A source from the Conservative party has revealed that Theresa May will try to pass the Queen’s speech next Wednesday, even if her deal with the DUP has not by then been finalised.
The senior Conservative source said that the prime minister was ‘confident’ that the speech would be passed. It is not clear whether this is on the condition of the DUP deal, though he implied that a deal would be made, as the Tories and the DUP were committed to a four-point agenda involving “strengthening the union, combating terrorism, delivering Brexit and delivering prosperity”.
A final agreement with the DUP has been in contention since the election results last Thursday, which saw the Conservatives left without a majority in the House of Commons, left to turn to the DUP to make up a government.
The Conservatives seek an arrangement known as ‘Confidence and supply’ whereby a set of agreed conditions by the supporting party, in this case the DUP, must be passed before the supporting party lets the bigger party rule. This is different from a traditional ‘coalition’ government, whereby both parties have a say in governing.
The agreement has been met with mixed opinions, with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams saying it could put the Good Friday Agreement at risk if the Conservatives did indeed secure a deal with the DUP. Ex-Conservative prime minister John Major raised similar concerns.
The prime minister was set to attempt to make the final arrangements with DUP leader Arlene Foster on Wednesday, but talks were postponed in light of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire on Wednesday morning.
What is the Queen’s Speech?
The Queen’s speech, given yearly by Queen Elizabeth II, is written by the government, and sets out their intentions for the coming year, and indeed their time in power. This is includes a list of laws they hope to pass during their time in government. The speech is given at an event known as the State Opening of Parliament, which formally marks the beginning of a session of Parliament. This is different from the ‘Christmas message’, first given in 1932 by George V, which is a national address and not concerning government policy.
Because the Queen’s speech is traditionally written on goatskin vellum, there are expectations that the drying of the ink, which takes a few days on average, could also postpone the giving of the speech. Once the ‘speech’ is signed by the Queen, only then can Parliament formally begin a new session, with a new prime minister in place.
Read our coverage of this year’s general election fallout.