Queen's speech

Commons counts the cost of Queen’s Speech

There was much joy in Parliament earlier this month at the first in-person State Opening of Parliament since 2019. But the return of pomp and circumstance to the Palace of Westminster wasn’t universally applauded. Some doomsters took to Twitter to bemoan the sight of Prince Charles sat besides the Imperial State Crown while reading the Queen’s Speech about the cost of living. And it seems such critics are found in the Commons too, for Plaid MP Hywell Williams has paid down a parliamentary question asking about the cost of all the pageantry to the taxpayer. According to Sir Charles Walker – the chairman of the House of Commons Commission – a record £228,978

Boris faces a painful choice over social care

If social care reform were any deeper in the long grass of political priorities, it’d probably get mistaken for a hedgerow. It got a one-line reference in the Queen’s Speech this week, which does not even guarantee that the ‘clear plan’ promised by the PM in his first speech in the job will be published this year. Announcing ‘a long-term plan for social care reform this year’ has been a quaint annual government ritual since 2017. The Queen’s Speech also mentioned the need to clear the NHS backlog. Delays for treatment, already widespread before Covid-19 due to a decade of NHS funding increases lagging behind demand, are now the worst since

Boris’s animal rights laws could come back to bite him

Boris Johnson wants to beef up animal rights. The new rules will include a ban on importing stuffed heads as hunting trophies, and possibly on fur as well; a mandatory microchip for every cat in the kingdom; no more exports of live animals for slaughter; a ban on keeping primates as pets; and, most bizarre of all, a law requiring government to accept that animals are sentient and feel pain and angst like the rest of us. This looks odd. There was no extensive pressure except from a small fringe for any of these measures. To most traditional conservatives, animal rights conjure up unattractive visions of young men in dirty

How Boris’s planning revolution can keep Nimbys on side

There is a basic political idea behind the Planning Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech. When you build a house, someone buys it – and when they do, they tend to start voting Conservative. The Bill’s aim is to get more houses built, 300,000 a year by the mid 2020s, helping to create millions more homeowners over the next decade and bringing long-term dividends to the Conservative party. The data supports this idea: House of Commons Library research shows that at the 2019 general election, 57 per cent of voters who owned their home outright voted Conservative, as did 43 per cent of people with mortgages. Renters, both private and social,