Last week, Parliament’s current session of making laws ended. A new session will begin with the state opening of Parliament by the Queen on 10 May 2022. The Queen’s Speech will set out the Government’s programme going forward.
This session of Parliament has seen vital new laws made. Some of them have a real impact on our area – like the Nationality and Borders Act. This is an Act which brings in more powers to tackle the small boats crossings and illegal migration. It will speed up the assessment of claims and enable migrants to have their claims considered in offshore centres. This Act is part of a package of measures designed to ensure that legal and safe routes of entry into the UK are supported. Meanwhile tougher action will be taken to stop the unlawful and dangerous routes that cause loss of life in the Channel, and the criminal gangs behind them.
Making our borders safer and more secure is a key priority. This new Act will help do just that. Of course, we will still do our duty to help people in need around the world. But the new plan for immigration is important as it is right and correct that the British people should decide who and how people are helped. Hard working taxpayers foot the bill therefore the decision should be made here on who and how and for how long people are allowed to come to the UK.
Skills and learning matter greatly to our community. The far-reaching reforms focusing on upskilling and lifelong learning will be a real boost for many here in Dover & Deal. Two major new Acts reforming and modernising the policing and justice system were also passed. Democracy itself has been made stronger by a new Elections Act which requires, for the first time, identification to be provided when voting. Since my very first vote, when I took along my passport, I have been amazed that there is more identification required to pick up a parcel than to confirm who you are when you vote. That gap has now been closed.
With improvements in the Health and Social Care Act and to unsafe buildings, following the Grenfell tragedy, with the Building Safety Act, it has been a busy time in Parliament. With these new Acts, we have modernised and strengthened our democracy, our borders and we have provided greater learning, skills and jobs opportunities. The justice system has been strengthened. Animals are better protected with a new Animal Welfare Act. The Government has been hard at work delivering on our priorities. I am looking forward to the next session in Parliament so we can do even more.