Speech notable for its absences

Ronnie Campbell MP
Picture by Jane Coltman
Ronnie Campbell MP Picture by Jane Coltman

I have a confession to make. Last week, during the Commons debate on the Queen’s Speech, I was rebuked by Mr Speaker when I complained about Tory ‘chancers’ heckling Jeremy Corbyn.

I was also wrong to point out that parliamentary etiquette did not apply to Theresa May’s pathetic speech following her general election meltdown.

After all these years representing the good people of Blyth Valley, I should have known better.

I should have praised the premier’s legislative programme, notable only for what she left out after a dismal election campaign left her with a minority government.

Out went disastrous manifesto pledges on the ‘dementia tax’ social care shake-up, the return of more grammar schools, the axing of the triple lock pensions uprating and means-testing winter fuel payments.

Out too were her proposed cap on domestic fuel bills, scrapping free school meals and reversing the fox hunting ban.

The 27-Bill speech was dominated by Brexit, including the Great Repeal Bill, which will axe the 1972 European Communities Act and end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and copying some EU legislation to the UK statute book.

I supported Brexit for good, old-fashioned socialist reasons, but who can now trust the current occupant of No 10 Downing Street to deliver the best deal for jobs, trade and security?

I have never been a fan of the Lib Dems, who propped up David Cameron’s Tory government for five years. But outgoing party leader Tim Farron was right when he said: “This is a government with no clue, no direction and no mandate. The Conservatives may be scaling back on their domestic agenda now that they have no majority to deliver it.”

Shortly before the Queen’s Speech, the latest public sector finance figures showed that £121.6bn was added to the national debt since May 2016.