- Queen Elizabeth II on Monday lunchtime delivered a “Queen’s Speech” in the Houses of Parliament, setting out a new legislative programme for Boris Johnson’s government.
- The speech was highly controversial as such speeches normally take place after a government has won a majority in a general election.
- Johnson has instead chosen to hold one before an expected general election, leading to constitutional experts labeling it a “party political broadcast” for Johnson’s Conservative party.
- Professor Robert Hazell of the Constitution Unit brands Johnson’s plans a “sham” that will “embarrass” the Queen.
- The Sun Newspaper reports that the row has contributed to relations between Johnson and the monarch hitting “rock bottom.”
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Relations between Boris Johnson and Queen Elizabeth have reportedly hit “rock bottom” after the prime minister forced her to deliver what constitutional experts have branded a “party political broadcast” for his Conservative Party.
The Queen came to the House of Lords on Monday to deliver a “Queen’s Speech” which set out a new legislative programme for Johnson’s government.
However, the timing of the speech, which came shortly before an expected general election, is a breach of the traditional constitutional convention in which such speeches are normally made after an election.
The prime minister currently has a majority of minus 45, meaning that none of the legislation the Queen announces on Monday has much hope of getting through parliament before another general election.
This has led to constitutional commentators labeling the speech as a “party political broadcast” for Johnson’s Conservative party.
As a result, Buckingham Palace reportedly took the unprecedented step of demanding a copy of the speech a week early to ensure that there were no nasty surprises contained within it.
“Number 10 is pretty worried they’ve hit rock bottom with the palace so they wanted to get the speech in early,” one Cabinet source told the Sun Newspaper.
“That left quite a lot of departments upset and in a flap, as a few things weren’t ready. It’s all been pretty messy and frantic.”
Buckingham Palace took the rare step last month on briefing their “displeasure” at former prime minister David Cameron’s decision to reveal the details of private communications he had with the Queen’s aides.
The Palace was reportedly similarly displeased after the Supreme Court ruled that Johnson had asked the Queen to illegally suspend parliament, with Private Eye reporting that she had expected Johnson to announce his resignation afterwards.
The Queen is set to deliver a ‘trailer for the Conservative party’s election manifesto.’
The Queen on Monday lunchtime came to the Houses of Parliament to announce a new programme of legislation which Johnson’s government plans to implement.
However, there’s one small problem. Johnson’s government can’t actually implement any of it.
Johnson currently has majority of minus 45 in the House of Commons, so none of this legislation can actually be passed before a general election.
For this reason, as Robert Hazell of the Constitution Unit points out, UK prime ministers traditionally only call a Queen’s speech directly after a general election once they have won a majority.
What Johnson is attempting is the complete opposite. In effect he has asked the Queen, not to set out his government’s legislative agenda, but to set out the Conservative party’s manifesto for a general election.
By timing the Queen’s speech as he did, Johnson, Hazell argues, forced the the monarch to “make a Conservative party political broadcast.”
As the Constitution Unit puts it, Johnson used the speech as a “trailer for the Conservative party’s election manifesto.
Hazell adds: “if indeed the government hopes for an election and for there to be no coming session of parliament, then the Queen’s Speech is a sham.”