Queen's Speech: David Cameron urged not to move UK to the right

The huge gains by the UK Independence Party have rattled Tory and Lib Dem grassroots

Nick Clegg will this week warn David Cameron that he will not allow the coalition to be dragged to the right in response to the surge of support for the UK Independence Party in the local elections. As both parties prepared to stake a claim to key policies in the Queen's Speech, to be unveiled on Wednesday, the Deputy PM faced a fresh challenge from his party's grassroots, who warned that he had a year to "shape up" and improve the Lib Dem performance at the ballot box.

The Tories and Liberal Democrats have been left stunned by the huge backing for Nigel Farage's party, which gained 139 council seats and second place in the South Shields by-election.

Though the Queen's Speech was finalised over a week ago, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg are being urged to frame the legislative programme to appeal to their own grassroots.

Tory backbenchers have renewed calls for tougher policies in key areas including immigration and welfare – and an early referendum on membership of the EU – in response to the devastating results last Thursday, which saw the Tories lose 337 councillors and surrender control of 10 councils. The Lib Dems lost 110 councillors.

David Davis, a senior Tory, yesterday claimed that Ukip's policies on law and order, immigration, taxation, foreign affairs and Europe "mimic a simplified 1980s Tory manifesto". He called on the PM to bring forward the planned EU referendum and to introduce "serious tax breaks" for married couples to counteract the Ukip threat.

In an attempt to quell the growing unease throughout the party, the Tory leadership has made it clear that it will use the Queen's Speech to press forward proposals to limit benefits, including access to the NHS, to some immigrants. For the Lib Dems, there are pledges for Bills on green energy and the High Speed 2 rail link.

But a senior source close to the Deputy PM said last night: "We are quite clear that the Lib Dems are not going to allow the Government to suddenly go off to the right. The Conservatives aren't in a coalition government with Ukip, they are in a coalition government with the Lib Dems." Any move to speed up a referendum on EU membership would be blocked by Mr Clegg, said the source. "Government Bills have to be agreed by both sides of the coalition before they go to the House. We have a coalition position on Europe and a referendum: it is in the Coalition Agreement.

"Most people who voted for Ukip voted for a huge range of reasons, not on a referendum on Europe in 2017. They are worried about how they are going to pay their food bill next week. If there is a message from Ukip, it is that some people think we have lost touch with what ordinary people are worried about."

Yet the pressure on Mr Clegg to differentiate himself from the Tories has been intensified by a veiled threat from his own party's grassroots after the Lib Dems' disastrous showing on Thursday. The Social Liberal Forum, which represents the left of the party, said yesterday: "The need to set out a clear narrative, distinct from the Tories, particularly on the economy, is urgent.

"The Liberal Democrat leadership must shape up before the European elections next year; there will be no hiding place in an election in which every vote counts. It is intolerable to accept the rapid decline of the party in large parts of the UK as a 'price worth paying'," the Forum continued. "The party simply can't go on as it is if it is to fight the general election as a serious, nationwide party."

Mr Davis, who ran against Mr Cameron for the Tory leadership, said the PM should stop surrounding himself with fellow Old Etonians and show he could reconnect with the concerns of ordinary voters.

"The fact is that if we want to win the next election, we have to break this impression of being privileged and out of touch," he said in an article for The Daily Telegraph.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, yesterday acknowledged that the Tories must give voters "greater certainty" that they will be given a say on Britain's EU membership.

Angela Eagle, Shadow Leader of the Commons, said it was important that the surge towards Ukip did not allow the Tories to "drag the country to the right".

What to expect

Should David Cameron have wanted to harden up this week's Queen's Speech in response to the Ukip surge, it is too late: the statement was sealed on to parchment made out of vellum – or goats' skin – more than a week ago. It takes several days for the ink to dry, so revisions to help counter last Thursday's electoral hammering are not an option. But perhaps there is already enough for disaffected voters of both Conservative and Liberal Democrats. Here's what to expect when the Queen delivers her speech:

Immigration/welfare Limiting benefits to some immigrants, stopping NHS "tourism" and giving extra power to deport foreign nationals.

Social care A cap on payments of £72,000, introduced in 2016.

Pensions Legislation introducing single-tier pension.

High-speed rail A paving bill to allow construction to start on the controversial HS2 line between London and the north of England.

Energy Ordering energy suppliers to make clearer, simpler bills, with fewer tariffs; encouraging private investment to electricity sector.

Business Cutting National Insurance contributions for small businesses, saving employers up to £2,000.

Health and safety Allowing self-employed to be exempt from health and safety law where their work poses no potential risk of harm to others, plus other cuts to red tape.

Not included Enshrining aid target of 0.7 per cent of GDP in law, forcing tobacco companies to use plain packaging, a statutory register for lobbyists, and a "snooper's charter" for monitoring internet use.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn