12 May 2022, The Tablet

The sense that the Prime Minister has lost both political and moral authority has not gone away

UK politics

The sense that the Prime Minister has lost both political and moral authority has not gone away

Boris Johnson is shrugging off the results of last week’s local elections
photo: alamy/zuma, Tayfun Salci


The clouds over Westminster are darkening – for the economy, for the credibility of the Government, and for the future of the leaders of the two main parties

The decision not to ban the import and sale of foie gras in this week’s Queen’s Speech was noticeable by its absence from the forthcoming legislative programme. Apparently, the original plan was to include it in the so-called Animals Abroad Bill, a manifesto promise intended to try to prevent cruelty to animals – even if logic suggests that it might have fitted more appropriately into the Levelling-up Bill to reduce regional inequalities.

The creation of further difficulties for those who wish to continue eating a delicacy that costs about 30 times as much as black pudding has been abandoned, however. This was not as a gesture to “red wall” voters in the north of England; it was because it had attracted opposition from the right wing of the Conservative Party. The interesting debatable point about whether right-wing Conservatives are more likely either to eat foie gras or, indeed, be able to afford to do so, need not detain us, since the apparent issue at stake is the libertarian one. But the decision to abandon the proposal serves as a useful illustration of the intent behind the Queen’s Speech.


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