Coalition Government sets out ‘Radical Programme’

May 28, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

A member of the public (L) takes a photograph of Britain's Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron (R), and Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg (2nd L), as they walk to the Houses of Parliament to attend the State Opening of Parliament.  (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Image)
A member of the public (L) takes a photograph of Britain's Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron (R), and Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg (2nd L), as they walk to the Houses of Parliament to attend the State Opening of Parliament. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Image)
LONDON—The first legislative programme by a coalition government since the time of Winston Churchill was set out in the Queen's Speech on Tuesday at the state opening of Parliament.

David Cameron called it a "radical programme for a radical government".

Twenty-two bills, to be pushed through the gauntlet of a coalition-controlled Parliament in the next 18 months, include major plans for education, the political system, and policing.

But the top priority of the Conservative-Lib Dem government remains the economy and more specifically the deficit.

The Queen said: "My government's legislative programme will be based upon the principles of freedom, fairness, and responsibility."

The reining in of state powers is a common thread running through the legislative programme, appearing in various guises in many bills.

ID cards are to be scrapped along with the next generation of biometric passports and a Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill will regulate the retention of DNA by police and the use of CCTV cameras.

The prime minister will lose the power to call elections at his whim, with the introduction of fixed term parliaments, and MPs will be subject to “recall” by voters, should they be guilty of major wrongdoing.

Education is also a key priority and the Queen's Speech includes plans to extend the academy school programme and to make it easier for parents and others to eschew the constraints of the state and set up "free schools".

Speaking in the house of commons, Mr Cameron highlighted the fact it was the first Queen’s Speech in 65 years from a coalition government. “It is a Government not driven by party interest but by the national interest, with clear values at its heart,” he said.

But the prime minister threw out the conventional ceasefire on party politics of the Queen’s speech debate, with a sharp attack on the former government.

Mr Cameron rounded on Labour leader Harriet Harmon, following her response to the Queen’s Speech.

Mr Cameron said there was “something missing” from her speech.

“Not one word of apology for the appalling mess that has been left in this country. Nothing to say about leaving Britain with a deficit that is bigger than Greece’s. Not a single idea for getting to grips with it,” he said.

"Until they learn what they got so badly wrong I'm not sure people are going to listen to them again."

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