On mental health, EU citizens’ rights and counter-extremism, there is an opportunity for student campaigners to make a real difference
The Queen’s speech was a dream come true for no one – except perhaps foxes, who will be relieved that there was no further mention of hunting. But for students, it was a mixed bag.
The speech was light on detail and heavy on Brexit. For the 84% of voting students who were opposed to leaving the EU, the future it outlined is exactly what we didn’t want. But there were silver linings: the announcement of plans to abolish letting agent fees and to bring forward legislation protecting victims of domestic violence, for instance. There are also plans to tackle the gender pay gap.
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Party’s manifesto plans will change in wake of election, with possible shifts in stance on Brexit, grammar schools and social care
The first Queen’s speech of the new parliament will be nothing like as ambitious as Theresa May had hoped, given the Conservative party’s lack of an overall majority and the need to rely on the Democratic Unionist party of Northern Ireland to pass legislation. Only a handful of key policies are likely to survive:
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Theresa May’s claims of national unity sound increasingly deluded amid the conflicting visions of a post-EU Britain
It’s not just the fact that Scotland is demanding a second independence referendum, Northern Ireland is in political deadlock and the Welsh are becoming steadily more disaffected that makes Theresa May’s claims the country has never been so united sound increasingly deluded. The problems start rather closer to home in parliament. One of the unexpected joys of being a sketch writer is getting to observe the 21 MPs on the Brexit select committee at close quarters. The committee is split roughly 50/50 on highly partisan remain and leave lines, and as a result is almost entirely dysfunctional, with the remainers only ever asking questions likely to elicit answers that show Brexit is going to be a total disaster, while the leavers are only interested in ones that predict everything will be fantastic. Just this week, the chairman of the committee, the generally fair-minded Hilary Benn, produced a 154-page draft report of the evidence they had heard so far and the leavers were outraged it had not been given a more positive spin. After an hour of trying to persuade Benn to make the report less gloomy, six of the leavers stomped out in a sulk.