MPs approve Queen’s Speech by slender majority of 16
A majority of 16 MPs was enough for the Queen’s Speech, outlining prime minister Boris Johnson’s domestic agenda for the new parliamentary session, to be approved in the House of Commons on Thursday.
MPs backed it by 310 votes to 294, while Labour and SNP amendments were turned away.
Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, also overlooked a proposed amendment from the Liberal Democrats, calling for a second referendum on EU membership.
Chancellor Sajid Javid said that the Queen’s Speech, setting out 26 bills covering aspects such criminal justice, education and the NHS, as well as Brexit policy, delivered on the “people’s priorities”.
The Labour party has taken aim at the speech, labelling it a “publicity stunt” of commitments and a veiled “election manifesto”.
Labour’s failed amendment said that the speech failed to address the “housing crisis”, ongoing “climate emergency” or economic issues, adding that its pledges would “further push public services into crisis”.
Meanwhile, an SNP amendment requesting freedom of movement between the UK and Europe to be retained under any Brexit deal was turned down, along with the implementation of a proposed net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2045.
Should a general election take place in December, as Johnson desires, much of the plans that were put forward in the Queen’s Speech will not be followed through unless they are brought before parliament in the new post-election session.
The prime minister revealed on Thursday afternoon that he would push for a national poll on December 12, saying he will give MPs more time to debate his Brexit deal with the EU in return.