Unfinished business: policies that could fail under UK’s ‘lame-duck’ government | Boris Johnson


Boris Johnson remains to be prime minister, for now, and has appointed a cupboard, so technically the enterprise of presidency ought to have the ability to proceed. With the nation gripped by a value of residing disaster, and motion wanted on every thing from education to power, the ministerial in-trays are overflowing. However the probabilities of a “lame-duck” administration getting a lot finished look decidedly skinny. Listed here are a few of the main insurance policies that might stall amid the chaos.


It promised to be a momentous – and feisty – week within the power business as long-running battles got here to a head. A choice on approval for the £165m plans for Britain’s first new coalmine for many years, close to Whitehaven in west Cumbria, had been anticipated however was delayed. A assessment into fracking, initially anticipated final week, is but to emerge. A choice on planning approval for the Sizewell C nuclear reactor in Suffolk, opposed by environmental campaigners, was due on Friday. It has now been pushed again to twenty July.

Whitehaven in Cumbria is the site of a proposed new coalmine in northwest England
Whitehaven in Cumbria is the positioning of a proposed new coalmine in northwest England. {Photograph}: Jon Tremendous/AP

Playing clampdown

A once-in-a-generation reform of the UK’s out-of-date playing legal guidelines was as a result of be unveiled subsequent week, however that has been thrown into doubt by the resignation of playing minister Chris Philp. The white paper is anticipated to incorporate more durable stake limits on on-line on line casino video games and affordability checks to make sure punters don’t lose an excessive amount of, except the proposals are watered down. Different insurance policies hanging within the stability embody the creation of a playing ombudsman, a compulsory levy on operators to fund dependancy providers and a attainable ban on betting logos on soccer shirts.

Northern Eire protocol

Johnson, like his predecessor, could depart workplace with the difficulty of commerce with Northern Ireland unresolved. His authorities is pushing by laws to tear up preparations he signed into legislation that impose checks on items going from Nice Britain to NI.

EU leaders yesterday rapidly called for Johnson’s successor to abandon the plans to intentionally break worldwide legislation, which may trigger a broader commerce struggle between the UK and its greatest buying and selling accomplice. Hotter relations may additionally open the door for the UK rejoining the EU’s €90bn (£76bn) Horizon science analysis scheme.

HS2 within the north

The high-speed rail community has all the time been opposed by a majority of Conservative voters and notably among the many Brexit wing. Johnson likes large infrastructure tasks and backed it. Nonetheless, in his management marketing campaign, he whipped up votes by promising to assessment it – even when, as soon as elected, he handed that review to a former chairman of HS2.

An excessive amount of work has certainly been finished on the primary leg from London to Birmingham to return now with out colossal waste, and section 2a to Crewe has handed by parliament. However a brand new chief may nonetheless select to scrap the remaining.


Academics’ pay is the highest merchandise for the brand new education secretary, James Cleverly – he must publish the suggestions of the College Academics Overview Physique earlier than the tip of time period or danger additional angering lecturers in England earlier than strike ballots in autumn.

Examination outcomes for A-levels and GCSEs arrive in mid-August – and can see steep falls in prime grades in contrast with final 12 months. Whoever is education secretary must clearly talk to sad college students and oldsters why that has occurred. The related college admissions spherical might be an identical nightmare for ministers.

Michelle Donelan leaving 10 Downing Street
The upper education freedom of speech invoice faces opposition within the Lords and has now misplaced its main sponsor, Michelle Donelan. {Photograph}: Leon Neal/Getty Photos

The faculties invoice going by parliament is in bother and wishes main retooling to beat opponents within the Lords who see it as a centralising power-grab over academies by authorities.

The upper education freedom of speech invoice can be going through opposition within the Lords, and has now misplaced its main sponsor in Michelle Donelan as minister. It could be additional delayed as its flaws are uncovered.

Different insurance policies left dangling embody the session on the assessment of particular education wants and disabilities that closes quickly and wishes pressing focus if reforms are to make progress, whereas new insurance policies on post-Covid catch-up and faculty attendance additionally demand consideration from ministers.

Retail taxes

The speedy change to the retail business introduced by the web has not been matched by updates to how it’s taxed. The federal government has consulted on reforming the system of enterprise charges for retailers and on an internet gross sales tax for net retailers. A choice on the latter was anticipated by the autumn, however is already going through stiff opposition from Conservative-friendly thinktanks.

On-line harms

Parliament is supposed to be scrutinising the federal government’s on-line security invoice subsequent week. A serious change within the regulation of the web, it might doubtlessly require social media platforms, video streaming providers and search engines like google to reduce the influence of foreign state-backed disinformation. Two champions of the invoice, Nadine Dorries and Priti Patel, are nonetheless in workplace, and the federal government has mentioned it is going to full the subsequent stage earlier than parliament goes into recess on 21 July.

Human rights

Dominic Raab has had the Human Rights Act, introduced in by Labour, in his sights for a very long time. He desires a substitute “invoice of rights” to permit the UK’s supreme courtroom to ignore rulings by the European court of human rights (the arbiter of the non-EU European conference on human rights).

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Tacked on to the invoice is a proposal to forestall the rich from utilizing the specter of costly courtroom motion to silence journalists or campaigners, by bringing so-called strategic lawsuits towards public participation, or Slapps. A session has closed, however detailed proposals haven’t been revealed.


The federal government’s choice to ship refugees from the UK to Rwanda drew opposition starting from Tory backbenchers to the Archbishop of Canterbury. It has additionally failed to date to get by the courts, after a primary deliberate flight was prevented from leaving. The scheme’s architects, Johnson and residential secretary Priti Patel, are each nonetheless in workplace, and the federal government’s legal professionals are as a result of argue their case for the flights to go forward on 19 July. Even when it passes that hurdle, a future administration may simply ditch the policy.

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