Here is our news story on the Queen’s Speech.
MPs return to the Commons at 2.15pm ahead of David Cameron’s speech and Harriet Harman’s reply. As the (temporary) Labour leader, what should her strategy be?
Here are five tips to bear in mind:
1] Don’t sound too sour. It’s too early to try to spoil the sense of bonhomie and co-operation lingering over the new coalition. You can make a few constructive criticisms but try to sound positive.
2] Some of these policies are Labour legacies: academy schools, the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail, etc. It would be foolish to condemn them outright.
3] Ditto, the public want reform of British politics – though it may turn out they don’t want a new voting system. Make soothing, positive noises about the direction of travel re “strengthening Parliament”.
But there are valid concerns about the new rule which means a government can only dissolve itself with 55 per cent of votes in the chamber. Feel free to make the case against.
4] The coalition will claim it is helping civil liberties by scrapping ID cards and reducing CCTV cameras. These were your policies; it’s too early to pretend your heart was never in either. You will have to keep making the case for how both could have helped prevent crime and protect the public – at least for now.
You are also well within your rights to criticise the “politicisation of the police” via the plans for elected police commissioners. It’s a policy which has prompted anger among the police.
5] It will be tempting to slam “Cameron and Clegg” for “taking £6bn out of the economy” and “risking a double dip recession”. By all means defend some of the schemes scrapped yesterday, such as the Future Jobs Fund. But no one really believes that cutting the deficit by 4 per cent spells Armageddon – as this article explains. Save your most overblown rhetoric for the comprehensive spending review in the autumn.
6] You could also lay into the coalition for abolishing the planning infrastructure committee, which was designed to keep the lights on at the end of this decade by ensuring new power plants and wind farms get built.