The Queens Speech
15 Nov 2006
I have just left the Chamber of the House of Commons, having sat through the opening hostilities. I felt that the Prime Minister was glad that this was his last Queen's Speech - though he did not seem to have raised his game for the occasion. I suspect that, later in the session, he may be planning a more formidable performance for us all to remember him by.

The best part of his speech was right at the beginning. Provoked by David Cameron's peroration, he abandoned his script and went off piste. It was much better than what followed - and I wondered whether Gordon Brown would have been able to have done that off the cuff. All Gordon's remarks seem to be very carefully rehearsed.

The Prime Minister wants his legacy to be nuclear power; so much was clear from that passage of his speech. But he did not answer the substantial intervention from Tony Baldry. The private sector won't invest in Nuclear Power unless the Treasury underwrites the disposal costs. Toby Baldry asked the Prime Minister if he could give an appropriate undertaking. He couldn't (In fact Ministers have said that they won't - leaving us to wonder how the PM's commitment was going to be honoured.)

David Cameron made an effective speech, quoting back what Tony Blair had said when he was Leader of the Opposition. That played well. David's theme was "wasted opportunities - where has all the money gone - Ministers think that new Bills will solve the problems." But much of David's attack was aimed at Gordon Brown rather than the Prime Minister. A taste of things to come.

We now have several days of debate to address each of the themes and then, when that is over, the Bills are introduced. And so we go round the course again.
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Copyright Sir George Young Bt. 2015