Queen's Speech 2015: Radical agenda to reform taxation, welfare, human rights and Britain's relationship with Europe to be unveiled

Plan to ditch Human Rights Act and revive snooper’s charter will be contentious

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Indy Politics

David Cameron will unveil the first “Conservative-only” Queen’s Speech in nearly two decades today with a radical and divisive agenda to reform taxation, welfare, human rights and Britain’s relationship with Europe.

The Prime Minister will claim that the Tories’ new legislative agenda represents a “clear programme for working people, social justice, and bringing Britain together”.

But behind the scenes Tory whips are preparing to take a “zero-tolerance” approach to unauthorised absences from Westminster among their own MPs amid fears that Mr Cameron’s small majority is vulnerable to rebellions.

Despite this, some Conservatives say privately that the Government’s most contentious legislation will have to be watered down if it is to have any chance of becoming law.

Bills which are likely to face particular scrutiny include plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a new Bill of Rights, legislation to give police and intelligence services greater access to communications data and a crack-down on so-called non-violent extremists. All three measures were blocked by the Liberal Democrats in the last parliament and the former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg plans to lead his party’s opposition to the plans in the Commons today.

The Prime Minister has made the abolition of Labour’s 1998 legislation a key part of his 100-day policy offensive

He is expected to tell MPs that it is “dispiriting” to see how quickly the Tories have turned their back on the liberal stance of the Coalition.

“The human rights we hold dear, our right to privacy in an online age, our future as an open-minded, outward-looking country, are all hanging in the balance again because of the measures being announced by the Conservative government,” he is expected to say.

In an attempt to signal that the new Conservative-only government will protect the interests of the low-paid, Downing Street said a legislative priority would be a new law to guarantee that anyone working up to 30 hours a week on the minimum wage will not pay any income tax.

It will also bring in a law to introduce a new five-year “tax lock” binding the Government not to raise income tax, VAT or national insurance during this parliament. Other measures expected to be included are plans for 30 hours’ free childcare a week for three and four-year-olds.

The Queen's Speech by numbers

61: The number of times the Queen has delivered the Speech in person at Parliament’s state opening.

1,763: The number of words in the longest speech to date, said by Elizabeth II in 1999.

9 minutes, 50 seconds: The average length of the speech.

10 hours: The total time (approximately) the Queen has spent reading speeches at the state opening of Parliament.

0: The lowest number of speeches read by the Queen at the opening under any one prime minister – during Alec Douglas-Home’s time in 1963.