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Harman insists Labour will be a 'vocal' opposition

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman has been responding to the Queen's Speech. Credit: Dan Kitwood / PA Wire/PA Images

Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman has said Labour will not hesitate to hold the Government to account if it does not act in the country's best interests, as she responded to the Queen's Speech.

Ms Harman joked she shared the status of "interim leader" with David Cameron but congratulated him on returning to the Commons as Prime Minister.

She insisted that her party will be "a determined, forensic and vocal opposition".

Where you act in the interests of the country, we will support the Government. When you don't, we will not hesitate to be a determined, forensic and vocal opposition and that is what every one of our 232 Labour MPs will do.

Britain faces a fragile future - for our economy, our constitution and our public services.

Although we are seeing economic growth return, its benefits are not being shared and the economy remains fragile.

Compared to other countries, Britain's productivity lags behind. Tax revenues have fallen short of where the Government said in 2010 that they would be now, meaning it's taking longer to reduce the deficit.

Britain cannot succeed by low skilled, low wage, insecure employment with a race to the bottom. The path to economic prosperity and recovery must be with a high skilled, long term approach.

But our productivity is being held back by a lack of investment in training, infrastructure and industry.

– Harriet Harman


Will the SNP prove to be a thorn in the Tories side?

It was a State Opening steeped in tradition- but less conventional was the frosty silence as Labour's acting leader Harriet Harman walked with the Prime Minister.

Equally unimpressed SNP members chose to wear the white rose of Scotland, a nationalist symbol - but will they prove to be a thorn in the government's side?

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports:


Greens criticise 'lack of action' on climate change

The Green Party's only MP, Caroline Lucas, has criticised the Conservative government's Queen's Speech for missing an "historic opportunity" to take action on climate change.

The Tories pledged to work with other countries on a new global deal at international discussions in Paris in December - but Ms Lucas said that was not enough.

The evidence in favour of urgent action could not be clearer, yet the Government is set to sit idly by and miss this historic opportunity to be a world leader in facing up to the climate crisis.

Credible solutions to tackle climate change and rebuild our economy exist, but the lack of environmental policy in this Queen's Speech shows that the Government is failing in its responsibility to future generations.

If the Government is serious about playing a leading role in the climate talks in Paris later this year then it must do more than offer warm words on climate change. Ministers must shelve plans for fracking and take action to invest in a renewable energy system fit for the 21st century.

– Caroline Lucas MP

Liberty welcomes 'pause for thought' on human rights

The director of human rights group Liberty has welcomed a decision not to include plans to scrap the Human Rights Act in the Queen's Speech.

While the Conservative government used the speech to propose a British Bill of Rights, which had been expected to be a substitute for the act, the Human Rights Act was not specifically mentioned.

It is heartening that a Conservative government committed to scrapping the Human Rights Act has at least paused for thought in its first Queen's Speech.

There is a long struggle ahead but time is the friend of freedom.

The more this new Parliament understands the value of the Human Rights Act for all of us in this United Kingdom and our reputation in the world, the more it is likely to understand how dangerous it would be to replace human rights with mere citizens' privileges.

– Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty

Union outrage over Cameron's new strike proposals

Credit: PA

Unions have reacted with outrage to David Cameron's reform of strike laws which will prevent them action going ahead unless 40 per cent of workers agree.

Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, said: "It is extraordinary that after more than 100 years of first past the post in public democratic elections in the UK, David Cameron wants to be the first Prime Minister who wants to use a handicapping system solely for union strike ballots.

"Under the new rules, he would not have been elected leader of the Tory party and 270 Tory MPs would have failed to be elected in the general election."

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey added: "Given the profound challenges facing this nation, it is staggering that a priority for this government is not to create decent jobs and offer a helping hand to insecure workers but to attack trade unions.

"Seven million UK workers and their families turn to their unions for help.

"We urge this government to think again. People will not be fooled by claims to be the party of working people, if freedoms and democracy are swept away in a tide of repressive laws and showy PR."

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