needs to show how this money will be spent so that it buys more capacity and better quality in these important areas.
The new government needs to set out its plans for better infrastructure. We know it wants to send fibre broadband and 5G to every corner of the country. Does it want a version of HS2 or will it come up with cheaper and faster plans to enhance rail capacity and service? What actions will it take to improve our road network, starved of investment for two decades?
Will it embark on a bold programme of tax reform, to raise more money by lowering rates and encouraging enterprise and investment? Will it remove VAT from green products and home energy once we are free to do so? Will it free the homes market by cutting stamp duties?
There is so much a good, positive post-Brexit government can do. I want the government to launch all this in the Queen’s Speech, so the Opposition can debate and vote on it and the government can set out just how much better off we can be once Brexit is behind us.
This article was first published in John Redwood’s Diary on August 29, 2019, and is republished by kind permission.