I am absolutely delighted with today’s King’s speech, it puts forward a serious legislative programme focused on the future, taking difficult but necessary long-term decisions that will change this country for the better.
I am also delighted to see that two of my key campaigns have made it into the King’s speech. My campaign to ban Zombie Knives will be enacted through the Criminal Justice Bill, increasing the maximum penalty for those who sell dangerous weapons to under 18s and creating a criminal offense of possession of a bladed article with the intent to cause harm.
The football governance bill will be warmly welcomed by Southend United Fans, an independent football regulator will put fans back at the heart of football and I have been pushing Ministers on this point for months. I know that this bill will help to deliver a sustainable future for football clubs like Southend for generations to come.
The King’s speech also outlined how the Government will ensure the NHS is put on a sustainable footing for the future, delivering on plans to cut waiting lists and transform the long-term workforce of the NHS. This will allow us to capitalise on the £110 million in capital funding recently delivered by me and my Conservative colleagues for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.
We will also ensure our children have a healthier future, restricting the sale of tobacco, creating a smoke free generation and restricting the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children. A healthier future for our children means a more sustainable NHS.
Equipping people with the skills they need for the future is essential if we are to transform people’s lives, this King’s speech puts skills at the heart of education. The introduction of a new Advanced British Standard will bring technical and academic routes into a single qualification, allowing young people the flexibility to learn in a way that suits them, rather than being pushed down one specific educational route. Ending the insistence on university when for some it is simply not the right choice.
Recent events have shaken the Jewish community in Southend to the core and for the Jewish community to now see repugnant language and despicable images targeted at them in the wake of the heinous attack on Israel is deeply disturbing. We must not tolerate any antisemitism or threats to our Jewish community, and I am pleased that the King’s speech underlined this point and highlighted that we should never forget the horrors of the past.
I judge all legislation against my three priorities, to make Southend safer, healthier and wealthier, this King’s speech hits all of these priorities. The legislation outlined today is in the interests of future generations and by taking these decisions we will build a better future for all, especially the people of Southend and Leigh-on-Sea.