Queen's speech delayed to 21 June as Theresa May firms up minority government deal with DUP

The announcement indicates an agreement with the DUP may now have been reached

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Thursday 15 June 2017 11:56
Theresa May is pushing ahead with her legislative agenda, with the Queen's Speech confirmed
Theresa May is pushing ahead with her legislative agenda, with the Queen's Speech confirmed

The Government has finally announced when the Queen's Speech setting out Theresa May's legislative agenda will take place - two days later than it should have.

The event had originally been due on Monday, but amid the chaos that followed the election, Downing Street refused to confirm when it would happen.

The Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom announced in Parliament that it will now take place on Wednesday next week, indicating that Ms May has sealed a deal with Northern Irish unionists to prop up her Government.

In a statement, Ms Leadsom said: "The Government has agreed with Buckingham Palace that the State Opening of Parliament will take place on 21 June 2017."

The Queen's Speech is effectively a list of all the laws that a government wants to pass over the course of a parliament and once it is read out by the monarch, is voted upon in the House of Commons.

Passing the vote is the most basic test of any administration's credibility. But due to Ms May's failure to secure a Tory majority, it was unclear the Conservatives could win the vote to enshrine her agenda in law.

That ministers have now confirmed the date, signals they believe they can win a vote, and therefore must have a solid pledge that Northern Irish DUP MPs will back Ms May in the Commons.

Andrea Leadsom announced the date for the Queen's Speech

The announcement also saves Ms May from the embarrassment of having to delay Brexit talks too much, after previously indicating they would also begin on June 19.

It would also have been humiliating for the Prime Minister to have to turn up to the European Council meeting on June 22 without having any legislative agenda for Brexit.

But the prospect of a deal with the DUP, now raises further questions for the Government's approach to power sharing in Northern Ireland.

John Major: People shouldn’t regard peace in Northern Ireland as a given

Ms May is due to meet Sinn Fein and other parties in Downing Street today to discuss the implications, after warnings from ex-Tory leader Sir John Major that a DUP deal could risk peace.

Sir John highlighted the danger of "hard men still there, lurking in the corners of communities deciding they wish to return to some sort of violence".

He added: "We need to do everything we conceivably can to ensure that doesn’t happen – and that does require an impartial British government."

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments