As it happenedended1699391491

King’s Speech – live: New laws on oil, smoking and football as Charles III makes first State Opening

Seven pieces of legislation will be carried over into the next parliamentary session

Maryam Zakir-Hussain,Andy Gregory
Tuesday 07 November 2023 21:11 GMT
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King Charles and Camila meet officials on state visit to Kenya

A raft of new laws – including measures on oil and gas licences, the establishment of a new football regulator, and moves to phase out cigarette smoking – have been included in the King’s Speech.

The proposed legislation was announced by King Charles III as he addressed Parliament in his first State Opening, as the monarch set out Rishi Sunak’s government’s policy agenda for the year ahead.

It is the first such speech King Charles III has made since assuming the throne last year. It is also the first of Mr Sunak’s tenure in No 10 – and most likely the last prior to an expected general election next year.

The speech revealed Mr Sunak’s plans to make law and order a key election battleground, with a series of measures promising tougher sentences for killers and rapists.

Mr Sunak has also introduced new legislation to expand the use of self-driving vehicles – which clear the way for buses and lorries to operate autonomously by the end of the decade.

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That’s us wrapping up the live blog for this evening, thanks for following here.

You can find all our latest coverage on the King’s Speech here, while our political team has compiled this report on the reaction to the goverment’s policy agenda for the year ahead.

Or else keep scrolling to catch up on the day’s events, as we reported them:

Andy Gregory7 November 2023 21:10
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Deputy prime minister denies cover-up of rape allegation against Tory MP

The deputy prime minister has denied that the Conservatives covered up a rape allegation against one of their own MPs.

Oliver Dowden insisted the Tory party has a “zero tolerance” approach to sexual misconduct after claims allegations of rape against an MP were not properly handled, potentially allowing them to continue to offend.

But he said he could not “say for certain” that his party did not pay an alleged victim’s private hospital fees.

And the former party chair, who stood down from the role in June 2022, urged anyone with concerns to take them to the police.

His comments came after it emerged that former party chair Sir Jake Berry wrote to police amid concerns over how the allegations of rape were dealt with, according to a letter published in The Mail on Sunday.

Deputy PM denies cover-up of rape allegation against MP

Oliver Dowden also said he could not say ‘for certain’ that an alleged victim’s private hospital fees were not paid by the Conservative Party

Joe Middleton6 November 2023 10:54
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Allegations a Tory MP committed a series of rapes is ‘very serious’, says PM

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has described allegations that a Tory MP committed a series of rapes as “very serious”.

He urged anyone with evidence of criminal acts to talk to the police.

Speaking on a visit to Bacton Gas Terminal in Norfolk, the Prime Minister told broadcasters: “These are very serious, anonymous allegations.

“It may be that they allude to something that is already the subject of a live police investigation, so I hope you understand it wouldn’t be right for me to comment on that further specifically.

“More broadly the Conservative Party has robust independent complaint procedures in place, but I would say to anybody who has information or evidence about any criminal acts to of course talk to police, that’s the right course of action.”

Joe Middleton6 November 2023 10:59
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NHS patients hit by ‘severe drug shortages’ due to Brexit red tape

NHS patients face a “very worrying” risk due to “severe delays” in drugs supplies caused by Brexit red tape, experts have warned.

Vital antibiotics, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs are among those in desperately short supply this winter – with the NHS forced to pay over the odds to get drugs into Britain.

Leading British health experts backing a new report on post-Brexit problems in the health service, which has been shared with The Independent, have also highlighted recent problems obtaining antidepressants and medication for high blood pressure.

NHS hit by ‘severe drug shortages’ due to Brexit red tape

Exclusive: Patients put at risk as crisis hits supplies of vital antibiotics, HRT and anti-depressants

Joe Middleton6 November 2023 11:08
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Sunak says Tory MP rape allegation complainant should ‘go to the police’

Rishi Sunak has described allegations that a Tory MP committed a series of rapes as “very serious” as he urged anyone with evidence of criminal acts to talk to the police.

The PM has been urged to launch an investigation into claims the Conservatives failed to properly deal with allegations of rape against one of its MPs.

It comes after it was reported that Sir Jake Berry, a former Tory chairman, told police that an internal “failure” to act on allegations of rape allowed an unnamed MP to “continue to offend”.

Sunak says Tory MP rape allegation complainant should ‘go to the police’

PM under pressure to launch investigation into claim Tories failed to deal with allegations

Joe Middleton6 November 2023 11:14
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Tory peer: ‘Conservatives have a problem with bullying and sexual misconduct’

A Conservative peer has said the Tory party has “a problem” dealing with allegations of bullying and sexual misconduct.

Baroness Warsi told Times Radio the Conservatives have long “failed” to respond to and support victims.

She said: “I think it does have a problem...Whether it’s bullying, whether it’s allegations of racism and now allegations of sexual misconduct, the party for years and years has simply failed to deal with responding to victims appropriately in all of those areas. And I really hope, rather than just batting this away again, that the party take a long, hard look at itself.”

And she described a “rot” at the heart of the Conservative party, adding: “We cannot be the party of government which governs in this country more than any other political party and still have this rot at the heart of us, whether that’s racism, whether that’s bullying, whether that’s sexual misconduct. We need to be above these matters and we need to see when they come to light, deal with them quickly and coherently, and make sure that all people feel protected within our party.”

Joe Middleton6 November 2023 11:23
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Sunak says police have support for ‘clamp down’ on criminality at Pro-Palestine protest

Rishi Sunak said that Metropolitan Police have ministers’ “absolute and total backing” to tackle criminality, ahead of a pro-Palestinian march on Saturday.

It comes amid concerns by some that the pro-Palestinian march in London will go ahead on Armistice Day.Speaking to broadcasters on Monday, the PM said: “Remembrance Day is a time for national reflection … I want to make sure police have our absolute and total backing to clamp down on any acts of criminality, but also to ensure public order.”

He said that home secretary Suella Braverman would be holding a meeting to discuss the issue on Monday.

Mr Sunak also welcomed the fact 100 British nationals have been able to leave Gaza in recent days, as he explained why he backed a humanitarian pause – but not a ceasefire.“We have been very clear and consistent that we support humanitarian pauses, which are there specifically to allow aid to get into Gaza and hostages and foreign nationals to come out.”

Joe Middleton6 November 2023 11:28
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The Independent has launched a new WhatsApp channel

The Independent has launched a brand new WhatsApp Channel, bringing you the latest breaking news, Premium news analysis from our award-winning journalists and an evening news briefing with the day’s top headlines.

Sign up and get the latest on UK politics and more by pressing this invite link.

Joe Middleton6 November 2023 11:33
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Lombardelli: ‘Not possible to estimate cost of lockdown’

The Independent’s Archie Mitchell is covering the Covid inquiry today.

He reports that Clare Lombardelli has told the Covid inquiry it was not possible to estimate the cost of lockdowns. The Treasury’s former chief economic adviser said there was no way to say “a lockdown in this form will cost you X” because there was “no reasonable counterfactual” of what people would do without a lockdown.

But the inquiry was also shown an advice document produced for then chancellor Rishi Sunak by the Treasury in which he was told to “push back strongly” against the idea of a circuit-breaker lockdown in autumn 2020. Officials warned Mr Sunak the impacts would be “severe”.

Joe Middleton6 November 2023 11:42
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Sunak declines to back Braverman’s comments about rough-sleeping homeless

Rishi Sunak did not accept that his home secretary Suella Braverman’s description of rough sleeping as a “lifestyle choice” was offensive – but did not back her comments.

Asked by broadcasters if the language was “offensive”, he said: “I don’t want anyone to sleep rough on our streets.“That’s why the government is investing £2bn over the next few years to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

“I’m pleased that the number of people sleeping rough is down by a third since the peak, but of course there is more to do … So I’m proud of that record.He added: “But of course there is more to do and we’ll keep going so that nobody has to sleep rough on our streets.”

Joe Middleton6 November 2023 11:50

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