Harman attacks call to scrap Queen’s Speech

Author: By Nigel Morris, Deputy Political Editor

Writing in The Independent yesterday, Mr Clegg dismissed the event as a “waste of everyone’s time” as the Government was running out of time to enact legislation before the general election expected in the spring.

He argued that the next few months should instead be used to “clean up politics” and introduce constitutional reform.

Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, retorted that the Queen’s Speech would contain important plans to foster economic growth and make the banks more accountable.

Referring to moves to give older people with the most serious needs free care at home, she said: “Instead of this pointless political posturing, the Liberal Democrats should back our plans for a National Care Service in this week’s Queen’s Speech. Now is a time for optimism, not pessimism.”

Ms Harman added: “Of course it’s right we should rebuild public trust and confidence after the concern about expenses, but Nick Clegg seems to be somewhat behind the curve here.

“We have already passed legislation which became an Act of Parliament in the summer which will make sure that MPs no longer set our allowance system or run it and there’s a payback system which is already happening.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman also insisted that Gordon Brown still had a “very full agenda”. He confirmed that the Government planned a streamlined Queen’s Speech, arguing that the Bills would be “short and focused”.

The pressure group Unlock Democracy welcomed Mr Clegg’s suggestion that a citizens’ convention of 100 randomly chosen members of the public should examine the case for electoral reform.

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