A referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017 is among a number of new laws proposed in the Conservative’s Queen’s Speech.

The 26-bill package unveiled with the usual pomp and ceremony ahead of the state opening of parliament also included commitments on child care, a block on tax rises, and further devolution for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England.

However, Downing Street has delayed plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights, and instead committed to only publish proposals on such a bill.

Other key proposals laid out in the speech include:

  • Five year moratorium on rises to income tax, national insurance, and VAT
  • No income tax for those working 30 hours per week on minimum wage
  • Further devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Measures for English-only votes for laws that only affect England
  • Increase in free childcare for three and four year olds to 30 hours per week
  • Extension of right to buy to housing association tenants
  • A counter-extremism bill to tackle the radicalisation of young people in Britain
  • Blanket ban of so-called “legal highs”
  • Reform of strike laws to require a higher turnout before strikes can be called by unions

Reading the first speech prepared by a Conservative-only government in 20 years, from her throne in the House of Lords, the Queen said:

“My government will legislate in the interests of everyone in the country.

“It will adopt a one nation approach, helping working people get on, supporting aspiration, giving new opportunities to the disadvantaged and bringing different parts of our country together.”

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