Equality bill survives pruning of Queen’s Speech that could spell early election

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The government has dropped two planned bills and merged several others that had been announced in the draft Queen’s Speech earlier this year.

A need to focus on the economy was cited as the reason for removing leglislation from Parliament’s next session.

There is also speculation that the move could indicate an early election next spring, leaving MPs with a relatively light legislative programme and therefore able to spend more time in their constituencies.

The Equality Bill, which contains important provisions to promote equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, has survived the cull and will be brought forward next year.

The Queen will read the Speech, this year entitled Preparing Britain for the Future – The Government’s Draft Legislative Programme, to both Houses of Parliament from her throne in the House of Lords on December 3rd.

New laws to allow the creation of a database that stores every email, web page visit, phone call and text message has been scrapped, Channel 4 News reports.

The Communications Data Bill would have allowed “communications data capabilities for the prevention and detection of crime and protection of national security to keep up with changing technology through providing for the collection and retention of such data, including data not required for the business purposes of communications service providers; and to ensure strict safeguards continue to strike the proper balance between privacy and protecting the public.”

A Heritage Protection Bill has also been removed from the legislative programme.

The Equality Bill includes proposals for all public bodies to promote equality for gay and lesbian people in addition to their current duty to consider how their spending decisions, employment practices and service delivery affect people whatever their race, disability or gender.