Rights for workers have been hived off from Brexit legislation into a separate employment bill, which includes a new enforcement body for workers, extended redundancy protections and a new right for workers to request “a more predictable contract”.
Emboldened by his historic election win, Mr Johnson has put rights for workers and delivering on Brexit at the heart of the Queen’s Speech, as he seeks to repay the trust of traditional Labour voters who helped deliver him into Downing Street with an 80-strong majority.
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His election pledge to “Get Brexit Done” is at the centre of the set-piece parliamentary occasion, where the monarch reads out the government’s legislative programme for the next parliamentary session.
It comes as MPs were expected to vote on the first stages of the withdrawal agreement bill before the Commons rises for Christmas, to underline the government’s commitment delivering Brexit.
The legislation rules out any extension to the transition period beyond December 2020, leaving Mr Johnson only 11 months to negotiate a trade deal with Brussels or risk crashing out of the EU without a deal.
It enshrines in law the UK’s departure from the EU with a deal on 31 January and also protects the rights of EU citizens in law.
Five other Brexit-related bills will be tabled, covering changes to farming and fishing regulations once the UK leaves the EU.
A new trade bill will create an independent body to protect businesses from unfair practices and unexpected surges in imports, alongside legislation to protect the UK’s financial services sector and a bill to help families and businesses caught up in cross-border disputes to access justice.
In an introduction to the Queen’s Speech, Mr Johnson said: “Our first task is to get Brexit done and we will leave the EU at the end of January. As I said many times over the course of the election campaign, we have a pre-cooked Brexit meal ready to pop in the microwave – and we will bring it before parliament this week.
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“We will release the country from the stranglehold of indecision restoring confidence to people and businesses. We will avoid the trap of further dither and delay – by ruling out any extension to the implementation period beyond 2020.
“And we will maximise the opportunities of Brexit – taking back control of our money, our laws, our trade and our borders, introducing an Australian style points based immigration system so we can attract the brightest and best from the world.
“Then we will move one and focus on the people’s priorities.”
The pared-back Queen’s Speech on Thursday contained some 40 pieces of legislation, including radical plans to overhaul the UK’s constitution and justice system.