The Queen's Speech - our take on the Trade, Immigration and Great Repeal Bills

Wednesday, 21 June, 2017

Campaigners have accused the government today of “a power grab” over its Queen’s Speech programme. As Theresa May unveiled sweeping package of legislative measures, Nick Dearden the director of Global Justice Now said: 

“This amounts to a power grab – a sweeping constitutional rewrite carried out by a government with the slimmest possible majority, without any political consensus, and with important checks and balances missing from key pieces of legislation. If they get through, these bills risk undermining the rights and protections of the British people and redefining the role this country plays in the world for the worst. We call on MPs of all parties to ensure this government is held to account, first and foremost by amending or rejecting the Great Repeal Bill, which poses the gravest risks to our rights.” 

On the Great Repeal Bill, Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice Now said:

"EU law incorporates some of our most cherished protections and rights, as well as rules that, for instance, prevent our government from selling products that can be used in torture overseas. Giving Theresa May the powers of a renaissance monarch to translate these rights and protections into British law is terrifying, as it enables her government to change the way these laws work in fundamental ways, without parliamentary scrutiny. We need enhanced, not reduced, democratic oversight of this process. If parliament cannot achieve this scrutiny, we urge it to vote down the whole Great Repeal Bill.”   

(Global Justice Now and Another Europe Is Possible released a briefing today on the dangers of the Great Repeal Bill today)

On the immigration Bill, Aisha Dodwell, migration campaigner with Global Justice Now said:

"The new immigration bill will be introduced to allow the UK to establish new national policies on migration as we leave the EU. Although there are few details as yet, we do know that the government wants to end European free movement and reduce overall immigration to very small levels. This is bad news for the many people who want to make a life in the UK, but it is also a disaster for our public services, our economy and the country as a whole.
 
"We particularly fear this new bill will aim to reduce immigration by further removing rights and protections from migrants, including refugees fleeing conflict or persecution. We already have one of the most draconian systems for ‘processing’ migrants, with thousands incarcerated without charge, and families being systematically separated due to draconian visa rules and mass deportations. This is the wrong approach. We must ensure that human rights and social justice are put at the heart of our immigration system."

On the Trade Bill, Jean Blaylock, trade campaigner with Global Justice Now said:

“Our trade policy needs to be open and democratic – allowing for proper democratic scrutiny of new trade bills and a public discussion about what sort of trade we want. Unfortunately, the government seems to suffer from a severe case of imperial delusion. They talk about forging new trading relationships, but look who with - they’re already discussing trade deals with a range of unsavoury governments from Turkey and the Philippines to the Gulf states and Trump’s USA. These deals could pose a threat to public services, decent standards and protections. if we want to stop this – and engage in trade which is good for everyone – we need strong democratic safeguards. At the moment, MPs have virtually no say over trade deals. We need to change that fast.”

On the Queen's Speech and food and Agriculture, food campaigner Heidi Chow said:

“The Queen’s Speech recognises that Brexit means that UK agricultural policy is now up for grabs. This is an opportunity to create a truly progressive subsidy system that is more democratic, ecological and globally fairer. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy has been widely criticised for subsidising rich landowners and big agribusiness while ignoring small-scale food producers. New national legislation on agriculture should encourage public goods such as environmental practices and infrastructure for local markets that benefit small-scale producers, local communities and the environment.”

Photo: Flickr/Parliament