Minister says Queen’s Speech will tackle ‘hooligan’ protesters amid concerns over ‘non-Tory’ bills left behind – UK Politics Live | Policy

Yeomen of the Guard marching through the Sovereign's Entrance outside the Houses of Parliament this morning ahead of the State Opening.
Yeomen of the Guard marching through the Sovereign’s Entrance outside the Houses of Parliament this morning ahead of the State Opening. Photograph: Reuters

Johnson wouldn’t have to resign over lockdown breach even if Starmer did, minister says

In his interviews this morning Malting Kit, the police minister also said he did not believe Keir Starmer should resign if he was fined for breaking lockdown rules by Durham Police. When asked if Starmer was right to say yesterday that he would quit if that happened, Malthouse replied:

It’s business for him. Look, I think it was a very difficult situation with complicated rules that often changed quite quickly.

Mistakes have been made and they are recognized and fixed penalty notices are paid.

I don’t see why anyone, whether so high or so humble, should lose their job.

Malthouse also said that if Starmer resigns it would not mean Boris Johnson (who has already been fined for breaching lockdown rules) would also have to leave. When asked if Johnson should follow Starmer’s lead, Malthouse replied, “Not necessarily, no.”

Liz Truss ‘getting ready to tear up Northern Ireland protocol’

Liz Truss would be preparing a bill which would unilaterally remove key elements of the Northern Ireland protocol removing the need to control goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, my colleague Jessica Elgot reports.

Tesco chairman says Queen’s Speech should include windfall tax on energy companies

John Allan, the chairman of Tesco and former chairman of the CBI, has joined those calling for a windfall tax on energy companies. Asked what he would like to see in the Queen’s Speech, he told the Today program this morning:

First of all, I am thinking of actions to help people cope with a very, very sharp increase in energy prices.

It’s harder for people to mitigate energy than it is with food, and I think there’s an overwhelming argument for a windfall tax on profits from energy producers going back to those who have need the most help with energy prices.

I think that would be the most important thing that could be done.

A windfall tax on energy companies is Labour’s most distinctive policy proposal. The Liberal Democrats and the SNP also support the idea.

The government opposes this, on the grounds that it could deter investment by energy companies in the UK. But there have been hints that a U-turn might be possible. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, said last month he would consider the possibility of a windfall tax if energy companies failed to invest in the UK. And William Hague, the former Tory leader, recently said a bargain tax was ‘not a crazy idea’ and something the Tories had done in the past.

Minister says Queen’s Speech will tackle ‘hooligan’ protesters amid concerns over ‘non-Tory’ bills being left out

Hello. It’s the Queen’s Speech, and overnight the government has announced measures that will be included in a new Public Order Bill. My colleague Rajeev Syal has an overview here.

Malting Kit, the police minister, made the rounds of the morning talks and he told BBC Breakfast it would allow the government to crack down on ‘hooligan’ protesters. He said:

We’ve seen a number of very, very prolific and persistent repeat offenders who decide to blatantly ignore the courts and so we’re going to introduce a new severe disruption prevention order that we can impose on them as individuals to deter them , if you like , in that kind of rogue way of protesting.

We believe protest is fundamental to our democracy, but it must be weighed against the right of others to go about their business and, indeed, to protect us all. I’m afraid some of the tactics we’ve seen recently haven’t done that.

If you think that sounds more like the kind of language you would hear at a Conservative Party conference than in a speech setting out legislative priorities for the whole nation for the next year, then you wouldn’t necessarily have wrong. Legislative programs are inherently partisan but, as Jim Pickard and George Parker report in the Financial Times, this one went through a particularly rigorous screening process, with non-conservative measures removed. They attribute this to the influence of David Canzini, Boris Johnson’s new deputy chief of staff, who reportedly told ministerial aides to come up with more “corner” issues that differentiate the Tories from Labor and the Liberal Democrats. The public order bill is a good example.

The FT says that, as a result, some measures that had broad support, but were deemed too regulatory and consensual, and insufficiently conservative, were dropped. It says:

Legislation to improve auditing and corporate governance in the UK, to give statutory powers to a technology watchdog and to create a new football watchdog – all aimed at improving the way businesses operate or to enable fairer market conditions – was removed from the Queen’s Speech…

As the Bank of England warned last week that the UK was heading into recession, Canzini has told colleagues in recent days that Downing Street believes ‘Conservative governments are not legislating to drive economic growth’ , said an official.

The government has dropped bills that would have created a single agency to enforce employee rights and made flexible working the default option for staff…

A minister said the aversion of some in Number 10 to new business regulation was part of a “bastard form of Thatcherism” which failed to recognize that good rules can help markets work – for example by putting end to corporate scandals.

The FT quotes the Institute of Directors, the group of companies, as saying this approach is “disappointing”.

Here is the program for the day.

11:30 a.m.: Prince Charles delivers the Queen’s Speech on behalf of his mother at the official opening of Parliament.

12:30 p.m.: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

2:30 p.m.: Members open the debate on the Queen’s Speech. Tory MPs Graham Stuart and Fay Jones will start, proposing and seconding the loyal address, and they will be followed by Keir Starmer and then Boris Johnson.

I try to monitor comments below the line (BTL) but it’s impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, include “Andrew” somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I try to answer questions, and if they’re of general interest, I’ll post the question and answer above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to get my attention quickly, it’s probably best to use Twitter. I’m on it @AndrewSparrow.

You can also email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com.

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