Set against the pomp of the State Opening of Parliament, the speech will be about delivering a clear agenda and post referendum continuity, one which reinforces the Prime Minister’s reforming zeal to improve life chances. There will be a bill to boost the number of permanent adoptions, a new training framework and a professional regulator, along with better through-life care for children leaving the foster care system. Prison reform is also likely to feature, with new powers to governors that echo the schools academy program.
A counter-extremism Bill to protect the vulnerable in schools, colleges, charities and care homes is being trialed, along with measures tackling corruption and on corporate tax compliance following the Panama revelations and furore over Google’s tax arrangements.
A digital economy Bill covering child protection, broadband, and measures to promote driverless cars, commercial drones and the building of a new Space Port to launch satellites and passenger craft into space is also on the cards.
The PM could refresh efforts to introduce a British Bill of Rights, in a tactical move designed to counter Brexiteers’ arguments about the European Convention on Human Rights as a major reason to leave the EU. However, watch out for dispute over the ECHR’s role in securing lasting peace in Northern Ireland.
A long delayed Bus Services Bill, announced in the last Queen’s speech is expected too, allowing local authorities to introduce franchising, effectively re-regulating the passenger bus market.
Following the publication of the Higher Education White Paper today, Education Bills are expected, which will liberalise the definition of university allowing new entrants such as Facebook into the market, and will continue the school reforms announced in the budget, but which will fall short of forcing all schools into academy status by 2020.
It is also likely that we will see some form of measure designed to reign in the House of Lords, whose repeated challenges since the General Election have taken some of the radical zing out of the Speech the Government would like to have delivered.
There is also possibility of a Skills Bill, Pension Reform Bill, and a bill to tackle the financing of Terrorist groups.
The EU Referendum will underpin everything in this Queen’s speech. The Government must strike a balance between ensuring policy continuity, and postponing all controversy until after the Referendum, in order to keep the Conservative party together and the reputation of the Government intact.