Is that it?
Posted by Ian at 8 46 PM on Saturday, November 14
GORDON BROWN has been forced to abandon almost ALL the ambitious reform plans he made when he became Prime Minister two years ago.
The Queen’s Speech on Wednesday will take a mere 20 MINUTES to unveil the new laws he hopes will inspire voters before the election.
That’s HALF the length of his last Queen’s Speech.
Labour’s final legislative programme will now contain fewer than a dozen measures. It has been stripped of controversial pledges to reform MPs’ expenses, cut the voting age to 16 and change the electoral system.
Out too go plans to reform the House of Lords and allow Princes William or Harry to marry a Catholic.
After giving MPs a massive four-week break over Christmas, Mr Brown has just over 40 days of Parliamentary time left to ram through his new laws.
Anything complicated has been dumped, with the PM plumping for measures to tackle anti-social behaviour, look after cancer patients and the elderly, reform the banks and pay off Britain’s spiralling debts. Senior Labour MPs fear the Queen’s Speech will show they are running out of ideas.
One ex-Cabinet minister said last night: “It’s six months before an election and nothing is happening. Ministers are sleepwalking into a Tory victory.”
But on Wednesday Mr Brown will argue that he IS making the most of the time he has left. Last night he said: “Next week we will be outlining a programme in line with our core values of fairness and responsibility. This is a difficult period, but Britain has a bright future which I believe can be one not of austerity, but progress.”
Among his plans are new laws to target gangs in the Policing and Crime Bill. It would ban gang members from entering their “territory” or wearing their “colours”.
These super-ASBOs would be backed by the threat of jail sentences and community service. Councils will also be given £10m more to deal with victims of anti-social behaviour, getting them rehoused if necessary.
And the government hope plans to halve the nation’s deficit in four years and cut City wages and bonuses will prove popular.
The “grey vote” will be courted with a promise to offer free personal care at home for the elderly so they don’t have to sell up and go into care homes.
However, Mr Brown will face a sustained attack from the Tories, Lib Dems and many of his own backbenchers, warning his plans are “too little, too late”.