Conservative Party opinion: 'Queen’s Speech is symbolic, practical and purposeful', writes MP Paul Bristow

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, talks Westminster life, in his latest column

By The Newsroom
Friday, 13th May 2022, 5:11 pm
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales reads the Queen's Speech in the House of Lords
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales reads the Queen's Speech in the House of Lords

The Queen’s Speech is one of those big, set piece occasions that our country does so well, writes Peterborough MP Paul Bristow.

Yet the State Opening of Parliament serves a purpose, both symbolic and practical.

The symbolism sees the Commons slam its doors in the face of Black Rod to show the supremacy of the elected chamber. It’s practical purpose is to set out the legislative programme of the government for the next session of Parliament.

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It was moving to see the unworn crown representing the Queen, while the Prince of Wales sat to one side, reading the speech on her behalf.

The speech itself had plenty of content. Sentences like, “Her Majesty’s government will introduce legislation to improve the regulation of social housing to strengthen the rights of tenants and ensure better quality, safer homes,” have multi-page notes to back them up.

In this case, a Social Housing Regulation Bill will give the regulator the power to inspect landlords with only 48 hours’ notice. It will give housing association tenants the right to information. It will grant new powers for emergency repairs, and so on.

Over 30 bills will come forward during this next session. One of these bills will give you more say over local development. Another will modernise rail services and improve reliability for passengers.

Local businesses will find it easier to bid for government contracts through the Procurement Bill, one of many using freedoms we gained from Brexit. The Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill speaks for itself.

An important cluster of bills are about security and crime, including crime online.

I suspect that the Public Order Bill will see a rerun of the nonsense objections to making unlawful encampments illegal.

Likewise, anyone affected by the eco-hijacking of our roads and infrastructure knows that it goes beyond the limits of responsible protest. The Public Order Bill will give the police the power they need to protect ordinary, law-abiding people trying to get to work or go about their lives.

However, if I had to single out one thing this week that will help people in Peterborough, it wasn’t in the Queen’s Speech at all. It’s a campaign by Guy Opperman, who is the pensions minister.

Guy wants to ensure that every pensioner who qualifies is claiming their Pension Credit. Already, over 3,000 people in my constituency do claim – on average, around £3,300 a year. But lots of others are missing out!