Sky's Sophy Ridge accuses Tories of 'using Queen' to read out manifesto ahead of election

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The accusation comes from Sky News’ Sophy Ridge who, in an interview with Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, claimed the Government’s will to have a Queen’s speech this week clashes with the party’s wish to have an early general election. She asked: “Is it acceptable to ask for a Queen’s speech when you want an election? Because if you’re going to have an early election there’s not going to be time to implement the programme.

“You’re effectively just using the Monarch to read out your party political programme.”

Denying the allegation, Mr Jenrick replied: “It’s perfectly normal when you have a new Prime Minister, a new administration for us to set out our proposals and our legislative agenda in a Queen’s speech.

“This is what always happens in these circumstances.

“You’re right. We want a general election, we’ve been trying to get a general election now for some time and absolutely without precedent the Labour Party who is the official opposition has been turning us down.

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“But until such time as they come forward and agree to that election to submit themselves to the democratic will of the people, Parliament needs to continue.

“This is the longest session of Parliament for hundreds of years so it’s perfectly reasonable now to have a Queen’s speech and bring forward a new agenda.”

The Housing Secretary also repeatedly refused to say whether the Prime Minister would write a letter to the EU asking for a delay to Brexit if a deal has not been agreed by October 19.

He said: “We’ve said that as any Government would do we will comply with the law.

He added that speculation that the Government could ask another EU member state to veto a request to extend Article 50 to ensure Brexit happened on October 31 was “tittle-tattle”.

“I have not heard any serious talk of that beyond the speculation that I have seen in the papers, so I think that, with all due respect, is just tittle-tattle,” he said.

He added: “Boris Johnson and this Government will do absolutely everything in our power to deliver Brexit on October 31.

“But we have no plan as to what might happen if Parliament doesn’t allow us to get Brexit done on October 31 because we intend to get it done on that date and that’s the sole focus of this Government at the moment.”

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