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Today’s Queen’s Speech from the first majority Conservative government since John Major was in power proposed a number of new legislative developments that will affect employers.
A great deal of emphasis was placed on how the legislative programme was an agenda for “working people”, including promises from the Government to bring in three million new apprenticeships over the next five years.
In his introduction to the Queen’s Speech, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The first task of a 'One Nation Government' is to help all working people have security. And nothing is more crucial to that than a job.
“A new Bill will help to create two million more jobs this Parliament. That means there should be a job for everyone who wants one – in other words, full employment.”
Chief among the legislative developments is a planned consultation on whether or not to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) (introduced under Labour) and replace it with a British Bill of Rights.
This was a commitment made in the Conservative manifesto, and will be led by the new Justice Secretary Michael Gove.
It is thought that the Government has chosen to push forward with a consultation on the legislation rather than scrapping the HRA immediately, so it can address some of the criticism that has been levelled at the move.
If this legislation is passed later in Parliament, this would break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and decisions made in the ECtHR would not be binding on the UK Supreme Court.
Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman has criticised proposals to scrap the HRA, saying that this will threaten "basic rights at work".
The current HRA implements the European Convention on Human Rights, granting employees protection in areas such as: the right