Theresa May has cancelled the 2018 Queen’s Speech to smooth the path for Brexit reforms as a deal with the DUP hangs in the balance.
The Prime Minister announced that a two-year parliamentary session will be launched on Wednesday rather than the traditional one-year session.
The step breaks with historical precedence and was last taken in the early days of the Coalition as it scrambled to create stable government in 2010.
Government sources last night insisted the move was planned before the election and would give time for laws needed for Brexit to be fully debated.
However opposition figures with a knowledge of parliamentary procedure claimed the move was an attempt to shore up Mrs May’s position after failing to win a majority.
The Prime Minister’s new Government is dependent on the support of 10 DUP MPs to remain in place because the Tories lost seats at the snap election.
The Queen’s Speech – which lays out the laws that ministers want to pass in the coming year – is a major moment in the parliamentary diary.
It is seen as a critical test for the Government and failure to win the backing of a majority of MPs is seen as a vote of no confidence.
By cancelling the 2018 Queen’s Speech, Mrs May removes a vote that could have bought down her Government from the diary.