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21 June 2017

The Queen’s Speech shows the extent of Jeremy Corbyn’s victory

Labour didn't win the election, but their forward advance has dragged the government to the left. 

By Stephen Bush

Well, that was…brief. Elizabeth Windsor delivered a pared-down Queen’s Speech that reflected the shrunken ambition of Theresa May’s government after the loss of its parliamentary majority on 8 June. The planned push for grammar schools, gone. The ending of the triple lock on pensions – gone. A free vote on ending the ban on hunting foxes with hounds – gone.

Labour didn’t win the election but the Queen’s Speech shows they did pull off a victory of a sort. May has been forced to move to the left, and not merely rhetorically.

However, it would be a mistake to see the thin agenda as a wholly unambitious one. There are still ambitious elements in the government’s programme – an increased focus on mental health provision, a new Domestic Violence Bill, a ban on letting fees, the continuation of High Speed 2 – but they are all areas where the government will require at least some Labour votes to make up for Conservative rebels.

For Labour, that puts them in a win-win situation. They can drag the government’s more progressive measures further to the left with amendments, and if they don’t get their way, they can vote them down. Actually passing significant changes makes them look like a government-in-waiting, defeating the government makes the government look weak. 

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