Open Britain Background briefing: The proposed amendments to the Queen’s speech (29 JUNE UPDATE)

The House of Commons vote on the Government’s Queen’s speech takes place on Thursday 29 June, including on three amendments, two of which are directly related to the Brexit negotiations.

Open Britain’s briefing on the Queen’s Speech can be found here. We believe that the Government are acting as if the General Election had not happened, when the result demonstrated a clear rejection by the British people of Theresa May’s plan for a hard, destructive Brexit.

The ultimate test of the vote on the Queen’s Speech is to see whether it will help deliver a Brexit that protects jobs and living standards; delivers the ‘exact same benefits’ as Single Market and Customs Union membership; stands up for the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU; maintains or enhances co-operation on security; and protects EU laws that defend workers, consumers, and our environment.

In total, eleven amendments to the Queen’s speech had been moved of which the Speaker has decided to take three forward for the vote. Open Britain’s initial assessment of the amendments from earlier this week can be found here.

This background briefing sets out Open Britain’s views of the three amendments which will be taken forward for a vote this evening.    

All information on the proposed amendments to be is taken from here:

https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmagenda/OP170629.pdf

Open Britain’s View on the Amendments:

Amendment (g): Remaining in the Customs Union and the single market

This amendment has been moved by 50 MPs from the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, as well as from the SNP. 

At end add 'but respectfully regret that the Gracious Speech does not rule out withdrawal from the EU without a deal, guarantee a Parliamentary vote on any final outcome to negotiations, set out transitional arrangements to maintain jobs, trade and certainty for business, set out proposals to remain within the Customs Union and Single Market, set out clear measures to respect the competencies of the devolved administrations, and include clear protections for EU nationals living in the UK now, including retaining their right to remain in the UK, and reciprocal rights for UK citizens.'. 

  • Open Britain fully endorses this amendment.
  • We fully believe that leaving both the customs union and the single market will have negative economic consequences for the UK as demonstrated in a report we commissioned on the single market and on our assessment of the UK leaving the customs union   

Amendment (l): no deal is a bad deal; Brexit deal should lead to same benefits as single market & customs union

Moved by the Labour front bench. 

At end add 'but respectfully regret that the Gracious Speech fails to end austerity in public services, to reverse falling living standards and to make society more equal; further regret that it contains no reference to an energy price cap and call on the Government to legislate for such a cap at the earliest opportunity; call on the Government to commit to a properly resourced industrial strategy to increase infrastructure investment in every nation and region of the UK; recognise that no deal on Brexit is the very worst outcome and therefore call on the Government to negotiate an outcome that prioritises jobs and the economy, delivers the exact same benefits the UK has as a member of the Single Market and the Customs Union, ensures that there is no weakening of cooperation in security and policing, and maintains the existing rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU; believe that those who are richest and large corporations, those with the broadest shoulders, should pay more tax, while more is done to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion; call for increased funding in public services to expand childcare, scrap tuition fees at universities and colleges and restore Education Maintenance Allowance, maintenance grants and nurses’ bursaries; regret that with inflation rising, living standards are again falling; and call on the Government to end the public sector pay cap and increase the minimum wage to a real living wage of £10 per hour by 2020.'. 

  • Open Britain firmly believes that any Brexit deal must deliver the exact same benefits as the UK currently enjoys as an EU member state, as the Government has reiterated in the past. Open Britain has called on the Government to be held to account  on this pledge.    
  • Open Britain fully concurs that “no deal is the worst outcome” and has consistently called on the Government not to walk away from the negotiating table without a deal.

Amendment (d): Abortion in Northern Ireland

This amendment has been moved by 25 MPs from the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the Green Party and the SNP.

At end add ‘but respectfully regret that measures to address the inequality in treatment of women from Northern Ireland with regard to healthcare provision were not included in the Gracious Speech; recognise that the UK currently provides funding for access to healthcare services including abortion to residents of other nations as part of its international development work; note that women from Northern Ireland have no choice but to travel to England for abortion services and face serious difficulties in doing so, and as such the current position risks the continuation of an unwanted pregnancy which may cause distress or illness to the patient concerned purely on the basis of her place of residence within the UK rather than any medical requirements; therefore call on the Government to clarify, if necessary by legislating, that under section 1(1)(a) of the National Health Service Act 2006 it is a requirement on the Secretary of State for Health to prevent illness among those who wish to end an unwanted pregnancy, who are UK taxpayers, by providing such services; and call on the Government to ensure the provision of adequate funding and guidance so that all UK citizens including those from Northern Ireland may access medical services including abortion procedures in England if they so wish without charge, and that such provision does not interfere with decisions made by the Northern Ireland Assembly with regard to the provision of such services in Northern Ireland.’. 

  • Open Britain campaigns for a continued close relationship between the UK and Europe and against a hard Brexit, so we do not provide briefing and analysis on domestic policy issues which do not directly relate to Brexit.