From goat exports to driverless vehicles: the 21 bills in the king’s speech | King’s speech

Here are the 21 bills that made it into the final legislative programme before the next election:

Animal welfare bill

This policy aims to permanently ban the export of live cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses from Britain.

Arbitration bill

This seeks to reduce pressure on the court system in England and Wales, allowing two or more parties to resolve disputes via an arbitral tribunal.

Automated vehicles bill

The bill will allow autonomous vehicles to operate without safety drivers on roads for the first time across Britain.

Criminal justice bill

The Conservatives hope to create a big dividing line from Labour on crime, by giving police powers to test people for drugs on arrest, enter premises without a warrant to seize stolen goods, and access the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database to identify criminals.

The bill creates powers to force offenders to attend their sentencing hearing. It also seeks to establish powers to transfer prisoners in and out of England and Wales to serve their sentence abroad.

Data protection and digital information bill

A bid to modernise regulation across the UK, it seeks to ensure people are able to access the benefits of “secure data use”.

Digital markets, competition and consumers bill

The bill promises to deliver on the Conservatives’ manifesto promise of giving the Competition and Markets Authority enhanced powers to tackle consumer ripoffs and bad business practices.

Draft rail reform bill

After the prime minister scrapped the northern section of the HS2 high-speed rail line last month, this draft bill seeks to allow parliamentarians and experts to review and test the legislation draft of establishing a watered-down version of Boris Johnson’s Great British Railways.

Economic activities of public bodies bill

Organisations including universities will be banned from publishing statements indicating they intend to engage in boycotts across the UK, and will face fines if they breach rules.

Football governance bill

An English football regulator and licensing system will be launched that will assess club owners and their financial resources against a standard of fan engagement. The regulator will have powers to block clubs joining breakaway leagues.

Holocaust memorial bill

The government will fulfil its manifesto commitment to build a planned Holocaust memorial and learning centre next to the Houses of Parliament.

Investigatory powers bill

Tech companies operating in the UK will be required to notify the Home Office of any security or privacy features they intend to add in advance, and they could be forced to disable features the government opposes.

Leasehold and freehold bill

Changes will make it cheaper and easier for existing leaseholders in England and Wales to extend their lease or buy their freehold, but the long-awaited bill will not end leasehold on most properties, despite a promise to do away with what Michael Gove described as England’s “feudal” leasehold system.

Media bill

Legislation will result in the rolling back of a law that left UK newspapers liable for the legal costs of both sides in libel cases, regardless of the result, as part of what the government described as the removal of “a threat to the freedom of the press”.

Offshore petroleum licensing bill

Licences for oil and gas projects in the North Sea will be awarded annually, under plans the government says will reduce reliance on foreign imports.

Pedicabs bill

A law to regulate and license London’s pedicabs – stemming from the London MP Nickie Aiken’s private member’s bill – will be introduced, giving powers to Transport for London in relation to the three-wheeled vehicles.

Renters reform bill

“No-fault evictions” will be abolished, although the government has already announced this will be indefinitely delayed until after the English court system is changed. There will be stronger powers to evict antisocial tenants in England and an end to blanket bans on pets.

Sentencing bill

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Whole-life orders are to be handed down across England and Wales to what the government has described as the “most horrific murderers”, and rapists will spend more time in jail under legislation that will also extend home detention curfew to some offenders jailed for four years or more.

Terrorism bill

Martyn’s law, named after Martyn Hett, one of the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing, will be introduced to compel premises to be better prepared and ready to respond in the event of a terrorist attack.

Tobacco and vapes bill

UK legislation will deliver on Sunak’s promise to “create the first smoke-free generation” so that children turning 14 this year, and those younger, will never be able to be legally sold cigarettes in England. The government has also confirmed a new vape tax.

Trade bill

The UK’s obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a new trade deal with a range of Pacific and Asian nations, will be rubber-stamped.

Victims and prisoners bill

A new “top tier” of offender whose release may be subject to intervention by ministers will be created, along with the implementation of Jade’s law, a suspension of parental responsibility while any mother or father is serving time for killing the person with whom they shared that responsibility. Both measures are expected to apply across England and Wales.

… what didn’t make it

Artificial intelligence regulation

The government has already been publicly criticised by a senior Tory MP for not setting out legislation on how technology would be developed in the UK safely and responsibly. Greg Clark, the chair of the Commons science, innovation and technology committee, said it was “disappointing” not to see an AI bill, after the prime minister hosted the AI safety summit last week.

Mental health bill

Campaigners and MPs in Sunak’s own party reacted with disappointment at the absence of a long-awaited mental health bill to overhaul the way the system works when people are in a mental health crisis.

Conversion practices

Laws to ban the practices were omitted amid Conservative splits, with some concerned such a move could unintentionally criminalise parents or teachers giving advice to children struggling with gender identities.

Nutrient neutrality curbs

In August, the government set out plans to block nutrient neutrality laws that ensure developments do not produce excess nutrients that pollute waterways in new housing projects. This was not included in the king’s speech.


The king referenced Sunak’s pledge to replace A-levels and T-levels with a new single “advanced British standard” qualification, but there was no legislation underpinning that promise.


Sunak had promised to review traffic calming schemes such as 20mph zones and low-traffic neighbourhoods, but there was no move to intervene against councils the prime minister has described as waging a “war on motorists”.

Tents and homelessness

A pledge last week by the home secretary, Suella Braverman, to give police and councils powers to clear tents put up by homeless people gave rise to expectation it would be included in the speech.

Trophy hunting

The Conservative manifesto of 2019 vowed to ban trophy-hunting imports of endangered animals, but it was in effect talked out in the House of Lords during backbench legislation.

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