Cameron sets out agenda to “renew” the UK

Cameron Queen's Speech“David Cameron vowed on Wednesday to reset relations with the EU, recast the United Kingdom and invigorate the economy, as he pledged not to waste ‘a single moment’ as premier. Seizing on the momentum delivered by this month’s surprise outright election victory, Mr Cameron is rushing to deliver an agenda that he hopes will conquer the centre ground of politics. The Queen officially opened parliament by setting out the first purely Conservative legislative programme for almost 20 years, a packed package that the prime minister said would ‘renew’ the country” – Financial Times

  • Queen announces EU referendum bill…plus 23 new laws – The Sun (£)
  • Ban on raising tax at heart of economic plans – Financial Times
  • Round-up of pledges to help employers – Financial Times
  • Families banned from raising more than £23,000 in benefits – Daily Mail
  • Labour moves to support Tories’ lower benefit cap – Independent
  • Snooper’s charter will extend powers of security services – Guardian


MPs etc: A full list of bills in the Queen’s Speech, and what they contain

Grieve warns that leaving ECHR would jeopardise EU deal

“David Cameron will damage his EU renegotiation if he takes Britain out of the European Court of Human Rights, a leading critic warns today. Dominic Grieve, the former attorney-general, said that lawyers blocked from taking cases to the Strasbourg court would instead use the European Court of Justice (ECJ), posing an even more direct challenge to British courts at a delicate time. Mr Grieve welcomed a decision yesterday to delay the scrapping of the Human Rights Act, which incorporates into UK law the European Convention on Human Rights” – The Times (£)

  • This UK Bill of Rights is a recipe for disaster – Dominic Grieve, The Times (£)
  • Human rights retreat reveals unease over Tory rebels – Financial Times
  • Cameron sets off on mission to win over European leaders – Guardian


Tory Diary: Should the EU referendum be held early? Have your say in our latest survey


Columnists: Daniel Hannan MEP: Why Cameron should introduce a Sovereignty Act to reassert the supremacy of Parliament

Javid plans to squeeze Labour’s union funding

JAVID Sajid BBC“Labour’s main source of funding has been put under threat by a surprise Queen’s Speech measure to slash big donations from the unions. Under reforms proposed by Sajid Javid, the business secretary, union members would have to opt in to their union’s political fund. At present they have to opt out. The move could cost Labour millions. The central party received £46.8 million from 13 affiliated unions between 2010 and the end of 2014” – The Times (£)

Editorials on the Queen’s Speech:

  • The Government is pushing ahead with some important reforms – The Times (£)
  • Cameron makes his One Nation pitch to Britain – Financial Times
  • Free at last, the Tories have hit the ground running – Daily Mail
  • The Conservative manifesto must be implemented in full – Daily Telegraph
  • It all comes back to Europe – Guardian

Comment on the Queen’s Speech:

  • We’re giving everyone the chance to get on – Iain Duncan Smith, Daily Telegraph
  • This was full of pledges made in a panic during the election campaign – Steve Richards, Independent
  • I hope Europhiles in the Lords won’t dare mess with the EU referendum bill – Jacob Rees-Mogg, Daily Telegraph
  • Cameron’s battles will be fought outside the Commons – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph
  • This was a truly One Nation speech – David Skelton, Daily Telegraph

Sketches of the Queen’s Speech:

  • Beauty and bling, then things turn ugly – Ann Treneman, The Times (£)
  • Smarmers and shysters crowd into the House of Lords – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • The silence of the Skinner – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • The day “psychoactive drugs” tripped off the royal tongue – John Crace, Guardian
  • I was convinced Lord Winston’s moustache came from a theatrical costumier – Donald Macintyre, Independent


Triumphant Scots challenge Commons convention

“A casual observer of the state opening of parliament might have imagined that it was the Scottish National party rather than the Conservatives who had won the election. SNP MPs filed into the chamber early, wearing white roses in their lapels — a homage, they said, to Hugh MacDiarmid’s poem ‘The Little White Rose’…Bolstering their revolutionary credentials, SNP MPs applauded their leader Angus Robertson as he congratulated the prime minister for ‘his electoral victory . . . in England’. Applause is banned in the Commons” – Financial Times

  • Speaker Bercow rebukes Nats for clapping – Daily Mail
  • Sturgeon pushes for more devolved powers – Financial Times
  • Cameron tells Sturgeon to “stop talking and start acting” – Daily Telegraph

Carswell targeted by “murderous lynch mob”

“UKIP MP Douglas Carswell had to be escorted to safety after he was targeted by anti-austerity protesters as he waited for a bus. Mr Carswell, who defected from the Conservatives last year, was surrounded by more than 100 demonstrators as he stood outside St James’ Underground station, near the Houses of Parliament. Dozens of activists mobbed the politician, chanting ‘racist scum’ and ‘UKIP racist’ before he was driven to safety. He later described the crowd as a ‘lynch mob’ with ‘murderous intent’” – Daily Mail

Holyrood rejects assisted suicide bill

Church shield“Scotland’s parliament resoundingly rejected a bill to allow assisted suicide at its first stage of debate. The vote was a setback for campaigners who argued that the legislation would help people gain control over the timing and terms of their deaths. The assisted suicide bill was defeated by 82 votes to 36 after an often quietly passionate debate about the issues surrounding assisted dying and the failings of palliative care for the terminally ill and profoundly incapacitated. The Scottish debate came amid renewed discussion of assisted dying in England” – Financial Times

  • Jeffrey Spector deserved better than our cruel law on assisted dying – Charles Falconer, Guardian

Stakes high in Northern Ireland welfare reform crisis

“The paralysis that has gripped the Northern Ireland executive (government) and assembly (parliament) this week is more serious than most, because the stakes are much higher. After the assembly’s failure on Tuesday to agree a package of welfare reforms, the region now faces the prospect of severe spending cuts imposed from Westminster. All the Northern Ireland parties agree that this prospect is terrible. But they are unable to form a united front to offer an alternative” – Financial Times


Miliband the elder learnt “how to win elections”

David Miliband“David Miliband has warned that Labour has been ‘sent back to the classroom’ for the second election in a row after his brother failed to win over voters. In comments that will fuel speculation that he could make a dramatic return to British politics, the former foreign secretary said that he had been involved with Labour at a time when it learnt how to win elections…’I was in the back room in the early 1990s when Labour in the UK figured out how to win elections rather than lose them,’ he said” – The Times (£)

Blair loses Middle East role

“Tony Blair was left without a formal role in the Middle East peace process yesterday as he stood down as an envoy after eight years of controversy and criticism. The former prime minister’s resignation as a special representative to the Quartet group of Israeli-Palestinian mediators had been expected for months but he had hoped that the United States would come forward to hand him a new position. In a blow to his efforts to cast himself as a global statesman, sources close to Mr Blair admitted yesterday that he was left without any formal role in the Middle East but insisted that he would ‘remain active on the issues and in the region’” – The Times (£)

  • How come a war criminal ever became a peace envoy? – Robert Fisk, Independent
  • Blair’s legacy is the collapse of Iraq and the rise of ISIS – Michael Burleigh, Daily Mail
  • UK schoolgirls lured to Syria by ISIS “have made contact with their families” – Guardian


News in brief

  • Indian heatwave kills 1,100 as roads melt – Daily Mail
  • US indicts 14 over “rampant” FIFA corruption – Financial Times
  • Tiny parasite could be behind worldwide decline of bees – Daily Telegraph
  • French bartender sentenced after customer drinks 56 shots and dies – Guardian