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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 01:15 GMT 02:15 UK
What the Queen didn't say
Queen's Speech
Some waited in vain for certain measures to be announced
As always, what the Queen did not mention in her government-written speech was as significant as what she did say.

Among the notable measures that failed to gain a place in New Labour's opening legislative menu for its second term was the proposed ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship.

No sign of the promised ban on tobacco advertising
Its non-appearance left Dr John Chisholm, chairman of the British Medical Association's GPs committee, "dismayed, even disgusted".

The government's failure to include a bill banning the ads would have a "direct consequence", he warned. "As a result we will see more patients continuing to smoke, more people being recruited to smoking.

"That will have a damning effect on the health and indeed will result in some premature deaths," he said.

24-hour drinking on hold

Another measure flagged up in Labour's manifesto but not allotted a slot in the Queen's Speech was the proposal for sweeping reform of the licensing laws and 24-hour drinking.

Tony Blair drinking a pint
24-hour drinking not yet on the cards
The Campaign for Real Ale called on the government to give a definite commitment that change would feature in the next Queen's Speech - due in autumn 2002.

"Many pub-goers will feel cheated," said Mike Benner, CAMRA head of campaigns.

"Licensing reform featured heavily in Labour's election campaign and drinkers deserve to know when the government is planning to stick to its commitment."

English regions left in cold

Among the notable measures that failed to gain a place in New Labour's opening legislative menu for its second term was any bill that would lead to referendums on regional assemblies.

The Scots have a parliament, but no sign of English regional assemblies yet
Labour's 2001 election manifesto stated: "In 1997 we said that provision should be made for directly elected regional government to go ahead in regions where people decided in a referendum to support it and where predominantly unitary government is established.

"This remains our commitment."

The omission of any move to turn that pledge into a bill is a sore disappointment to campaigners and MPs in the north of England.

Jane Thomas, secretary of the Campaign for the English Regions, said, "the English regions have been let down once again" by the speech.

Family-friendliness forgotten?

Beyond the well-trailed rise to maternity pay and an extension to the length of time for which mothers can claim that benefit, neither was there any great evidence of "family friendly" laws in this Queen's Speech.

John Edmonds, general secretary of the GMB union, wondered of the speech: "This would seem a nice package, but what has happened to the government's commitment to family friendly policy legislation?

"We will be seeking talks so that we can be re-assured that this important aspect of the government's promises has not been forgotten."

A spokesman for the Department for Trade & Industry - headed now by Patricia Hewitt, who has made much noise about the need for flexible, family-friendly work practices - insisted they had not been dropped.

"The government is fully committed to family friendly practices at work, and helping employees balance work and family life.

"The government remains fully committed to meeting the 2003 timescale and legislation will be introduced as soon as time allows," he said.

No euro paving legislation

To the surprise of few, Her Majesty did not mention any paving legislation to enable a referendum on joining the single European currency.

Given ministers' exhortations to "cool it" over the euro debate and the growing signals that a referendum on signing up to the currency could be some considerable way off, pre-election Eurosceptic warnings that Mr Blair would bounce the UK into joining soon after look to have been wide of the mark.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Chair of Police Fed for Eng and Wales Fred Broughton
"There are so many good things in it in relation to criminal justice"
Chairman of the GP's Committee Dr John Chisholm
"I am... disgusted about the lack of the bill to ban tobacco advertising"

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