Today, I am excited to be visiting the House of Lords to witness an incredibly important event in the Parliamentary calendar: the official State Opening of Parliament.
Alongside other Members of Parliament, I will be listening to the Queen’s annual speech which will set out the new Conservative Government’s legislative agenda for the next 12 months.
Not only does this ceremonial event remind us of the hard-won independence of our Parliament, it also indicates which parts of the Conservative’s election manifesto, that was launched here in Swindon in April, are likely to be enshrined in UK law.
The Speech is almost certainly going to feature the highly-discussed issue of Britain’s relationship with the European Union.
The EU Referendum Bill is likely to be one of the first new laws implemented by the Government, and will set out plans to offer the electorate an in/out referendum on Europe by 2017.
Having spoken to local residents about this issue on numerous occasions, I know that concrete plans for a referendum will be welcome news to a number of people.
The Government has worked hard over the last five years to reduce net immigration to the UK, which had been slashed by a third since 2010. By introducing an Immigration Bill, the Government can introduce measures that will make it easier for foreign nationals who have entered the country illegally to be deported to make sure that our immigration system is fair to hardworking people.
Such measures will include restrictions to the illegal migrants’ right to appeal to deportation, as well as the right for authorities to seize the wages of migrants working here illegally.
Also expected to be featured today is a Childcare Bill which will legislate the manifesto pledge to offer a helping hand to working parents by doubling the amount of free childcare to 30 hours a week for three and four year-olds. This Bill will help working parents by saving them approximately £5,000 a year in childcare costs.
I’m looking forward to the next five years and implementing the Conservative’s manifesto to achieve the very best for the country and continue to improve the services that we all value.
(This article was originally posted in the Swindon Advertiser on Wednesday 27th May 2015)