Queen’s Speech 2015: New parliament debates Queen’s Speech
The new parliament has commenced its first debate, with new plans for legislation announced in the Queen's Speech due to be discussed.
The new session was opened by the commons speaker John Bercow while MP Simon Burns kicked off proceedings with the humble address and MP Sheryll Murray seconding the address.
Burns cracked jokes at the expense of the speaker – the pair are reputed not to be the best of friends. Murray meanwhile, representing a constituency in Cornwall, likened David Cameron to Poldark, star of the namesake TV show set in the region.
"Like Ross Poldark, the PM can now tell his wife he has a six-pack – six true blue constituencies in the county."
Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman also made jibes, this time at the expense of Burns,
"He cut a real dash… then," she said of Burns, who first became an MP in the 1980s. "He reminded many of us of Robert Redford. Now it's more Jeremy Clarkson."
David Cameron took to the floor for the first time as the head of a majority government. He said the proposals made in the speech delivered earlier by the Queen and outlining the new government's legislative plans, would "build on strong foundations" laid in the previous parliament.
Pledges include a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU by the end of 2017 and devolved powers to Scotland.
Newly installed MP (one of 182 recently elected) and former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond was the target of the Prime Minister, who said he was remarkably keen to return to Westminster for someone who wanted to break away.
The new all-Tory government is seeking to implement the new legislation over the next five years.
The bills raised in the speech will be debated in the House of Lords and by MPs in the House of Commons.
Further plans include:
- Reform of trade unions and protection of public services against strikes
- No rises on income tax, VAT or National Insurance over the next five years.
- A reduction of regulation on small businesses
- Removing those working under 30 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage from paying income tax
- Proposals for a British Bill of Rights
- Increasing the health budget
- Devolved powers to cities to build a so-called Northern Powerhouse
- Updating communication laws
- An extension of the Right to Buy
- An extension to free childcare