South Shields and Jarrow MPs critical of 'underwhelming' and 'populist' agenda set out in 2021 Queen's Speech

The MPs for South Tyneside have described the legislative agenda set out in this year’s Queen's Speech as ‘wholly underwhelming’ and fundamentally lacking in substance.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 11:29 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 11:41 pm

The Government unveiled 30 planned new laws for the year ahead in the annual ceremony – the second since the coronavirus pandemic struck the UK in March 2020 – that marks the reopening of Parliament.

Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, drew attention to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s failure to press ahead with promised reforms to the social care sector, arguing his programme for the upcoming 12 months lacked urgency and ambition.

Emma Lewell-Buck, the MP for South Shields underlined what she called a set of ‘populist proposals’ laid out by Mr Johnson, which she said ‘offers little to the public’ while affording the Government creeping power over the everyday lives of ordinary people.

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Jarrow MP, Kate Osborne (left), and Emma Lewell-Buck, the MP for South Shields
Jarrow MP, Kate Osborne (left), and Emma Lewell-Buck, the MP for South Shields

“Today’s Queens Speech is best summed up as a set of populist proposals with limited detail,” she said.

“There was again talk of ‘levelling up’ and promises on jobs and skills but no concrete actions or timeline of how this will be done. There was no plan to reform social care, despite repeated promises.

"Instead the NHS in the wake of covid is going to undergo yet another re-organisation. Worryingly there will be new measures to give the Government unprecedented powers; reigning in any legal challenges to their decisions, reforms to how they dish out public money, whilst at the same time introducing voter ID and restrictions on protest.

“It is a Queens Speech that offers little to the public but gives the PM increasing and unaccountable control over our lives and freedoms.”

Meanwhile, Kate Osborne, the MP for Jarrow, argued Boris Johnson had shown ‘where his priorities lie’ through the speech’s proposals for voters to require photographic photo ID for future elections – described by critics as a form of voter suppression - and a lack of legislative plans guaranteeing much-needed protections for UK workers.

She said: "This Tory Queen’s Speech was wholly underwhelming.

“Two years ago, the Prime Minister stood on the steps of Number 10 and categorically said his government will fix the crisis in social care with a clear and prepared plan. Today it is clear that there is still no plan.

“The Government should have used the Queen’s speech to announce that they will put an end to the appalling ‘Fire and Rehire’ tactics used by employers to cut pay and conditions, yet they have chosen to ignore this issue once again. I can assure you that myself and Labour party colleagues in Parliament will continue to campaign to force the government to end this appalling practice.

“We have seen where the Prime Minister’s priorities lie in the way he is trying to force voters to show ID at the polls. These plans will lock millions of people out of our democracy – particularly the elderly, low income, and Black, Asian, and ethnic minority voters. This is a wrong priority when we are trying to recover from a pandemic.

“Boris Johnson and his Conservative government have shown that they are the same old Tories with the same old Tory priorities.”

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