THE UK Government will seek to reset its agenda when it unveils plans for new laws in today’s Queen’s Speech. 

Meanwhile Plaid Cymru has sought to highlight laws it would like to see introduced in its own alternative speech.

The government has been dogged by partygate scandals, that have seen both the prime minister and chancellor issued with fixed penalty fines over lockdown busting events in Downing Street, and Conservative losses at last week’s local elections. 

But it will see today's opening of the new parliamentary session as a chance to once again take the initative, though the speech written by ministers will be read by Prince Charles rather than the Queen

Among laws expected to be outlined are “Brexit freedom” bills which the government will seek to highlight as opportunities created by Britain’s departure from the European Union. 

While the UK Government sets out its legislative agenda Plaid Cymru has also proposed six laws it would like to see introduced – and some could test support among the Labour benches on policy areas where there is broad agreement between Plaid and the Labour Welsh Government. 

But while Plaid’s proposals are a wish list, and intended to put pressure on political opponents, the UK Government is stating plans that it intends will become law – and those could put it in conflict with the devolved nations. 

According to the Sunday Express, a new Brexit Freedoms Bill will aim to cut EU regulatory “red tape” which remains in UK law after leaving the trading bloc. 

This is just one of many areas which could create tensions between Westminster and the devolved nations, and prompt further complaints about a “power grab” by the UK administration, as the EU previously set the over-arching regulatory framework which encompassed all four UK nations. 

The UK Government’s Internal Markets Act is what now ensures a single market with compatible rules but it has been opposed by the Welsh Government which wanted all four governments to reach an agreement rather than a law imposed from central government which has restricted the ability of individual nations to legislate. 

Boris Johnson has said he has plans for a “super seven” set of Bills aimed at changing laws the UK inherited from the EU.  

There is also the issue of the Northern Ireland protocol with the government expected to use the speech to bring forward changes to the post-Brexit trading arrangements.  

There is pressure from the Democratic Unionist Party, which opposes the protocol, but the government must also respond to Sinn Fein’s success in the Stormont Assembly elections in which most voters backed parties in favour of the protocol. 

Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab refused on Sunday to say whether new measures would be included.  


But his comments to Sky News suggested an agenda to boost the economy and “protect the cost of living” which appears to include devolved policy areas. 

He said: “We’re going to be talking about reforming the agricultural sector, innovation to create cheaper, healthier food. 

“We’re going to be talking about areas where Britain has a real comparative advantage, tech, financial services.” 

While legislation from the UK Government may be seen as centralising power the proposals from Plaid are intended at further devolution. 

Its aims are devolving the benefits system, which it says would allow the Welsh Government to create additional payments, a local electricity bill that would aim to ensure local supply at limited costs and a long-standing Plaid ambition to prevent politicians from “willfully misleading the public”. 

But while those may be easily dismissed, and unlikely to win much wider support in Westminster, it also proposing legislation that, in principle, also meets the ambitions of the Welsh Government. 

Those are the devolution of the Crown Estate, the commercial business that manages land and property owned by the Queen and splits profit between the monarchy and the UK Treasury, the devolution of justice and a bill to regulate the spending of the Shared Prosperity Fund, the UK Government’s replacement for EU funding. 

READ MORE: Crown Estate: Plaid urges UK Labour to support Welsh Government on devolution

While the Welsh Government has called for devolution of the Crown Estate and justice powers it remains to be seen whether Labour MPs would support Plaid’s calls in Parliament. 

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP claimed losses suffered by the Conservatives should force the government to rethink its approach. 

She said: “They have bulldozed authoritarian legislation through Parliament since gaining a majority in 2019, systematically misled the public, and undermined devolution at every turn. Wales roundly rejected the Tories last week. They would be foolish to push ahead with their divisive policy agenda in this new context. 

“Plaid Cymru’s alternative Queen’s Speech would help people through the cost-of-living crisis, which Westminster has for too long allowed to spiral out of control.” 

READ MORE: Wales and criminal justice: Two years since landmark report

Plaid also wants to see an emergency budget to support households and small businesses while the government has previously said it will review help it can offer in the autumn. 

On the replacement for EU funding, Plaid says its bill would require the Welsh secretary to report on the merits of devolving the management and administration of funds allocated to Wales via the Shared Prosperity Fund to the Welsh Government. 

It claims this would clarify what funding is available and enable the use of a needs-based formula as well as addressing the shortfall on previous EU funding levels despite a Westminster promise that Wales would receive “not a penny less” than it had. 

The Welsh Government last week issued a statement which shows a £772m shortfall in what Wales will receive compared to what it would have got in EU funding from 2021 through to 2025. 

Finance minister Rebecca Evans said the Welsh Government now has “less say over less money” which will create “hard decisions” for it and bodies that have previously received funding. 

She said: “The UK Government's decision to bypass the Welsh Government and directly allocate replacement EU funding, at a dramatically diminished level, through UK-wide funds is not only an assault on devolution in Wales, but also a failure to meet repeated promises that Wales ‘will not be a penny worse off’ after the UK left the EU.” 

READ MORE: UK Government Shared Prosperity Fund will leave Wales 'worse off'

Another area of likely conflict is the proposed British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act. 

Justice Secretary Rabb told LBC that a new Bill of Rights would result in “less shifting of the goalposts, less elastic interpretations of human rights”, adding that people find the current law “frustrating in the context of deporting foreign national offenders”. 

The Human Rights Act put the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law, but it has been criticised by successive Tory administrations over the way it has been interpreted. 

Last week, in the Senedd, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrat member, supported the Welsh Government in condemning what they called the UK Government’s “assault on human rights”. 

In response the Welsh Government has said it is exploring a possible Welsh Bill of Rights. 

Social justice minister Jane Hutt said: “If the UK Government continue down this destructive and harmful path, the Welsh Government would like to consider the potential scope of what could be achieved through a Bill in Wales.  

“The purpose of such a Bill would be to strengthen human rights and mitigate as far as possible the negative impacts of actions by the UK Government.” 

Other measures likely to be included in the Queen’s Speech are a Schools Bill for England, A Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and plans to privatise Channel 4, announced in April, as part of a wider series of reforms proposed for the UK’s broadcasting landscape. 

The government has also carried over legislation it did not finish in the previous session of Parliament. 

This includes the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill aimed at preventing curbs on free speech in universities, the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, and the Online Safety Bill, a long-awaited piece of legislation aimed at preventing cyberflashing and online stalking, among other online harms. 

It is unclear whether more powers for a watchdog to regulate tech giants like Facebook and Google and drive competition in the sector will be in the speech. 

An employment bill aimed at the right to flexible work is also reported to have been dropped, according to the Financial Times

Additional reporting: PA

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