May pledges she will bring the nation ‘closer together’

Brexit dominated the Queen's speech yesterday. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Brexit dominated the Queen's speech yesterday. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
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theresa MAY has pledged to bring the United Kingdom “closer together” as her government unveiled its proposed new laws in the Queen’s Speech.

The government said 19 of the 24 bills outlined in the speech will apply in whole or in part to Scotland.

And the Scottish secretary said there will “undoubtedly” be more powers devolved to Edinburgh after Brexit.

But opposition parties said the general election result meant the Conservatives have no mandate to govern.

The SNP claimed that Theresa May was a “lame duck prime minister leading a lame duck government”.

And Scottish Labour said the speech had set out a “weak, vague and mean-spirited programme from a government in meltdown”.

Much of what remained in the Queen’s Speech related to Brexit, including the so-called Repeal Bill - which will copy all existing EU laws into UK law, with parliament then deciding which bits to retain.

The bill would give the UK Parliament temporary authority to amend laws that do not “operate appropriately” after Brexit.

And existing decision-making powers devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be maintained pending further discussion on “lasting common frameworks”.

As well as plans to convert EU rules into UK law, measures on trade, customs, immigration, fisheries and agriculture were unveiled.

On immigration, a bill will legislate for the end of free movement from the EU and make the status of EU nationals and family members subject to UK law.

A Fisheries bill would allow the UK to take on responsibility for “access to fisheries and management of its waters,” while an Agriculture Bill would ensure an “effective system” of support to replace the Common Agricultural Policy.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the powers will be returned from Brussels “in a way that works best for Scotland and the rest of the UK”.

He added: “There will undoubtedly be more decision-making powers coming to Holyrood, and I look forward to working closely with the Scottish government on this.”

However, the Scottish National Party’s leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, blasted the plans. He said: “Theresa May is in office, but clearly not in power - she is a lame-duck Prime Minister leading a lame-duck Government.

“It took Theresa May just four days to ditch her first flagship manifesto policy, and it’s taken barely four weeks for her to ditch the rest.”

Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird said proposals failed to reflect the message that voters sent to Mrs May in the general election, adding: “Theresa May has no political authority, and while she struggles to stitch together a deal with the DUP to stay in office, she has been forced to ditch policies from her wildly unpopular manifesto.”