When the Labour party has to decide what is going to be in its election manifesto, it holds what’s called a clause V meeting, where the shadow cabinet, the national executive committee and assorted union leaders thrash things out over the course of a day. It is the ultimate “smoke-filled room”, although of course these days there’s no smoke.
The Conservatives do things differently, but even the party traditionally associated with the monarchy has probably never held a manifesto event quite like this – the Queen reading out 20-odd legislative proposals from the throne in the House of Lords, addressing hundreds of peers dressed in ermine, with MPs standing at the back. Parliament normally holds a Queens’s speech every year, setting out the legislative programme for the following 12 months, but Boris Johnson’s government has no majority and it has no prospect of being able to pass most of the measures being announced this morning. In fact, this could become the first Queen’s speech to be voted down for almost 100 years. The opposition have said that, in practice, today is all about showcasing a Conservative policy platform for the election, and it is hard to disagree.
This is how Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, put it in a statement last night.
This Queen’s speech is farcical. It is just an uncosted wish list which the government has no intention and no means to deliver, and nothing more than a pre-election party political broadcast.
Here is our overnight preview story.
Normally the Queen’s speech is the main event of the day. But, as ever, Brexit eclipses everything, and if there is any news from Brussels today about the progress of the talks, that will overshadow anything said at Westminster. As of last night, the negotiations had still failed to achieve a breakthrough. Here is our summary.
Here is the agenda for the day.
11am: Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland’s environment secretary, addresses the Scottish National party conference. Other speakers at the conference are Derek Mackay, the finance secretary, at 12.15pm, and John Swinney, the deputy first minister, at 3.25pm.
11.25am: The state opening of parliament, with the Queen’s speech.
2.30pm: MPs begin the debate on the Queen’s speech. After a statement from the Speaker, John Bercow, and speeches from two backbenchers, Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson will deliver the main opening speeches.
As usual, I will be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web, although mostly I will be focusing on Brexit and the Queen’s speech. I plan to publish a summary when I wrap up.
You can read all the latest Guardian politics articles here. Here is the Politico Europe roundup of this morning’s political news. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’s top 10 must-reads.
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