Brexit: 2018 Queen’s Speech cancelled by government

The Queen's SpeechImage copyright PA
Image caption The Queen’s Speech was last cancelled under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in 2011

There will be no Queen’s Speech next year to give MPs more time to deal with Brexit laws, the government says.

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said the next parliamentary session was being doubled in length to two years.

The highly unusual move would allow MPs to scrutinise “substantial amounts of legislation”, she said.

This year’s Queen’s Speech was due on Monday but has been put off until Wednesday as Theresa May’s minority government seeks a deal with the DUP.

‘Broad consensus’

The Queen’s Speech traditionally takes place during the ceremonial State Opening Of Parliament, setting out the government’s proposed legal programme for the coming year.

The last time it was cancelled was in 2011 by the then Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

That decision, the first time it had been taken since 1949, was criticised at the time by Labour as an “abuse of power” aimed solely at easing the passage of controversial legislation.

Announcing the scrapping of the 2018 event, Mrs Leadsom said the European Union exit legislation would begin with the “Great Repeal Bill”.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said a heavy legislative workload meant that the next parliamentary session would last two years instead of the usual one year.

She said: “We will build the broadest possible consensus for our Brexit plans, and that means giving Parliament the maximum amount of time to scrutinise these bills by holding a two-year session of Parliament.

“It will mean we can work together to deliver a successful Brexit deal and a strong social legislative programme that delivers justice and opportunity to everyone.”

The government also wanted to pass “a domestic agenda which aims to tackle the social injustices in our country”, she added.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused the government of being “in no position to negotiate a good deal for Britain” with the EU.

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Writing in the Sunday Mirror, he said that if the prime minister “can’t command the support of Parliament, we are ready to take that responsibility”.

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