Theresa May Delays Queen's Speech in Attempt to Hang On as Prime Minister
The Guardian reports the Queen's Speech Being Held Up.
Theresa May is scrambling to find legislation to keep MPs busy over the summer so that she can delay a potentially fatal Queen’s Speech until the autumn.
The parliamentary session is already on course to be the longest in postwar history but the prime minister lacks the authority to start a new term.
Passing a Queen’s speech is a minimum constitutional requirement of a viable government. Cabinet sources admit that the bill that implements Brexit is the last significant piece of legislation in the locker. Mrs May dare not introduce it, however, as she fears that it will be rejected by MPs, forcing her to end the session.
Instead, Downing Street has drawn up a list of relatively benign legislation to justify extending the session beyond the original two-year deadline due in June. It includes bills to change the tax treatment of sporting testimonials and increase the maximum sentences for cases of animal cruelty. Others under consideration in No 10 include measures to address domestic abuse and increase tenants’ rights.
Speculation Becomes Reality
Guardian speculation that Theresa May might delay the Queen's Speech is now a reality, as noted above.
To fill in some details, consider this speculative story written April 17: Theresa May Could Put Off Queen's Speech Amid Brexit Turmoil.
May had been widely expected to schedule a Queen’s speech setting out the government’s legislative agenda within weeks, because she announced a two-year parliamentary session in mid-June 2017.
However, some within the government believe May is prepared to ignore demands for a programme of new laws, even though parliament has run out of business to discuss apart from Brexit legislation, which is currently stalled.
Bringing the speech forward could give MPs the opportunity to show there is no confidence in the government by voting it down, especially if parliament voted against the EU withdrawal bill and the Queen’s speech was used to introduce it again.
May only has a majority with the backing of the DUP, but relations are weak following the party’s refusal to back her withdrawal bill.
Her confidence and supply agreement with the DUP lasts as long as a parliamentary session, meaning it would be under no obligation to support a new Queen’s speech unless that had been renegotiated – possibly requiring more money.
Chris Bryant, the Labour MP and former shadow leader of the Commons, said a refusal to bring forward a Queen’s speech would be a “constitutional outrage”
Nigel Dodds, the DUP Westminster leader, said last week: “There is some talk around of extending this session beyond two years. Can I say on that point that I think many in this house, including on this bench, would regard that as something that is not acceptable.”
No Queen’s Speech until after Brexit
Theresa May confirmed No Queen’s Speech until after Brexit.
A new session in parliament was due to get underway in June, but now the Prime Minister has said it won’t begin until Brexit is delivered.
The State Opening of Parliament marks the formal start of the parliamentary year, with the Queen’s Speech setting out the government’s agenda for the coming session.
It’s thought that May is trying to avoid an attempt by Brexiteer Tories to vote down the speech and bury the withdrawal agreement. If they were to succeed, it would likely accelerate the Prime Minister’s departure.
Years With No Queen's Speech
There have only been 5 years since 1900 with no Queen's Speech. In post-war history this is the longest session without one.
If May gave a Queen's Speech she just might be outed on the spot. So, she won't give one, required or not.
Twists and Turns
There have been more twists and turns in this Brexit saga that anyone could have possibly seen coming upfront.
Add the Queen's Speech to the list.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is itching for new elections. So talks with May on a compromise have not been going well.
Gone by October 2
One way or another, Theresa May will be gone this year.
She said she would stand down after delivering Brexit, but she is a known liar.
However, if she does not stand down, she will lose either a vote of confidence or a Tory leadership challenge in December.
I doubt she lasts that long. I suspect she will be gone no later than the Tory party conference starting September 29 and ending October 2.
May has been a total disaster for the Tories.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock