Ban on legal highs and extremist activity unveiled in Queen’s Speech

The Queen travelled to the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening by carriage
The Queen travelled to the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening by carriage
A man has appeared in court for burglary.

Picture: Cesar Moreno Huerta

Man, 42, in court for Southsea burglary

  • Queen’s Speech reveals plans to ban legal highs and extremist activity
  • Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes welcomes move to remove ‘killer substances’ from high streets
  • NHS will get £8bn boost in state funding by 2020
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Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes has welcomed government plans to impose a blanket ban on legal highs.

The Government revealed in the Queen’s Speech today that it wants to push through a Pyschoactive Substance Bill enforcing a ban on supplying, possessing with intent to supply, importing or exporting new psychoactive substances — commonly known as legal highs.

We will have to see the detail of the legislation following the announcement today, but I’m hopeful this is a start of removing these killer substances from our high streets.

Simon Hayes, Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner

Other legislation to be considered over the next 12 months is an Extremism Bill to create new banning orders, extremism disruption orders and closure orders.

The aim would be to tackle ‘groups and individuals who reject our values and promote messages of hate’.

Simon Hayes, Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘I am very pleased the Government is suggesting in the Queen’s speech that it wishes to bring about a total ban on all forms of physocoactive substances, so called Legal Highs.

‘I’ve been campaigning for this for a long time now.

‘We will have to see the detail of the legislation following the announcement today, but I’m hopeful this is a start of removing these killer substances from our high streets.

‘These poisons are killers, and it is right Parliament acts to protect lives, especially of the many young people who, in ignorance, are tempted to experiment with these chemicals.

‘I fear these poisons will still be available online, purchased from abroad. I hope the legislation will make reference to this and speak of the importance of educating people of the absolute danger of these things, to both mind and body, particularly the risk to young people.’

The plans form part of a packed agenda of 26 bills which aims to enact many of the promises made by Conservatives during the general election campaign,

Although there is no Health Bill in the government’s agenda for the coming year, the Queen’s Speech included promises for far-reaching change to the NHS in England, involving the creation of a ‘truly seven-day NHS’ and an £8bn boost in state funding by 2020.

The prime minister said the Tories were committed to maintaining an NHS ‘there for everyone, whoever they are, regardless of their ability to pay’.

An Investigatory Powers Bill will revive plans to give intelligence agencies new tools to target communications data - branded a ‘snooper’s charter’ by critics - while a Trade Unions Bill will impose a 50 per cent turnout threshold on strike ballots, with a further requirement in essential public services for strikes to be supported by 40% of those entitled to vote.

The annual cap on a household’s benefit payments will be cut from £26,000 to £23,000.

An Immigration Bill will target illegal working and employers’ exploitation of illegal immigrants, as well as restricting access to services such as bank accounts and rented homes, with the aim of controlling immigration by making the UK a less attractive destination.

The removal of illegal immigrants will be made easier by the introduction of a ‘deport first, appeal later’ rule.

Potentially the most significant constitutional measure is the European Union Referendum Bill, which will provide for a public vote on EU membership before the end of 2017, as promised by David Cameron, with participation limited to those entitled to vote in general elections in the UK.

Mr Cameron said that after the British economy was hauled back from the brink of disaster in 2010, the UK now stands ‘on the brink of something special’.