Queen's Speech hints at Gove the peacemaker
Today sees the Queen’s Speech, where the Government sets out its legislative agenda for the next session of Parliament. The question people were asking beforehand was: what is in it? The answer we can infer is: not a lot. The only headline piece of legislature is a new Justice Bill which looks to bring about reform of prisons.
The wafer thin nature of the Queen’s Speech is due to two main factors: the EU referendum and Cameron’s majority of 12. With the vote on Europe on the horizon, the Government does not want even want to attempt to put forward any controversial legislation that will further enrage the Conservative eurosceptics. No. 10 knows full well that if voters choose Remain, only the most uncontroversial Bills will be able to get past mutinous backbenchers.
The small number of Bills also suggests that after the referendum, the Government will be putting the majority of its efforts into mending the internal wounds that have been opened by the debate. A hint of this is the fanfare around the Justice Bill. The Secretary of State responsible for this is Michael Gove. It will be to senior Conservatives like Gove that Cameron will look to rebuild the party. The new Justice Bill will be a litmus test to see how much legislation a future Cameron Government may be able to get through during the remainder of his premiership.