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Queen's Speech: 6 key laws Boris Johnson plans to introduce

·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read

Watch: Queen's Speech sets out plans for 'more prosperous' nation

Boris Johnson has announced a series of proposed laws during the Queen's Speech on Tuesday.

The Queen, speaking on Johnson's behalf, said the government’s priority is to “deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before”.

The Queen's Speech is a tradition which sees a PM set out their legislative agenda for a new parliamentary session.

Johnson proposed around 30 pieces of legislation which were read out by the Queen in the House of Lords chamber in a more scaled-back affair than usual, due to coronavirus restrictions.

Boris Johnson at the Queen's Speech on Tuesday. (Parliamentlive.tv)
Boris Johnson at the Queen's Speech on Tuesday. (Parliamentlive.tv)

Here are six notable laws Johnson has promised to introduce...

1. 'Safety and security'

"My government will introduce measures to increase the safety and security of its citizens," the Queen said.

This is through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which the government has said will increase sentences for serious sexual and violent offenders, double the maximum sentence for assaulting emergency service workers, and increase police powers to stop and search people already convicted of knife and offensive weapon offences.

This bill was proposed in the last parliamentary session – and proved highly controversial.

There was a furious row over its controversial scope giving police in England and Wales the power to shut down protests. In some parts of the country earlier this year, there were violent demonstrations against this aspect of the bill.

2. 'Binding' green targets

Legislation setting out "binding environmental targets" will be introduced, though the nature of those targets weren't set out.

It comes as the UK is set to host the international COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow at the end of year.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Queen Elizabeth II delivers the Queen's Speech in the House of Lord's Chamber during the State Opening of Parliament at the House of Lords on May 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen delivers the Queen's Speech in the House of Lords chamber. (Chris Jackson/pool)

3. Building safety

The Queen said: "My ministers will establish in law a new building safety regulator to ensure the tragedies of the past are never repeated."

This is set to come in the form of the Building Safety Bill, which will bring in a new system of safety regulations and inspections for buildings under construction, almost four years after the Grenfell Tower fire.

It comes two weeks after the controversial Fire Safety Bill was passed into law, leaving hundreds of thousands of leaseholders facing bills in the tens of thousands of pounds to fix historic fire safety defects in their buildings.

4. Deterring Channel crossings

The Queen said: "Measures will be brought forward to establish a fairer immigration system that strengthens the UK's borders and deters criminals who facilitate dangerous and illegal journeys."

This will be part of the Sovereign Borders Bill, and comes after about 8,500 people arrived in the UK last year by crossing the English Channel in small boats. The majority claimed asylum. 

The government has said the proposed law will overhaul the asylum system in an attempt to deter migrants from crossing the Channel.

It was first announced by home secretary Priti Patel in March as she vowed to tackle “illegal migration head-on”. Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds accused the government of "callousness" at the time.

5. Conversion therapy ban

The government has pledged a ban on conversion therapy.

LGBT equality charity Stonewall defines conversion therapy as "any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity".

Following the Queen's Speech, the Government Equalities Office said: "Legislation will be introduced protecting people from the coercive and abhorrent practice of conversion therapy in the UK.

"Many forms of the practice are already prevented under current legislation, but this new ban will ensure that it is stamped out once and for all."

However, a consultation will be carried out before a bill is put forward, "to ensure that the ban can address the practice while protecting the medical profession; defending freedom of speech; and upholding religious freedom".

Stonewall said it welcomed the commitment to introduce legislation, but criticised the "concerning" consultation announcement.

CEO Nancy Kelley said: "We don’t need a consultation to know that all practices that seek to convert, suppress, cure or change us are dangerous, abusive and must be banned.

"The UK government must publish a comprehensive bill now."

6. Power to call early elections

Johnson will introduce new laws to scrap the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, meaning it will be easier for the PM to call an early general election before 2024.

"My government will strengthen and renew democracy and the constitution," the Queen said.

Repealing the 2011 legislation, which was brought in by David Cameron's coalition government, would restore the prerogative power to call early general elections.

Under the act, a general election can only be triggered outside the normal parliamentary cycle by one of two scenarios: if two-thirds of the House of Commons vote in favour of one, or if the government loses a vote of no confidence.

The Queen said it will "restore the balance of power between the executive, legislature and the courts."

Watch: Boris Johnson's journey to Parliament for Queen's Speech