Ahead Of The First King's Speech In 72 Years, Here's What We Can Expect Charles To Say

From smoking bans to tougher prison sentences, HuffPost UK takes a look at what the monarch will announce.
The then Prince Charles reads the Queen's speech next to her Imperial State Crown in may last year.
The then Prince Charles reads the Queen's speech next to her Imperial State Crown in may last year.
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Although The Kings Speech may seem familiar thanks to Colin Firth’s on-screen portrayal of the event in 2010, the occasion on Tuesday will be the first in 70 years.

King Charles III’s first ceremonial address as monarch will detail the main areas of legislation that the government intends to pass between now and the general election expected next year.

Don’t let the name fool you. Although it will be the King reading it out, the speech itself will have been written by Rishi Sunak, his ministers and senior officials.

Here, HuffPost UK takes a look at what we can expect to be in it.

The smoking ban

The prime minister announced at last month’s Tory Party conference that he intended to phase out all tobacco sales in England.

The legal age to purchase tobacco will be raised by one year, every year, meaning anyone born on or after January 1 2009 (making them 14 now) will never be allowed to legally buy cigarettes.

This same legislation will also introduce tougher rules on the flavours of vapes that critics say are targeted at children, as well as a ban on the sale of disposable vapes.

More oil and gas

A new bill will give ministers the power to award new North Sea oil and gas licences every year.

The government says it will make the UK less reliant on importing oil and gas from abroad, although there is confusion over whether it will also lead to lower energy bills.

The bill would also create a dividing line with Labour, which has said it would ban the issuing of new exploration licences if it wins the next election.

New rules for renters

The Renters Reform Bill, which began its journey through Parliament last month, will be carried over to the next parliamentary session.

If passed, the law bring an end to “no-fault” evictions, a Tory election manifesto commitment bitterly opposed by many of the party's own MPs.

Just last month, levelling up secretary delayed the measure in the face of a backbench rebellion, claiming that reforms to the court service need to happen first.

Leasehold reform

The leasehold system, which sees house buyers owning their property but not the land it rests on, has been the cause of political debate for years.

Michael Gove had long pledged an end the leasehold system, following years of complaints. But, in another government U-turn, the new bill not lead to leaseholds being scrapped entirely.

It is expected to ban leaseholds for new houses, but not for new flats, while the default length of leases will be extended from 90 to 990 years, rather than scrapped entirely.

Crime crackdown

Crime is expected to be a huge issue at the next election, with both the Tories and Labour desperate to be seen as the party of law and order.

A new government bill will set out plans to increase prison sentences for the most serious offenders.

It will give police powers to search a property without a court warrant if they have “reasonable proof” that a stolen item, such as a mobile phone tracked through Find My iPhone, is inside.

It will also force criminals to attend their sentencing hearings, an issue brought to light after child murderer Lucy Letby refused to appear in court following her guilty verdict.

Blade ban

A new Offensive Weapons Bill will close loopholes in current legislation around the possession of machetes and so-called zombie knives.

The bill will also make it an offence to possess a blade with intent to harm or cause damage, while police will get greater powers to confiscate and destroy lawfully-owned knives that they have reasonable grounds to believe may be used for crime.

Driverless cars

A bill will be introduced setting out the legal framework for the use of autonomous (driverless) vehicles.

It would mean that these futuristic cars will be able to function on normal roads without safety drivers for the first time.

If it goes ahead, driverless car companies could be selling their creations to the public by the end of the decade.

Ministers hope the law will spur tech investment in the UK, but critics say there are lots of safety concerns that need be addressed.

Anti-boycott bill

The Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill, is a piece of draft legislation beinbg carried over from the last parliament.

Effectively, it would ban public bodies from boycotting Israel under the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Some Conservative MPs have spoken against it, arguing it is unnecessarily restrictive and could lead to rising international tensions and in some cases, breach existing international agreements.

Anything else?

Other bills expected to be announced are a Media Bill scrapping an existing law forcing newspapers to pay the legal costs of both sides in libel or privacy cases, regardless of who wins.

Legislation setting up a new football regulator overseeing the professional game in England with the power to stop clubs joining breakaway leagues.


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