Less pomp, more policies – here's what happened at today's (June 21) ceremony
The Queen’s Speech, in a nutshell, is a very formal gathering of royalty and politicians, where a bunch of proposed new laws are put into motion. It happens every year, whether there’s a new government or not. But thanks to the uncertainty of the current Conservative-led minority, this year’s Queen’s Speech has been a little different. Everything’s been toned down, from attire to policy. But the event still holds huge importance in outlining the country’s future which, in recent times, has looked fairly bleak.
27 bills were outlined in today’s speech (June 21), eight of which relate to Brexit. Some of these specifically affect young people, with important changes proposed related housing and domestic abuse. And they will all be debated in parliament over the next week. Here’s what you need to know:
It was a low-key ceremony compared to usual
Traditionally, Queen Elizabeth II turns up in a golden carriage, sports a swag crown and tells the country what’s what. But this year she wore a “day dress” and turned up in a car. But before you go thinking she’s a woman of the people, her crown also had its own car. Still, there was far less fanfare than usual, a reduction in pomp not seen since 1974.
It’s not happening next year
Like fellow national institution Glastonbury, the Queen’s Speech is taking a break in 2018. Why? Blame Brexit. Because parliament is expected to take a significant amount of time in negotiating terms, the length of its next term will be two years, not one. Meaning the Queen’s Speech isn’t necessary next year (and MPs have to work a bit harder).
The Queen might have been having a dig at Brexiteers
Hang on a second. Did The Queen turn up dressed as the EU?
Her low-key “day dress” and accompanying hat bore significant resemblance to the more blue-tinted EU flag. Many consider her to be an advocate of Brexit, but was this her way of saying goodbye?
Donald Trump’s state visit is almost definitely off the cards
The most controversial UK state visit looks like it’s no longer happening. Theresa May invited Trump over for a chinwag when she visited Washington back in January, leading to huge protests and a petition signed by nearly 2 million people. It was given no mention today, and Number 10 later claimed this was because it had no set date. But this remains a visit the majority of the country doesn’t want to happen, and May will hardly want any more controversy in the next few months.
Is this the end of crooked estate agents?
Policy-wise, flagship laws proposed in the Tory manifesto didn’t make it into the speech, largely because they would have been voted down in parliament. Of the policies that did make it through, the one affecting young people is the Tenant’s Fees Bill. A long time coming, it will outlaw fees to letting agents in the UK. You’ll no longer be charged hundreds just to renew a lease or to leave a property. Currently, estate agents get away with blind murder, charging an average of £223 for “admin” to new tenants. With these changes in place, an estimated 4,000 estate agents will lose their jobs (according to the ARLA Propertymark). There’s also a strong chance rent fees will be increased, as a result. So it’s not all good news.