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As it happenedended1576801994

Brexit news: Boris Johnson unveils ‘book of Trump’ agenda to prevent courts challenging government and make voter ID mandatory

All the latest developments as they happened

Adam Forrest,Ashley Cowburn
Thursday 19 December 2019 21:13 GMT
The Queen sets out Government’s priorities including Brexit, NHS, knife crime and immigration

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Boris Johnson has unveiled plans for new photo ID requirement at polling stations, sparking the move is designed to suppress voting by young people and disadvantaged groups.

The Queen’s Speech also revealed a Royal Commission on the criminal justice system and separate review of every aspect of the post-Brexit constitutional settlement – condemned by Labour as “vindictive revenge” for his defeat in the prorogation case and “another play from the Book of Trump”.

Meanwhile Emily Thornberry, the first figure to declare she is standing for the Labour leadership, has attacked Jeremy Corbyn’s closest aides – and questioned why they were not “under threat” of losing their roles in the leaders’ office.


Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of events at Westminster, ahead of the State of Opening of Parliament.

Adam Forrest19 December 2019 08:32

Brexit, boost for NHS and new sentencing laws at heart of Queen's Speech

Boris Johnson will try to use the Queen’s Speech to push his agenda beyond Brexit and on to the NHS and community issues.

The PM intends to put new laws to send terrorists to prison for longer the health service at the heart of the legislative programme alongside moves to finally force through EU withdrawal by the end of January.

The government will enshrine in law a commitment on NHS funding, with an extra £33.9 billion per year provided by 2023/24, Mr Johnson said.

The Queen’s Speech will also include proposed legislation to abolish hospital car parking charges for “those in greatest need” - likely to include disabled people, parents of sick children staying overnight, and staff working night shifts.

The NHS Funding Bill is intended to be the first piece of domestic legislation put on the statute book after the proposed passing of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill which the PM insists will lead to the UK quitting the EU on January 31.

This Queen’s Speech will be more low key than the last one in October, with cars used instead of carriages and the monarch wearing a hat instead of a crown.

Adam Forrest19 December 2019 08:33

NHS chief: No more ‘fantasy politics’

The NHS needs bold and ambitious measures in the Queen's Speech to tackle the big challenges over social care and funding, a senior health service boss has said.

But Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, the body that represents state-run hospitals, also called for realism after the “fantasy politics” of the election campaign.

Writing in The Independent, Cordery said: “What has been striking - and welcome - has been the emphasis the Prime Minister continues to place on the NHS.”

But she added that the best illustration of the scale of the task that lies ahead are current performance figures which, due to election restrictions, have not been published for a while.

“Their publication last Friday showed that performance in the hospital sector and across the urgent and emergency care pathway reached the lowest point in the 10 years since we have been monitoring the constitutional standards,” Cordery wrote.

Adam Forrest19 December 2019 08:34

PM accused of ‘chaotic free-for-all’ on workers’ rights over new plans to let courts overrule EU law

The prime minister has been accused of presiding over a “chaotic free-for-all” on workers’ rights under new plans to allow British courts to overturn rulings by the European Court of Justice after Brexit.

No 10 confirmed that British judges would be handed powers to challenge ECJ rulings through a new clause in Johnson’s Brexit legislation, which MPs will vote on before Christmas.

The move would see the PM rip up Theresa May’s commitment to transfer all EU law onto the domestic statute books, which meant it could only be overturned by the Supreme Court or the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland.

More details here:

Adam Forrest19 December 2019 08:38

Lady Hale warns PM against political appointees to Supreme Court

The outgoing president of the Supreme Court has issued a warning against politicians being involved in the appointment of judges.

Urging Boris Johnson not to follow a route similar to the US Supreme Court, where the president nominates justices, Lady Hale made the intervention ahead of her retirement from the benches.

She said: “Judges have not been appointed for party political reasons in this country since at least the Second World War. 

“We do not want to turn into the Supreme Court of the United States, whether in powers, or in process of appointments.”

Adam Forrest19 December 2019 08:40

Thornberry: Corbyn ‘badly’ let down by his advisers – and questions why they are not ‘under threat’

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s closest advisers and said “clear strategic thinking” is needed within the Labour Party.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think that Jeremy has been badly let down. I think that Jeremy has been badly advised. I think there have been times when we have made decisions and that hasn’t been what has been briefed out to the media.

“That has undermined him, and drained away, I think too often, his authenticity, which was something which was so important and resonated so much with people in 2017.

“And I think that there have been a number of mistakes made between 2017 and 2019 that undermined him so fundamentally. As I say, I think he was let down.”

She added: “I’m not naming anyone. People know who it is that I’m talking about. But the truth is now we’re in a position where there is talk of redundancies amongst more junior staff … and yet those that made the very decisions about the general election don't seem to be under threat.”

Asked how her background would go down with the electorate, Thornberry said: “I am southern, I'm not going to pretend I’m not. But the point is you’ve got to come from somewhere.”

She added: “What you need to do is to be able to be empathetic and listen to the public throughout the country, and, as for this kind of class issue, people who know me know that I come from a council estate.

“People who know me know that I was brought up by a single parent on benefits.”

Adam Forrest19 December 2019 08:47

Government will deliver for working-class voters, claims Tory MP

Speaking ahead of the Queen’s speech, Tory MP Neil O’Brien said “expectations are high”, and claimed the party’s new centre of gravity was Sheffield.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If you look at the election results you can see that actually the Conservatives got a higher share of the vote in this election where there are more working class voters.

“And that is a complete change from the pattern that we were used to for many decades. So it’s a huge change. Expectations are high, but I think that Boris Johnson’s moved very quickly to say and do all the right things to really grasp that we must deliver for the places that have voted Conservative that perhaps never having done so ever before.”

O’Brien added: “I think the government need to have a mix of some things that can happen quickly and make a positive difference quickly, and so I think things like the town centre regeneration money that the government has produced is very helpful.

“That will immediately start to improve some town centres that have been badly affected by the rise of internet shopping.”

Adam Forrest19 December 2019 09:11

‘We’ll hunt like a pack’: Minister welcomes northern Tories

Jake Berry, the cabinet minister for the northern powerhouse, has tweeted a strange photo of the “blue wall” of northern Tory MPs. He also claims they will “hunt like a pack” on behalf of northern voters.

By the looks of things, the wall is half-circular, and entirely made up of white males.

Adam Forrest19 December 2019 09:15

Sturgeon will consider ‘all reasonable options’ for indyref2

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted there is a “democratic mandate” for Scots to be given a choice of staying in the UK with Boris Johnson – or becoming an independent nation.

The SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister said following last week’s election victory where here party took 48 of the 59 Scottish seats in Westminster, the case for having a second independence referendum was “unarguable”.

Speaking at Bute House, Sturgeon said: “The alternative is a future that we have rejected being imposed upon us. Scotland made it very clear last week it does not want a Tory government led by Boris Johnson taking us out of the European Union.

“That is the future we face if we do not have the opportunity to consider the alternative of independence.”

She added: “I will consider all reasonable options to secure Scotland’s right to self-determination.”

Boris Johnson has repeatedly made clear his opposition to Scotland having a second independence referendum.

Adam Forrest19 December 2019 09:37

Britain First urges supporters to join Tory party

Far-right Britain First is urging its supporters to join the Conservatives in order to “make Boris Johnson’s leadership more secure”.

The extremist group sent an email to subscribers claiming “thousands” of its activists were becoming members of the Tories. “If you haven’t joined the Conservative Party yet, we urge you to do so immediately, to make Boris Johnson’s leadership more secure,” Britain First said in an email sent on Wednesday.

Johnson has also been endorsed by Tommy Robinson and garnered public support from other far-right figures.

Adam Forrest19 December 2019 09:42

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