Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

United Kingdom: Queen’s Speech for 2013

(May 20, 2013) The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland recently laid her annual speech before Parliament for 2013. The speech sets out the government’ legislative agenda for the upcoming year. There are many items included this year, with the focus being on continued measures to improve and strengthen the UK’s economy, to ensure that it is globally competitive, and on immigration reform, to ensure that that people who contribute to the UK’s economy can enter the country and those who abuse the system or enter illegally are identified and removed. (Oral Statement to Parliament: The Queen’s Speech 2013, GOV.UK (May 8, 2013) [the text of the speech].)

Specific legislative measures that will be put before Parliament include:

  • an immigration bill to attract people who contribute to the country, combined with measures to tackle the problem of illegal immigration by denying illegal migrants access to the services to which they are not entitled, making the removal of the immigrants easier; increasing fines for employers who hire illegal immigrants; regulating access to the National Health Service by migrants; requiring landlords to verify the immigration status of their tenants; and prohibiting illegal immigrants from obtaining driving licenses;
  • a bill to reform how offenders are rehabilitated and to reform the police;
  • proposals to assist the investigation of online crimes, including consideration of a single-user Internet Protocol address to ensure that Internet phone calls can be properly traced;
  • new measures on how defense equipment is procured;
  • measures to tackle dogs that are dangerously out of control;
  • a bill to tackle anti-social behaviour, such as vandalism and loitering;
  • a bill to provide payments for individuals suffering from asbestos-related cancer if no liable party can be determined; and
  • a bill to improve the political institutions of Northern Ireland with the intent of promoting long-term peace and stability. (Id.; At a Glance – Queen’s Speech Sets Out Government Agenda for Next Year. Plus What’s Not on It, THE INDEPENDENT (London) (May 8, 2013).)

The Queen’s speech has attracted attention this year more for the subjects not included than those included. Missing from the agenda are:

  • a referendum to determine whether the UK should remain part of the European Union;
  • legislation to ensure that the UK spends 0.7% of its gross domestic product on foreign aid;
  • the requirement of plain packaging for cigarettes;
  • more restrictions for political lobbyists; and
  • the ability to remove mid-term Members of Parliament who have behaved improperly, through a by-election. (At a Glance – Queen’s Speech Sets Out Government Agenda for Next Year. Plus What’s Not on It, supra.)

There have been reports that the Labour party, currently the opposition party, is offering its assistance to the Prime Minister to push some of these dropped policies through Parliament. Even though these items are not contained in the Queen’s speech, they can still be introduced, and some of the more high-profile items will likely be introduced in the form of Private Member’s bills. (Rowena Mason, Queen’s Speech: Labour Offers David Cameron Help Passing Laws Blocked by Backbench Tories, THE TELEGRAPH (London) (May 8, 2013).)