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Labour's fury as 2011 Queen's Speech is axed as Coalition claim they need more time



By Gerri Peev

Last updated at 7:40 AM on 14th September 2010



Ministers were accused of making a power grab to force ‘unpopular’ policies into law after next year’s Queen’s Speech was cancelled.

Commons Leader Sir George Young prompted Labour fury when he slipped out a written statement declaring that this session of Parliament will run until spring 2012– the longest Parliamentary session for 150 years.

Even in the First and Second World Wars, Parliament stuck to its traditional annual autumn State opening, led by the Monarch.


article-1311655-09BF2CA5000005DC-678_468x639.jpg The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament in May. Under the proposed changes, the next Queen's Speech will take place around Easter 2012


Sir George insisted the move was designed to allow more time for scrutiny of the Government’s packed legislative agenda, which includes reform of welfare, schools and the NHS, as well as huge spending cuts.

It was also necessary, he said, to tie in with the Coalition’s proposals for new f ive - year, f ixed- term parliaments.

If the Government gets its plans into law, general elections will always take place on the first Thursday in May every five years.

Sir George said it was therefore necessary to move the Queen’s Speech, in which the Monarch details her Government’s legislative priorities, from the autumn to the spring.

‘The Government believes that it would be appropriate to move towards five 12-month sessions over a parliament, beginning and ending in the spring,’ he told MPs.






Labour MPs, however, insisted the move was simply an attempt by the Government to ‘buy time’ for contentious policies on welfare cuts, school and health reforms.

It gives the Government nearly two years to force its controversial bills through both Houses of Parliament.

Labour MP Denis MacShane, who forced Sir George to deliver an urgent statement on the changes in the Commons, told MPs the move was nothing short of a ‘power grab’.

‘This does represent a major shift of power to the executive at the expense of the people,’ Mr MacShane, a former foreign office minister, said.

Shadow Commons leader Rosie Winterton said: ‘No session of Parliament, whether in wartime or peacetime over the last century and a half, has lasted for two years. This is, in effect, an abuse of power.’

The longest session since 1945 was in 1966-7, when Parliament went for 246 days without a Queen’s Speech.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg insisted the extension of the session was a ‘one-off transitional arrangement’ to ensure the Queen’s Speech would fit in with the fixed-term Parliament. It would then take place every spring.

Yesterday, Government sources said Buckingham Palace has agreed to delay the next Queen’s Speech, to ‘ensure a smooth transition’ to the new system.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1311655/Labour-fury-2011-Queens-Speech-axed-Coalition-claim-need-time.html#ixzz0zUg9FuQ7

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