THERESA May has thrown out huge chunks of the Tory election manifesto to clear Parliament’s decks for a titanic Brexit battle.
Eight different Bills to prepare Britain for its EU divorce dominated the Queen’s Speech yesterday.
As Her Majesty opened a marathon two-year session of Parliament, the only major action among the 19 other Bills will be a new Digital Charter to police the internet and fresh powers to tackle terrorism.
Mrs May told MPs that the recent wave of terror attacks had been “an unsettling time which has tested the spirit of our country”.
As well as vowing to act with “humility”, she also promised to run a changed government that “consults and listens”.
Conceding that she had been forced to water down her agenda for Britain after losing her majority two weeks ago, the PM admitted that her new package of laws “on its own will not solve every challenge our country faces”.
But she added: “It is a step forward to building a more compassionate, more united and more confident nation.”
On top of the giant Great Repeal Bill to move 40 years of EU law on to Britain’s statute books, other Brexit laws will prepare an independent UK for new regimes on immigration, trade, customs, fisheries, agriculture, nuclear safety and international sanctions.
But detail about the eight Brexit laws remained very thin yesterday, as much of what will go into them depends on negotiations in Brussels.
Lib Dems in the Lords, Remain-backing MPs and even the Scottish Parliament are leading the mounting opposition against those laws.
However, Mrs May was given a boost when the DUP’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds signalled his ten MPs, who hold the balance of power, are behind her.
He said: “I believe when people voted to leave, they voted to leave the single market and the customs union.”
There was no mention in the speech of the PM’s personal plans to crack down on fat cat pay and boardroom governance, relaxing planning laws for fracking, means-testing Winter Fuel Payments or ending the pensions Triple Lock.
Those issues now face a delay of at least two years.
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US President Donald Trump’s State visit also looks to have been pushed back until at least next year after it was not addressed.
Spokesmen for both the PM and the President insisted a date had yet to be fixed.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson added: “You can’t put the presidential visit in before the date has been agreed. But the visit will go ahead, believe you me.”
Mrs May’s pledges to set up new grammar schools, scrap free school lunches, hold a vote on fox hunting, repeal the Fixed Term Parliament Act and merge crime-fighting agencies were binned altogether.
And the Tories’ plan for an energy bills cap and were fudged.
The Government’s spending plan for public services is also to be redrawn to open up the money taps after the voters’ verdict on June 8.
The PM said she and Chancellor Philip Hammond “will reflect on the message the voters sent” — with a hint taxes could also go up for the better off in the Autumn Budget.
Among the pledges to survive complete is a new drive to tackle the spiralling scourge of terrorism.
The PM confirmed she will press ahead with a review of counter-terror powers, as well as the creation of an Extremism Commissioner to help root out radicalisation.
A Commons vote on building a third runway at Heathrow will also take place.
No10 last night insisted the Department for International Development will continue with efforts to rip up the global definition on Foreign Aid despite failing to mention the key manifesto pledge in yesterday’s speech.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn branded the Queen’s Speech a “threadbare legislative programme from a government that’s lost its majority and run out of ideas”.
But he drew loud jeers from the Conservatives when he added: “We are not an Opposition, we are a government in waiting”.
Other opposition MPs mocked Mrs May in the Commons, calling her “the interim Prime Minister”.
And First Secretary Damian Green cast fresh doubt on her long-term future in No10 by saying it was only wrong to have a Tory leadership contest “at this stage”.
The PM’s newly-appointed deputy’s gaffe came during an interview on Radio 4’s Today Programme.
The Queen opened Parliament yesterday for the 64th time without the usual ceremonial full fanfare.
For the first time since 1974, the 91-year-old monarch addressed the Lords wearing just a blue dress and hat instead of the Imperial state crown and robes.
Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner used his annual heckle of Black Rod summoning MPs to tease the Queen over her diary clash with the Royal Ascot horseracing event.
He said: “Better get your skates on. First race is at half past two.”
Her Majesty made it in time, even stopping to change her outfit.
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