They failed to win a majority – now the Tories are having to make compromises.
British politics is bound to lots of traditions, most of which seem incredibly strange and archaic in the present day. One of these is the Queen’s speech, due to take place on June 19. In a nutshell, the Queen’s speech is what happens at the start of a new parliamentary year. It takes place regardless of whether there’s a new government in power. But 2017’s Queen’s speech takes on extra importance because nobody has a bloody clue what’s in store for the future of this country.
The Queen doesn’t actually write the speech (the fraud!). It’s penned by ministers, and outlines every key policy the elected government intends to turn into law within the next 12 months. As is tradition, politicians turn up in ludicrous robes to the House of Lords, the Queen does her thing, and the government is then left to discuss key policies in the House of Commons a few hours later. And did we mention the Queen’s speech is written on goatskin paper? Yet another what-the-fuck-is-this-country factoid for you, there.
Because this Conservative majority is so fragile – and held up by the DUP – there’s a strong chance they won’t be able to push through many of the main pledges in their election manifesto. Jeremy Corbyn also has his eye on voting down the Queen’s speech in the following weeks, providing his own bid for leading the country. So what’s usually a fairly straightforward, formal process could actually be fascinating in 2017.
With the Tories on the ropes, here are the divisive policies unlikely to make it into the Queen’s speech:
No “dementia tax”
This was the most controversial pledge in the Tory manifesto. It stated home care for the elderly would be funded by assets, such as a family home. Anyone with an estate worth £100,000 or more would have to fund their social care. This irked traditional Tory supporters, especially as the manifesto didn’t mention a cap on the amount each person would have to pay. It’s almost guaranteed to be omitted from the speech.
No ‘hard Brexit’
According to Theresa May, the entire point of this election was to strengthen her hand with negotiating Brexit. But the end result has left her in an even weaker position, with some declaring the hung parliament a rejection of ‘hard Brexit’ – meaning an uncompromising position, and the potential of leaving the EU without reaching a deal. In the wake of this result, it’s possible the government will opt for a ‘soft Brexit’, allowing for free movement of people and remaining a member of the single market. After a meeting last night (June 12) in Downing Street, May looks likely to work more closely with other factions of her party on negotiating Brexit. Scottish MP Ruth Davidson said: “We do have to make sure that we invite other people in now. This isn’t just going to be a Tory Brexit, this is going to have to involve the whole country.”
Sign up for the newsletter
No new grammar schools
The Tories wanted to “lift the band on the establishment of selective schools.” Which is to say, they wanted to establish more grammar schools. This was billed as a chance to give ‘ordinary kids’ from working class families a better shot at high-class education. But really, it was likely to create more social exclusion. Theresa May’s former chief of staff Nick Timothy was a big proponent of the policy, but he resigned in the wake of the the election result. It’s unlikely to get cross-party support, so won’t be mentioned.