King’s Speech – live: New laws on oil, smoking and football as Charles III makes first State Opening

A raft of new laws – including measures on oil and gas licences, the establishment of a new football regulator, and moves to phase out cigarette smoking – have been included in the King’s Speech.

The proposed legislation was announced by King Charles III as he addressed Parliament in his first State Opening, as the monarch set out Rishi Sunak’s government’s policy agenda for the year ahead.

It is the first such speech King Charles III has made since assuming the throne last year. It is also the first of Mr Sunak’s tenure in No 10 – and most likely the last prior to an expected general election next year.

The speech revealed Mr Sunak’s plans to make law and order a key election battleground, with a series of measures promising tougher sentences for killers and rapists.

Mr Sunak has also introduced new legislation to expand the use of self-driving vehicles – which clear the way for buses and lorries to operate autonomously by the end of the decade.

Key points

  • King’s Speech: What policies made it in and what’s been removed?

  • Impact of the King’s Speech will last until the next century, Rishi Sunak claims

  • Suella Braverman plan to stop tents for homeless people junked from Kings Speech by No 10

  • Sunak has left LGBT+ community ‘at the mercy of bigots and quacks’, says Tory MP

21:10 , Andy Gregory

That’s us wrapping up the live blog for this evening, thanks for following here.

You can find all our latest coverage on the King’s Speech here, while our political team has compiled this report on the reaction to the goverment’s policy agenda for the year ahead.

Or else keep scrolling to catch up on the day’s events, as we reported them:

Deputy prime minister denies cover-up of rape allegation against Tory MP

Monday 6 November 2023 10:54 , Joe Middleton

The deputy prime minister has denied that the Conservatives covered up a rape allegation against one of their own MPs.

Oliver Dowden insisted the Tory party has a “zero tolerance” approach to sexual misconduct after claims allegations of rape against an MP were not properly handled, potentially allowing them to continue to offend.

But he said he could not “say for certain” that his party did not pay an alleged victim’s private hospital fees.

And the former party chair, who stood down from the role in June 2022, urged anyone with concerns to take them to the police.

His comments came after it emerged that former party chair Sir Jake Berry wrote to police amid concerns over how the allegations of rape were dealt with, according to a letter published in The Mail on Sunday.

Deputy PM denies cover-up of rape allegation against MP

Allegations a Tory MP committed a series of rapes is ‘very serious’, says PM

Monday 6 November 2023 10:59 , Joe Middleton

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has described allegations that a Tory MP committed a series of rapes as “very serious”.

He urged anyone with evidence of criminal acts to talk to the police.

Speaking on a visit to Bacton Gas Terminal in Norfolk, the Prime Minister told broadcasters: “These are very serious, anonymous allegations.

“It may be that they allude to something that is already the subject of a live police investigation, so I hope you understand it wouldn’t be right for me to comment on that further specifically.

“More broadly the Conservative Party has robust independent complaint procedures in place, but I would say to anybody who has information or evidence about any criminal acts to of course talk to police, that’s the right course of action.”

NHS patients hit by ‘severe drug shortages’ due to Brexit red tape

Monday 6 November 2023 11:08 , Joe Middleton

NHS patients face a “very worrying” risk due to “severe delays” in drugs supplies caused by Brexit red tape, experts have warned.

Vital antibiotics, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs are among those in desperately short supply this winter – with the NHS forced to pay over the odds to get drugs into Britain.

Leading British health experts backing a new report on post-Brexit problems in the health service, which has been shared with The Independent, have also highlighted recent problems obtaining antidepressants and medication for high blood pressure.

NHS hit by ‘severe drug shortages’ due to Brexit red tape

Sunak says Tory MP rape allegation complainant should ‘go to the police’

Monday 6 November 2023 11:14 , Joe Middleton

Rishi Sunak has described allegations that a Tory MP committed a series of rapes as “very serious” as he urged anyone with evidence of criminal acts to talk to the police.

The PM has been urged to launch an investigation into claims the Conservatives failed to properly deal with allegations of rape against one of its MPs.

It comes after it was reported that Sir Jake Berry, a former Tory chairman, told police that an internal “failure” to act on allegations of rape allowed an unnamed MP to “continue to offend”.

Sunak says Tory MP rape allegation complainant should ‘go to the police’

Tory peer: ‘Conservatives have a problem with bullying and sexual misconduct’

Monday 6 November 2023 11:23 , Joe Middleton

A Conservative peer has said the Tory party has “a problem” dealing with allegations of bullying and sexual misconduct.

Baroness Warsi told Times Radio the Conservatives have long “failed” to respond to and support victims.

She said: “I think it does have a problem...Whether it’s bullying, whether it’s allegations of racism and now allegations of sexual misconduct, the party for years and years has simply failed to deal with responding to victims appropriately in all of those areas. And I really hope, rather than just batting this away again, that the party take a long, hard look at itself.”

And she described a “rot” at the heart of the Conservative party, adding: “We cannot be the party of government which governs in this country more than any other political party and still have this rot at the heart of us, whether that’s racism, whether that’s bullying, whether that’s sexual misconduct. We need to be above these matters and we need to see when they come to light, deal with them quickly and coherently, and make sure that all people feel protected within our party.”

Sunak says police have support for ‘clamp down’ on criminality at Pro-Palestine protest

Monday 6 November 2023 11:28 , Joe Middleton

Rishi Sunak said that Metropolitan Police have ministers’ “absolute and total backing” to tackle criminality, ahead of a pro-Palestinian march on Saturday.

It comes amid concerns by some that the pro-Palestinian march in London will go ahead on Armistice Day.Speaking to broadcasters on Monday, the PM said: “Remembrance Day is a time for national reflection … I want to make sure police have our absolute and total backing to clamp down on any acts of criminality, but also to ensure public order.”

He said that home secretary Suella Braverman would be holding a meeting to discuss the issue on Monday.

Mr Sunak also welcomed the fact 100 British nationals have been able to leave Gaza in recent days, as he explained why he backed a humanitarian pause – but not a ceasefire.“We have been very clear and consistent that we support humanitarian pauses, which are there specifically to allow aid to get into Gaza and hostages and foreign nationals to come out.”

The Independent has launched a new WhatsApp channel

Monday 6 November 2023 11:33 , Joe Middleton

The Independent has launched a brand new WhatsApp Channel, bringing you the latest breaking news, Premium news analysis from our award-winning journalists and an evening news briefing with the day’s top headlines.

Sign up and get the latest on UK politics and more by pressing this invite link.

Lombardelli: ‘Not possible to estimate cost of lockdown’

Monday 6 November 2023 11:42 , Joe Middleton

The Independent’s Archie Mitchell is covering the Covid inquiry today.

He reports that Clare Lombardelli has told the Covid inquiry it was not possible to estimate the cost of lockdowns.The Treasury’s former chief economic adviser said there was no way to say “a lockdown in this form will cost you X” because there was “no reasonable counterfactual” of what people would do without a lockdown.

But the inquiry was also shown an advice document produced for then chancellor Rishi Sunak by the Treasury in which he was told to “push back strongly” against the idea of a circuit-breaker lockdown in autumn 2020. Officials warned Mr Sunak the impacts would be “severe”.

 (Covid Inquiry)
(Covid Inquiry)

Sunak declines to back Braverman’s comments about rough-sleeping homeless

Monday 6 November 2023 11:50 , Joe Middleton

Rishi Sunak did not accept that his home secretary Suella Braverman’s description of rough sleeping as a “lifestyle choice” was offensive – but did not back her comments.

Asked by broadcasters if the language was “offensive”, he said: “I don’t want anyone to sleep rough on our streets.“That’s why the government is investing £2bn over the next few years to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

“I’m pleased that the number of people sleeping rough is down by a third since the peak, but of course there is more to do … So I’m proud of that record.He added: “But of course there is more to do and we’ll keep going so that nobody has to sleep rough on our streets.”

Sunak says Tory MP rape allegation complainant should ‘go to the police’

Monday 6 November 2023 11:59 , Joe Middleton

More than a hundred British citizens have left Gaza, say No 10

Monday 6 November 2023 12:10 , Joe Middleton

More than a hundred British citizens have left Gaza through the Rafah crossing so far, Downing Street said.

No 10 did not without confirm how many more are trapped inside the territory.

The prime minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “It’s more than a hundred who have made it through the crossing.

“We are in contact with those who still remain, the British nationals who still remain in Gaza to update on the latest information we have.

“And we’ve got UK teams forward-deployed to receive those as they do make it through.

“I don’t have an update on the Rafah crossing as of right now, but obviously it’s disappointing it has been closed recently. It is obviously a complex situation and we will use all diplomatic options available to us to press for its reopening in co-ordination with our partners.”

Some 200 British nationals and their dependents were registered with the authorities to leave Gaza, meaning around half have made it out.

Rishi Sunak shares thoughts on homelessness

Monday 6 November 2023 12:24 , Joe Middleton

Energy secretary admits Rishi Sunak’s north sea oil expansion plans ‘won’t bring bills down’

Monday 6 November 2023 12:29 , Joe Middleton

The energy secretary has admitted that Rishi Sunak’s flagship energy policy will not bring household bills down.

Claire Coutinho was quizzed about the government’s plans to expand North Sea oil and gas exploration expected to be announced in the King’s Speech tomorrow.

The prime minister will declare the drive, which would invite annual applications for new licences to drill for oil and gas, will protect jobs and boost energy security “without adding undue burdens on households”.

Energy secretary admits Sunak’s north sea oil expansion ‘won’t bring bills down’

Reasons for homelessness are ‘complex’, say No 10

Monday 6 November 2023 12:47 , Joe Middleton

A spokesman for Rishi Sunak could not say whether the government had evidence to back up the Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s claim that some people are rough sleeping as a “lifestyle choice”.

“The reasons are complex, I think mental health and addiction are drivers of homelessness,” he said.

Asked if the prime minister ever gets tired of having to defend Ms Braverman, he said: “The Prime Minister continues to work closely with the Home Secretary, not least on this issue of protests... and of course on small boats.”

Tory minister distances herself from Suella Braverman’s comment on rough sleeping

Monday 6 November 2023 13:00 , Joe Middleton

Majority of Tory members want Nigel Farage back in the party, poll reveals

Monday 6 November 2023 13:29 , Joe Middleton

More than seven in 10 Tory members want Nigel Farage to be readmitted to the party, a poll has revealed.

The former Brexit Party leader’s popularity among the Conservative grassroots is laid bare in the Conservative Home survey, which shows the rank and file overwhelmingly back his membership.

Mr Farage quit the Conservative Party in 1992 after John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty, but has increasingly hinted at a return, even joking he would be surprised if he wasn’t Tory leader by 2026.

Most Tory members want Nigel Farage back in the party, poll reveals

Suella Braverman under fire after vowing crackdown on tents and claiming rough sleeping is ‘lifestyle choice’

Monday 6 November 2023 13:45 , Joe Middleton

Suella Braverman has prompted outrage after she vowed a crackdown on tents used by the homeless and described rough sleeping as a “lifestyle choice”.

The home secretary claimed streets risked being “taken over” and that without action British cities would see “an explosion of crime, drug taking, and squalor”.

She added that many of those living in tents were “from abroad”. Those who were genuinely homeless would always be supported, she said.

Suella Braverman under fire after claiming rough sleeping is ‘lifestyle choice’

Boris Johnson referred to Treasury as ‘pro-death squad’, Covid inquiry hears

Monday 6 November 2023 14:15 , Joe Middleton

Boris Johnson referred to the Treasury as the “pro-death squad” during the pandemic, the UK Covid-19 Inquiry has heard.

The former prime minister reportedly used the phrase at a meeting in January 2021 when he wanted the ministry to back him in arguing for a path to eased restrictions.

Giving evidence to the inquiry on Monday, Mr Johnson’s pandemic-era deputy principal private secretary, Stuart Glassborow, said he did not recall hearing the term.

Reading from former chief scientific adviser to the Government Sir Patrick Vallance’s diary, where the phrase was noted, Mr Keating went on: “There is an entry... at meeting on 25 January 2021 the PM is recorded saying he wants Tier 3 March 1, Tier 2 April 1, Tier 1 May 1 and nothing by September.

“And he ends it by saying the team must bring in the pro-death squad from HMT”.

“I think (this) refers to a meeting from a couple of years ago. I don’t recall that specific phrase,” Mr Glassborow said.

“I see that this is from Patrick’s notebook. I wouldn’t dispute what he’s recorded, but I don’t recall the phrase at all.”

Sunak says Tory MP rape allegation complainant should ‘go to the police’

Monday 6 November 2023 14:30 , Joe Middleton

Home Office was worried about ‘social unrest’ caused by ‘survival of fittest’ in pandemic

Monday 6 November 2023 14:49 , Joe Middleton

The Home Office believed a “survival of the fittest” scenario might unfold during the pandemic, with potential public unrest as services became overwhelmed.

The Covid-19 Inquiry has been shown minutes from a planning exercise in February 2020 dubbed operation Nimbus, in which attendees were warned to expect 840,000 deaths in a “reasonable worst case scenario”.

The meeting minutes said that in the scenario, Matt Hancock who was chairing asked what “key decisions” would need to be made about care. A representative from NHS England said decisions would have to be made about “whether to expand the intensive care capacity at the consequence of stopping treatment to others.

The Home Office said the social consequences would amount to a “survival of the fittest” situation which could lead to “social unrest”.

One of the recommendations after the meeting was that those involved in strategic decision-making during the pandemic be offered mental health support.

Reporting by Archie Mitchell

Can Rishi Sunak ever escape Boris Johnson’s shadow?

Monday 6 November 2023 14:59 , Joe Middleton

As the former PM makes a surprise visit to Israel, the present incumbent of No 10 is still struggling to shrug off his predecessor, writes Kate Devlin. And there is much more still to come

Can Rishi Sunak ever escape Boris Johnson’s shadow?

Starmer faces plot by Labour rebel MPs to force Commons vote on Gaza ceasefire

Monday 6 November 2023 15:00 , Joe Middleton

Sir Keir Starmer is facing a rebellion by left-wing Labour MPs who are trying to force a vote on a Gaza ceasefire in parliament.

The Labour leader is under growing pressure to change stance as his party suffers a major split on his refusal to back a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

At least 18 Labour frontbenchers have defied Sir Keir’s position, while more than 30 councillors have quit the party and more than 330 local leaders have urged him to back down.

NHS was considered ‘f*****’ in any scenario

Monday 6 November 2023 15:09 , Joe Middleton

The Covid inquiry has been shown notes from a February 2020 meeting by data scientist and former No10 adviser Dr Ben Warner which showed that he believed the NHS was “f***** in any scenario”.

Dr Warner clarified that what he meant was that the health service would be under “extreme stress” in any scenation.

Reporting by Archie Mitchell

Boris claims Sunak ‘refused to engage’ post-Covid because he wanted to be PM

Monday 6 November 2023 15:30 , Joe Middleton

Boris Johnson said Rishi Sunak “refused to engage” with him on kick-starting the UK economy after lockdown because the chancellor wanted to be PM, according to an extract from Nadine Dorries’ book.

According to the extract in the Mail, Mr Johnson told Ms Dorries: “Looking back, I can see that’s because there was a plan to remove me, and people were saying to him: ‘Don’t give him anything.’He had been given the impression by someone that he should simply bide his time as chancellor until the bigger prize became his.”

More sweary messages from Dominic Cummings

Monday 6 November 2023 15:46 , Joe Middleton

The Covid inquiry has seen more sweary WhatsApp messages from Dominic Cummings, including one in which he calls then civil service head Sir Mark Sedwill “the f*****”.

Mr Cummings, then Boris Johnson’s top adviser, told the PM that scientists were doing a “great job” while civil servants were “off the pace”. “You need to tell Sedwill this,” Mr Cummings told Mr Johnson.

He added: “The f***** should be in the office now.”

Lee Anderson accused of lying about protesters ‘glued to Centotaph’

Monday 6 November 2023 16:14 , Joe Middleton

Just Stop Oil said deputy Tory chairman Lee Anderson has been “tweeting lies about protesters being glued to The Cenotaph”.

The group said activists near the Cenotaph were dragged off the road and arrested by police for protesting in the street.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed there were no offences linked to the Cenotaph, though around 100 arrests were made for disruption in Whitehall.Anderson had tweeted: “Simple solution here. Give them stronger glue and leave them there till Sunday.”

Top Boris Johnson advisers joked ‘we’ve banned ourselves from going to the pub’

Monday 6 November 2023 16:18 , Joe Middleton

Two of Boris Johnson’s top advisers railed against the government’s handling of Covid before joking “worst part, we have banned ourselves from going to the pub after this”.

In September 2020, Dr Ben Warner told No10 comms chief Lee Cain he felt like the pair had “walked out of Covid in June and walked back in today”.

Mr Cain told Dr Warner “agree mate, we are so fucked”, adding that the government was making the “same errors as March” - a reference to the delayed decision-making process in the early days of the pandemic.

WhatsApp messages shown to the inquiry then show Dr Warner telling his colleague: “Worst part, we have banned ourselves from going to the pub after this.”

Reporting by Archie Mitchell

Right-wing Tory condemns Braverman over homeless tents remarks

Monday 6 November 2023 16:34 , Joe Middleton

Right-wing Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke has criticised home secretary Suella Braverman’s proposal for charities to stop giving tents to homeless rough sleepers.

“In all my years of helping people who are homeless … at no time, ever, has anyone said the answer lies in the removal of tents.”

King’s Speech 2023: When is it and what to expect

07:36 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Today we will be focusing on the King’s Speech as the monarch sets out Rishi Sunak’s government’s policy agenda for the year ahead.

It will be the first such speech King Charles III has made since assuming the throne last year. It will also be the first of Mr Sunak’s tenure in No 10 – and most likely the last prior to an expected general election next year.

Mr Sunak said: “This will be the first King’s Speech in 70 years and the legislation we will bring forward is part of our plan to build a better future for the next 70.”

We take a look at the proposals which are expected to be included in the King’s Speech, at around 11.30am on Tuesday, and those which may be left out:

King’s Speech 2023: When is it and what to expect

Andy Burnham urges Sunak to save HS2 Manchester airport link in King’s Speech

07:48 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Andy Burnham and other northern leaders have urged Rishi Sunak to use the upcoming King’s Speech to save a stretch of the HS2 rail project between central Manchester and the city’s airport.

The Labour mayor of Greater Manchester said the PM’s decision to scrap the northern leg – first revealed by The Independent – was a “hammer blow”, but still hopes the key section can be built.

He and others are urging the PM to bring back legislation sanctioning HS2 infrastructure so work can begin on a new link between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester airport which could be used by east-west projects across the North.

Andy Burnham urges Sunak to save HS2 Manchester link in King’s Speech

Impact of the King’s Speech will last until the next century, Rishi Sunak suggests

07:52 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The upcoming King’s Speech will help build a “better future” for Britain for the rest of this century, Rishi Sunak has said.

As he prepares to unveil what is on course to be his last programme for government as prime minister, Mr Sunak said the speech would stimulate the economy and strengthen society, and suggested its legacy would last seven decades.

Mr Sunak also pledged to bring forward bills that help people feel safer “in their own communities” and instil a pride in the “place they call home” on Tuesday.

The King’s Speech will be seen as an indication of Mr Sunak’s priorities ahead of the general election, which must be held by January 2025.

impact of the King’s Speech will last until the next century, Rishi Sunak suggests

Justice secretary says planned criminal justice reforms about ‘head as well as heart'

08:03 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said the planned criminal justice reforms, due to be set out in the King’s Speech, were about “head as well as heart”.

“It’s something that I’ve been talking about for a long time because I’m a barrister by background, I’ve seen this stuff,” he told Times Radio.

“This is about head as well as it is about heart. This is about ensuring that I don’t want you, I don’t want your family, I don’t want my family, to be victims of crime.

“So what I want to ensure is that people who are the greatest threat to you and your family are kept out of circulation for longer... but those who are capable of being rehabilitated should be rehabilitated. And that seems to me to be smart.”

Alex Chalk rejects suggestion King’s Speech measures are focused on general election

08:19 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk rejected the suggestion that the measures in the King’s Speech were focused on a general election, expected next year.

He told LBC: “I would respectfully disagree. You’re right, there is a general election in the air, that’s correct.

“A lot of the things that we are doing are things that we have been thinking about for some time. So I myself personally, when I wasn’t in government last year, I was speaking at the Conservative Party conference, and a lot of what we’re going to do, they’re the very measures that I was talking about then.

“These are things that people like me and others have been thinking about, have been working out, have been doing the intellectual groundwork on and we’re now going to bring them into force.”

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

King’s Speech 2023: Charles and Black Rod’s roles in the State Opening of Parliament explained

08:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

On Tuesday, King Charles will deliver his first State Opening of Parliament as monarch – an event that has been long been steeped in custom, pomp and pageantry.

The event marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and sets out the government’s proposed policies and legislation for the 2023-24 session.

The late Queen Elizabeth II delivered the speech a total of 67 times during her reign and only missed it only a handful of times including the year of her death last year. Charles delivered a speech on behalf of his mother in May 2022.

He will now be embracing traditions that have been in place since the 16th century for the first time as monarch. Here’s all of the pomp and pageantry to expect from the event…

All of the pomp and pageantry surrounding the King at the State Opening of Parliament

Suella Braverman plan to stop tents for homeless people junked from Kings Speech by No 10

08:43 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Home secretary Suella Braverman’s plan to restrict charities from giving out tents to homeless people has been junked from the King’s Speech by No 10.

Rishi Sunak is uncomfortable with the language used by Ms Braverman after she was roundly condemned for describing said rough sleeping “lifestyle choice”, The Independent understands.

The right-wing cabinet minister had proposed establishing a civil offence to deter charities from providing tents to homeless people in need.

Suella Braverman plan to stop tents for homeless people junked from Kings Speech

The King’s Speech: What are the good, the bad and the ugly bills of parliament’s next session?

09:13 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Laudable and well received as many of these government initiatives will be, it’s difficult to see them making many switch their vote before a potential January 2025 election, writes Sean O’Grady:

His Majesty the King will shortly deliver his first Most Gracious Address as head of state, to parliament, commonly known as the King’s Speech. As ever, the text has been prepared by his ministers.

As part of the ceremonial aspects of the constitution, it goes back, in some form or other, for many centuries, and is a small reminder that we remain a constitutional monarchy and not a populist dictatorship in a system of one-party rule.

Politically, its significance lies in how it sets the tone as well as the practical programme for the forthcoming session of parliament. Given that the next general election must be held by January 2025, it’s necessarily going to be lighter than if it were being made by a change of government straight after a general election.

It also has to be less controversial, so that Tory party unity is preserved more easily and the bills actually get passed.

The King’s Speech: a medley of bills with no unifying theme

Anti-monarchy protestors stage major demonstration ahead of King’s Speech

09:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Campaign group Republic is to stage its first major anti-monarchy demonstration in London since its members were arrested on the day of the King’s coronation.

A few hundred people are expected to gather near the House of Parliament during the first state opening of the King’s reign today.

The Metropolitan Police was criticised after six Republic members were detained ahead of a pre-agreed coronation protest on May 6.

Chief executive Graham Smith, who is now taking legal action against the Met, was among those held for more than 14 hours under the sweeping powers of the new Public Order Act.

Mr Smith said Tuesday’s protest was about the place of the Crown in parliament and the “ramshackle state of our constitution”.

“Our parliament is opened by a king wearing a crown while sitting in the Lords,” he said.

“It is just weird we continue with this pantomime that celebrates the worst, least democratic aspects of our political system.”

Anti-Monarchy pressure group Republic fly
Anti-Monarchy pressure group Republic fly

In pictures: Guests await the State Opening of Parliament

10:12 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Baroness Floella Benjamin and other members of the House of Lords (PA)
Baroness Floella Benjamin and other members of the House of Lords (PA)
Princess Antonia, Duchess of Wellington (PA)
Princess Antonia, Duchess of Wellington (PA)
Lord Michael Grade (PA)
Lord Michael Grade (PA)

Leading LGBT+ charity criticises ditching of Conversion Therapy Ban from King’s speech

10:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Leading LGBT+ charity Stonewall has criticised the fact the Conversion Therapy Ban will not be included in the King’s speech.

Robbie de Santos, of Stonewall, said: “The UK Government’s failure to deliver a ban on conversion practices after five years of promises is an act of frightful negligence - in doing so, it has given the green light for the abuse against LGBTQ+ people to continue unchecked.

“Rather than getting mired in a cynical cultural war, the UK Government should be making decisions based on what the evidence and expertise said. England and Wales’ 1.5 million LGBTQ+ people, and their families, deserve better.”

11:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Live: King delivers Speech for first time as monarch at State Opening of Parliament

Watch: King Charles leaves Buckingham Palace for State Opening of Parliament

11:13 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Watch: King and Queen enter Palace of Westminster for State Opening of Parliament

11:25 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

In pictures: King and Queen arrive at Palace of Westminster

11:29 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain


King Charles III enters House of Lords

11:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The King has entered the House of Lords wearing his ceremonial robes.

The speech is due to start imminently.

Black Rod explained

11:33 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Members of Parliament are summoned by Black Rod, an official position currently held by British ambassador Sarah Clarke, who is the first female holder of the role in its 650-year history.

Before entering into the chamber, the Black Rod has the door shut in her face, symbolising the chamber’s independence from the monarchy.

The Black Rod struck the door three times before it is opened.

King begins his speech by remembering his late mother

11:36 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The King is now delivering his speech as he begins by remembering his mother, the late Queen.

11:38 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The King announced: “My ministers’ focus is on increasing economic growth and safeguarding the health and security of the British people for generations to come.

“My Government will continue to take action to bring down inflation, to ease the cost of living for families and help businesses fund new jobs and investment.

“My ministers will support the Bank of England to return inflation to target by taking responsible decisions on spending and borrowing. These decisions will help household finances, reduce public sector debt, and safeguard the financial security of the country.”

11:39 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The King continued: “The impact of Covid and the war in Ukraine have created significant long-term challenges for the United Kingdom.

“That is why my Government’s priority is to make the difficult but necessary long-term decisions to change this country for the better.”

He said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s administration was focused on “increasing economic growth and safeguarding the health and security of the British people for generations to come”.

The Government would “continue to take action to bring down inflation” and support the Bank of England in that goal by taking “responsible decisions on spending and borrowing”.

King’s Speech reveals plan for annual oil and gas licences

11:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

King Charles – a keen environmentalist – has confirmed Rishi Sunak’s plan to mandate for annual oil and gas licenses – despite outrage from environmentalists.

The monarch said the bill was aimed at “helping the country to transition to net zero by 2050 without adding undue burdens on households”.

Pitched as necessary for energy security, the bill will require the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) to invite applications for new production licences every year.

The heavily-trailed move has already sparked outrage from climate campaigners and has already been met with scepticism from Labour – which has committed to not allowing any more exploration licences in oil and gas.

11:42 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Commenting on education, the King said: “My ministers will strengthen education for the long term. Steps will be taken to ensure young people have the knowledge and skills to succeed, through the introduction of the Advanced British Standard that will bring technical and academic routes into a single qualification.

“Proposals will be implemented to reduce the number of young people studying poor quality university degrees and increase the number undertaking high quality apprenticeships.

“My ministers will take steps to make the economy more competitive, taking advantage of freedoms afforded by the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.

“A bill will be brought forward to promote trade and investment with economies in the fastest growing region in the world. My ministers will continue to negotiate trade agreements with dynamic economies, delivering jobs and growth in the United Kingdom.”

Government will create ‘smoke-free generation’, says King

11:43 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

King Charles has confirmed the plan to stop young people from smoking.

He said the legislation will “create a smoke-free generation”.Rishi Sunak’s government will bring in a law that would stop children who turn 14 this year and those younger from ever legally buying cigarettes or tobacco in England.

The plan was announced in a Tory party conference speech a few weeks ago.

A personal passion for the PM, it was hailed by health campaigners as a critical step towards creating a smoke-free generation.


Government to create National Holocaust Memorial

11:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

King Charles has confirmed that the government will bring back the Holocaust Memorial Bill. Plans to build a memorial centre in Victoria Tower Gardens – situated next to parliament – ran into difficulties over a 1900 law requiring the land to be used as a public park.

Meanwhile, the government will also introduce a bill banning public bodies such as local authorities from boycotting Israel.

The timing of the Economic Activities of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill has proved controversial – with some Tories warning it could exacerbate tensions during Israel-Hamas conflict.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Ban on no-fault evictions – but with conditions

11:47 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The King’s Speech confirms that the government has again committed to protect renters with a ban on “no fault” evictions by landlords as part on the long-delayed Renters Reform Bill.

However, as levelling up secretary Michael Gove said last month, the government will not abolish section 21 evictions until “new court process” can speed up decisions – a move sparking outrage among campaigners who fear it kicks the vital change into the long grass.

The plans include banning new leasehold houses so that all new houses are freehold from the outset. But this may differ for flats – ministers are believed to be planning to deliver a reformed commonhold system.

A new bill will increase the standard lease extension term from 90 years to 990 years for both houses and flats, with ground rents reduced to zero by extension. A requirement for leaseholders to have owned for two years before extending will be removed.


King’s Speech: What policies made it in and what’s been removed?

11:49 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Rishi Sunak is hoping to make law and order a key election battleground with a series of measures promising tougher sentences for killers, rapists and grooming gang ringleaders.

The prime minister has also used the King’s Speech in parliament to create a dividing line with Labour on climate change, with a new law bringing in annual oil and gas licensing in the North Sea.

The King’s Speech also saw a smoking ban – with the Tory government planning to stop children who turn 14 this year and those younger from ever legally buying cigarettes in England.

King’s Speech: What policies made it in and what’s been removed?

11:51 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Black Rod summons MPs to hear King’s Speech at State Opening of Parliament

King’s Speech 2023: Charles and Black Rod’s roles in the State Opening of Parliament explained

11:54 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Wondering what the shouting of “Black Rod” and the slamming of doors was all about?

Here’s all the pomp and pageantry explained:

All of the pomp and pageantry surrounding the King at the State Opening of Parliament

King’s Speech was the longest monarch’s speech at State Opening of Parliament since 2005

11:56 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The King’s Speech ran to 1,223 words, making it the longest monarch’s speech at a State Opening of Parliament since 2005.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In pictures: Members of House of Lords and House of Commons at Palace of Westminster

12:04 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain


Shadow minister says government has ‘run out of steam’ after King’s Speech

12:06 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Shadow minister Chris Bryant has attacked the King’s Speech saying it was not a legislative programme for a whole year.

Mr Bryant said: “We could get most of this done in a fortnight and then have a general election”.

“This government has run out of steam and run out of ideas,” he said.

‘Green light for the abuse of LGBTQ+ people’

12:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Robbie de Santos, a director at Stonewall, said the decision to drop a ban on conversion practices after five years of promises was “an act of frightful negligence” and “has given the green light for the abuse against LGBTQ+ people to continue unchecked”.

Jayne Ozanne, the former government adviser who now leads the Ban Conversion Therapy coalition, has said she was “so angry” that the Tories broke on a firm promise to ban the practice.

“The Tory party will never be trusted by LGBT people, their friends and allies again. The moral failure to protect LGBT people takes us back to the 1980s.”

Sunak claims UK has ‘turned the corner’ under his leadership

12:25 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Rishi Sunak has claimed the UK has “turned the corner” under his leadership, as he hit out at a justice system he said had been “too lenient” for too long.

In his introduction to what risks being the King’s speech while he is prime minister, Ms Sunak insisted there were “clear” results from his flagship five priorities.

He said the government was “stopping the boats”, despite tens of thousands of migrants arriving in the UK on small boats.

He acknowledged there was “more to do” to cut NHS waiting lists, but insisted he had “made progress”.

“We have turned the corner over the last year and put the country on a better path,” he said.

“But these immediate priorities are not the limit of our ambition. They are just the foundations of our plan to build a better future for our children and grandchildren, and deliver the change the country needs.”

The justice system he said had been “too lenient” for “too long” and left victims “feeling hollow, even when perpetrators are caught”.


Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s family welcome plans to force defendants to hear sentencing

12:35 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The mother of a nine-year-old girl who was shot dead in her own home has welcomed the confirmation of plans to make defendants attend court for sentencing hearings.

Cheryl Korbel, whose daughter Olivia Pratt-Korbel was killed in August last year, told Good Morning Britain that the proposals, outlined in the King’s Speech on Tuesday, gave the family comfort.

She and Olivia’s aunt have campaigned for the change after Olivia’s killer, Thomas Cashman, refused to attend court for his sentencing.

Ms Korbel told the broadcaster: “It is a very important step forward. It will bring a little bit of comfort knowing that no other family will go through what we’ve been through.”

She went on: “I really did want to address him - for the pain that he’s put us through, that we’re still going through.

“And to have the audacity to be there for the whole month and then not to turn up on the day of the sentence. It’s disrespectful to the family and to the judge, not to hear the sentence being passed.”

What is the Renters’ Reform Bill and what are no-fault evictions?

12:42 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The long-awaited ban on Section 21 “no-fault” evictions will not be brought in until a new court process and stronger possession grounds for landlords are in place, the government has confirmed.

Giving his first King’s Speech as monarch, King Charles said: “Renters will benefit from stronger security of tenure and better value, while landlords will benefit from reforms to provide certainty that they can regain their properties when needed.”

Charities and campaigning organisations within the private rental sector have been calling for the abolition of Section 21 evictions, saying renters have already had to wait far too long for reform.

What is the Renters’ Reform Bill and what are no-fault evictions?

12:53 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

King Charles booed by protesters after State Opening of Parliament: ‘Not my King’

Senior Tory condemns failure on mental health reform - as charity attacks ‘profound betrayal’

13:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Senior Tory MP Steve Brine, chair of the health selected committee, has criticised the failure to introduce a bill to reform the Mental Health Act.

“It is disappointing that the government has failed to bring forward legislation to overhaul the Mental Health Act,” he said.

“The draft bill, among its planned reforms, would outlaw the inappropriate detention of people with learning disabilities and autism. Without change, too many people will continue to be held in secure units, often for years at a time. These reforms are long overdue.”

The Rethink Mental Illness charity said the failure to introduce a bill was “a profound betrayal” to people that have been detained under the Mental Health Act “and everyone who has campaigned for decades to reform it”.

13:10 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Lindsay Hoyle’s shuffle draws laughs from MPs at State Opening of Parliament

Is that it? Smallest legislative programme in nearly a decade

13:29 , Adam Forrest

Rishi Sunak’s package of 20 bills in the King's Speech has been dismissed as unambitious by the opposition. And as commentators such as Sky News’ Beth Rigby points out, it is the smallest legislative programme for almost a decade.

“You have to go back to 2014 to find a state opening with fewer bills. Contrast with Johnson, who set out 38 bills – the highest number since Blair in 2005 – in his 2022 Queen’s Speech.”

Exclusive: Tory MP accuses government of ‘failing’ patients after Mental Health Act reforms dropped

13:31 , Andy Gregory

The most vulnerable mental health patients have been failed by the government after it shelved a bill to reform the Mental Health Act, a long-standing Tory MP has warned.

Sir Charles Walker, a long-term advocate for mental health services who has spoken about his own battles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, criticised Rishi Sunak for failing to bring forward legislation in the King’s Speech to “modernise” the 40-year-old act, despite it being a key plank of the Conservative manifesto in 2019.

It means changes to the act are highly unlikely to be passed before the next general election, with one charity accusing the government of “betrayal”.

Sir Charles, who sat on the government’s scrutiny committee for the Mental Health Act reforms, told The Independent it was a “great shame” it had not been included in the speech. “It’s a harsh characterisation [of the government], but I think we are failing them [patients],” he said.

Our health correspondent Rebecca Thomas has the full report here:

Tory MP accuses government of ‘failing’ patients after mental health reforms shelved

‘Utter failure of leadership’, says Greenpeace

13:39 , Adam Forrest

Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, accused Mr Sunak of “divisive electioneering is a complete and utter failure of leadership”.

She said he had had “decided to line up a licencing bonanza for his pals in the oil and gas industry that the government has already admitted won’t lower bills – and won’t deliver energy security either”.

Senior Tory bemoans failure to regulate AI

13:41 , Adam Forrest

Greg Clark, the Tory chair of the science select committee, has condemned the “disappointing” failure to include an AI bill that would help regulate the sector.

“This new session of parliament will be the last opportunity to pass significant legislation before the general election, and in all likelihood, before 2025,” he said.

Despite the hullabaloo of the Bletchley Park summit, Mr Clark said 2025 “may by then be too late for the UK to differentiate itself in any meaningful way”.

Olivia Pratt Korbel’s mother emotional as King’s Speech announces laws forcing killers to attend sentencing

13:47 , Andy Gregory

Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s mother became emotional after discussing new laws to ensure criminals attend their sentencing hearings which were included in the King’s Speech, my colleague Holly Patrick reports.

Thomas Cashman was jailed for life after he shot and killed Cheryl Korbel’s nine-year-old daughter at her home in Liverpool, on 22 August 2022. He refused to come up to the dock when he was sentenced.

Ms Korbel told Good Morning Britain the “silence” is the hardest part of her life since her daughter was killed and praised the proposed law change as “a very important step forward.”

‘Cheap electioneering’ with nothing for workers, say unions

13:54 , Andy Gregory

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

The TUC has described the legislative plans in the King’s Speech as “cheap electioneering” and “a desperate last throw of the dice”.

General secretary Paul Nowak said the Tories were “attacking people’s fundamental right to strike” with the plan to expand minimum service levels.

He added: “Instead of fixing our crumbling public services the government is trying to blame paramedics, teachers and other key workers for their failures.”

Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect union, said it was “a missed opportunity to show working people that the government understands the pressures” from the cost of living crisis.

“There was nothing in this speech to deliver the jobs, investment and hope … This is now clearly a lame duck administration for workplace rights.”

Unison’s general secretary Christina McAnea said: “This is a government with nothing left to offer. There was little announced today that will make the slightest bit of difference to the many real and deep-seated problems the country faces.”

Watch: Ban on cigarettes for future generations confirmed in King’s Speech

13:59 , Andy Gregory

No 10 dodges questions on whether ban on tents for homeless could be legislated

14:03 , Andy Gregory

Downing Street has declined to say whether action to try and prevent people sleeping on the streets in tents would eventually be included in the Criminal Justice Bill

The Bill, as set out in the King’s Speech, did not feature a proposal from home secretary Suella Braverman to ban charities from handing out tents to the homeless – plans which have sparked outrage among experts and fellow Tory MPs since she first raised them last week.

Asked whether this could still be added, Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman told reporters at a Westminster briefing: “It’s not for me to get into setting out the details of what will or will not be included.

“We’ve set out our focus for this Bill already. As with all these Bills, there will be further details set out when they are brought to the House.

“We’ve said that no-one should be criminalised for having nowhere to live and we are repealing the outdated Vagrancy Act. We want to go as far as possible to ensure that those who are vulnerable can get the support they need and obviously at the same time cracking down on anti-social, intimidating or indeed criminal behaviour.”

‘Total moral failure’ on conversion therapy ban, says ex-adviser

14:16 , Adam Forrest

Jayne Ozanne, the former government LGBT+ adviser who now leads the Ban Conversion Therapy coalition, is angry at Rishi Sunak for ditching the promised ban on efforts to change people’s sexuality or gender identity.

“To break your flagship promise to a community that has seen a significant rise in hate crime is a total moral failure,” she told The Independent. “To do so after five years of posturing, with minimal engagement with victims of ‘conversion therapy’, shows just how callously the government treats LGBT+ lives.

Ozanne added: “The prime minister’s failure to act will be remembered for years to come, it will take generations for LGBT+ people to trust his party again.”

Deputy PM to lead Cobra meeting

14:16 , Adam Forrest

Oliver Dowden will chair a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee to consider the impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict in the UK.

Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said “it will look a wide range of areas but it’s obviously particularly focused on the impact of the terrorist attack on the UK domestically” and how to address important issues around “community cohesion”.

‘No proper ambition’ from government, says Labour

14:29 , Andy Gregory

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the government’s legislative programme was “thin” and lacked “proper ambition”.

She told Sky News there was “no serious plan on growth, no serious plan on the cost of living crisis, no serious plan to tackle the waiting lists in the NHS”.

Ms Cooper also accused Rishi Sunak of presiding over “chaos”, adding: “This lot are total chaos and it's really damaging and unfair for the country.”

Sunak plan is ‘ambitious', insists former Tory minister

14:30 , Adam Forrest

Senior Tory Andrea Leadsom told The Independent: “I thought the King’s Speech was ambitious in seeking to make an improvement in people’s lives – from the law and order measures, including making sure people who have committed horrendous crimes serve full life sentences, to the renters reform bill and leasehold bill which will be valuable in giving people greater security in their home.”

The former cabinet minister added: “The energy security measures get the balance right between keeping the lights on and keeping the bills down whilst still decarbonising faster than any other G7 nation.”

Gaza, smoking and crime: Key points from King Charles’s State Opening speech

14:35 , Andy Gregory

Government will consider any application to stop pro-Palestine march

14:41 , Adam Forrest

Rishi Sunak believes a pro-Palestinian march on Armistice Day would be “provocative and disrespectful”.

The PM’s official spokesman said operational decisions on whether to ban the planned march in London were for the Metropolitan Police. But the spokesman said the Government would “carefully consider” any application to prevent the march.

“The prime minister himself does not think it’s right for these sorts of protests to be scheduled on Armistice Day," the spokesman said. “He believes that is provocative and disrespectful.”

Watch live as parliament debates agenda set out in King Charles III’s speech

14:43 , Andy Gregory

You can watch live in the article below, as parliament debates the government’s legislative agenda set out by King Charles III at the state opening of parliament.

Rishi Sunak insisted he has “turned the corner” to put the country on a better path as he set out his pre-election stall in the King’s Speech to present challenges for Sir Keir Starmer:

Watch live as parliament debates agenda set out in King Charles III’s speech

‘No excuse’ for kicking no-fault eviction ban into long grass, says Shelter

14:47 , Andy Gregory

Shelter has warned that the government cannot be allowed “to play politics” with banning no-fault evictions, hitting out at a “ludicrous” decision to halt the long-awaited measure until court reforms are first in place.

Polly Neate, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Forcing renters to wait until unspecified court reforms take place to ban Section 21 no fault evictions is ludicrous. We cannot allow the government to play politics with this essential reform and give in to a small minority of landlords on its own backbench while so many renters continue to suffer.

“For England’s 11 million private tenants who live with the constant threat that they’ll be served a no-fault eviction and given just two months to find a new home, loose promises and unspecified timeframes are not going to cut it.

“With timings for court proceedings back to pre-pandemic levels, there’s no excuse for kicking a ban on no fault evictions into the long grass. If the government plans to keep its promises to renters, then it needs to pass a watertight Renters (Reform) Bill without caveats or loopholes and set out a clear timeline of when unfair evictions will be banned.”

No 10 criticises ‘repulsive’ alleged attack on poppy seller

14:55 , Andy Gregory

Reports that a poppy seller was punched during a pro-Palestinian rally are “awful”, Downing Street has said.

A 78-year-old veteran was reportedly struck as he tried to leave Waverley Station in Edinburgh before being helped by railway staff.

Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: “This was a repulsive act. Mr Henderson, like all our veterans, has made huge sacrifices for our country.

“We are confident the police will treat this incident very seriously and use the full force of the law available to them.”

Republicans chant ‘what a waste of money’ as King arrives in Whitehall

15:01 , Andy Gregory

Anti-monarchy protesters booed the King at the state opening of Parliament, as the event was branded “not compatible with democracy”.

Loud boos rang out from dozens of members of campaign group Republic as they chanted “not my king”, “what a waste of money”, and “down with the crown” when the King arrived in Whitehall in a carriage procession from Buckingham Palace.

LGBTQ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who was among the protesters, said: “It’s an absurd contradiction that an unelected monarch head of state is opening a democratic, elected parliament - that is not compatible with democracy.

“We want a democratically elected head of state, voted for by the people and accountable to the people, it is what most modern democracies have. Monarchy is an anachronism, it’s a residue from feudalism and before. It’s time we had a democratically-elected head of state.”

The 71-year-old added the monarchy symbolises “elitism, privilege, snobbery, deference and huge social inequality”, adding: “The royals have 23 palaces and luxury residences, 700 servants and a combined personal wealth of £2 billion on which they pay not a penny of inheritance tax – that’s outrageous.”

Anti-monarchy protesters demonstrated at the State Opening of Parliament (EPA/ANDY RAIN)
Anti-monarchy protesters demonstrated at the State Opening of Parliament (EPA/ANDY RAIN)

Does ‘light’ King Speech’s point to May general election?

15:05 , Adam Forrest

Some Labour sources have suggested that the “thin” legislative programme points to a May general election. But David TC Davies, the Welsh secretary, rejected the suggestion.

The cabinet minister said the legislation would take the government “the next year” to get through parliament. “I have got absolutely no idea when the next election is coming, I really don’t mind, I am looking forward to whenever it does come,” he told Sky News.

Government considering new tax on vapes

15:11 , Andy Gregory

Our Whitehall and politics editor Kate Devlin reports:

The government is considering a new tax on vapes.

Documents published alongside the King’s Speech show the government will explore “a new duty on vapes as other countries have done”.

Ministers are understood to see vapes as a useful tool to cut smoking, but warn they are not risk free.

A new tax on vapes could target their affordability and therefore reduce their appeal.

No 10 said there was an "important balance" to be struck to ensure there was a significant difference between a duty on vapes and those on cigarettes, to ensure the move did not encourage more people to take up smoking.

Braverman ‘not fit’ to be home secretary, says Tory grandee

15:25 , Adam Forrest

Tory grandee Dominic Grieve said Suella Braverman was “not fit” to be home secretary, amid ongoing criticism for her description of rough sleeping as “lifestyle choice” and pro-Palestine protests as “hate marches”.

The former cabinet minister told The Independent: “The home secretary’s comments on homelessness being a lifestyle choice are a million miles from reality. It was improper language.”

The ex-attorney general added: “The marches may attract some people who uttering hate, it’s also attracting people who are engaged in a perfectly law-abiding right to protest. To describe them as hate marches is inflammatory language.”

“I find it regrettable that someone occupying such high office has so little understanding of what it involves. She is not a fit and proper person to hold this office.”

Tories offering ‘economic miserabilism’, says Starmer

15:32 , Adam Forrest

Keir Starmer has said the King’s Speech was “a plan for more of the same”, condemning the “desperate spectacle” of the Tory government “claiming it offers change”.

The Labour leader told the Commons said the programme was “an exercise in economic miserabilism” and an admission that the government “has no faith in Britain’s ability to avert decline”.

Sir Keir said: “What we have before us is a plan for more of the same – more sticking plasters, more division, more party first, country second gimmicks and no repudiation of the utterly discredited idea that economic growth is something the few hand down to the many.

“In fact, today we reached something of a new low because they are not even pretending to govern any more,” Sir Keir added – accusing the Tories of seeing the country’s problems “as something to be exploited, not solved”.

Starmer attacks Braverman’s ‘divisive brand of politics’

15:53 , Adam Forrest

Keir Starmer has accused home secretary Suella Braverman of using security issues and the threat of extremism as a “platform for her own ambition”.

He condemned Ms Braverman for treating the challenge of extremism as “legitimate terrain for her divisive brand of politics”.

The Labour leader accused the Tory party of being “devoid of leadership” that it “happy to follow a home secretary who describes homelessness as a lifestyle choice”.

He added: “Homelessness is a choice. It’s a political choice”.

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer walked together through the central lobby ahead of the State Opening of Parliament (PA)
Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer walked together through the central lobby ahead of the State Opening of Parliament (PA)

Watch: Covid taskforce ‘blindsided’ by Eat out to Help Out scheme, Covid inquiry told

16:01 , Andy Gregory

Away from the Commons for a moment, here is a snippet from the former Covid taskforce chief Simon Ridley’s testimony to the ongoing Covid inquiy, which will make awkward listening for the current PM:

Tory MP ‘angry and frustrated’ at broken promise on conversion therapy ban

16:10 , Adam Forrest

Tory MP Elliot Colburn told The Independent he was “angry and frustrated” at Rishi Sunak’s decision to drop the promised ban on conversion therapy.

The backbencher also said he was “very confident” there was enough Tory MPs willing to rebel on the issue and work with opposition parties to get the ban through parliament.

“It’s complete mistake,” said Mr Colburn. “I’m angry and frustrated. It’s a promised been made many times, and we’re back in the wilderness. We delivered Brexit quicker than we delivered this.”

He added: “We know there’s a criminal justice bill – and that’s a perfect opportunity to table amendments to try to get this into law. We are looking at other mechanisms. I would be confident the numbers are there [to defeat the government. I think the whips could be surprised … at how difficult a job they have on their hands.”

Braverman ‘capable of upending everything’, says Peter Mandelson

16:19 , Adam Forrest

Former Labour cabinet minister Peter Mandelson has told The TimesHow To Win an Election podcast that Suella Braverman is a “born disruptor” amid controversy over her remarks on homelessness and “hate marches”.

“What she wants to do is to follow in the trail of Johnson and Truss as the person capable of upending everything in sight, disrupting the established order, trading against the elite.”

Tory peer Daniel Finkelstein said Ms Braverman was trying to “push as far as she possibly can, probably without getting the sack”.

He added: “What she wants to be is the outrider. And what she wants to be is the right-wing candidate of the next leadership election. So this is not is not aimed at Rishi Sunak… It’s more aimed at Kemi Badenoch and James Cleverly.”

Housing commitments in King’s Speech ‘ring hollow’, says IPPR expert

16:26 , Andy Gregory

The government’s promises to protect renters “ring hollow” without plans to abolish no-fault evictions outright contained within the King’s Speech, a leading think-tank has said.

“Leasehold is an archaic and unfair part of the UK housing system. Although the plan to ban leaseholds on new houses is welcome as a step in the right direction, the real issue is with what wasn’t announced,” said Maya Singer Hobbs, senior research fellow at IPPR.

“The announcement does not cover new flats, which make up 70 per cent of leaseholds in England.

“The promise to protect renters, but without abolishing Section 21 ’no fault’ evictions outright, rings hollow when people are at risk of eviction now.”

Watch: Keir Starmer warns PM about home secretary

16:35 , Andy Gregory

Sunak has left LGBT community ‘at mercy of bigots and quacks’, says senior Tory

16:42 , Andy Gregory

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Senior Tory MP Alicia Kearns told The Independent that Rishi Sunak’s decision to “leave LGBT people at the mercy of bigots and quacks is deeply disappointing” and “flies in the face of promises made from the despatch box”.

“Everyone understands that a conversion therapy ban would be complex, but surely we have confidence that the British parliament is capable of rising to that challenge?” said the chair of the foreign affairs select committee.

Ms Kearns added: “I will continue to work with the majority of MPs who want to see this practice ended for good, and call on the government to do the right thing.”

‘Proper investment’ into criminal justice system needed to enforce harsher sentences, say barristers

16:58 , Andy Gregory

The government must invest more into the criminal justice system if it is serious about increasing sentences for rape and murder, the Criminal Bar Association has warned in response to the measures outlined in the King’s Speech.

With court backlogs at a record high, and many prisons already well over capacity, Tana Adkin KC – chair of the group representing criminal barristers – said: “Expressing a commitment to harsher sentences and served to term for serious criminal offences only works if there is proper investment in the prison estate and the rest of the criminal justice system.

“Proper investment has been lacking for years to support other sentencing options to free up prison spaces for those that need to be in prison.

“If we want prison sentences to work, government must invest in the infrastructure – but more importantly the people in the criminal justice system – to ensure we have the capacity to punish wrongdoers, deter others and rehabilitate those who are imprisoned at great cost to the taxpayer as well as themselves and their families.”

King’s Speech must have really stuck in Charles’ throat, says Green Party

17:12 , Andy Gregory

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: “This King’s Speech, which must have really stuck in the throat of King Charles, demonstrates a government out of ideas and out of touch. There’s nothing in it to offer communities any hope with the cost of living crisis or the growing impacts of the climate emergency.

“Instead, Rishi Sunak has decided: when in a climate hole, keep digging. Pushing for new oil and gas drilling licences is an act of environmental vandalism.

“Encouraging energy giants to exploit fossil fuel reserves they then sell on the global market at global prices cannot provide either security or cheaper energy bills. Even the government’s own Energy Security, Claire Coutinho, had to admit that the government’s plan to require annual oil and gas licensing in the North Sea offers no guarantee of keeping energy bills down.

“With the Conservatives now looking increasingly like a zombie government today is a big challenge for Labour. Will they pledge to undo the damage inflicted on the climate by the Conservatives today and commit to not a single new oil and gas licence from day one of a Labour government?”

Watch: SNP politician criticises 'pomp' of King's Speech amid cost of living crisis

17:21 , Andy Gregory

‘Serious omission’ on indefinite prison sentences in King’s Speech, expert warns

17:30 , Andy Gregory

An expert has warned of a “serious omission” in the King’s Speech to commit to leglislating on the thousands of people still stuck serving indefinite prison sentences, in a hangover from the last Labour government.

“We are troubled to see no commitment to legislate on IPPs in the speech despite the justice secretary’s stated intention to do so, and hope this serious omission can be swiftly rectified,” said Pia Sinha, chief executive of the Prison Reform Trust.

Ms Sinha also warned that the government’s plans to send UK prisoners abroad to serve their sentences is “a startling admission of the hole the government has dug itself on prison capacity, largely as a consequence of ill thought through punitive justice policies”.

She added: “This parliament also inherits a victims bill from the previous session, saddled with controversial changes to the parole system which undermine judicial independence and the vital role of the Parole Board in assessing risk.”

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website