Response to the Queen's Speech

Anthea Cox, Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and SocialJustice: "There are several items in the Queen's Speech that theMethodist Church supports. In particular, the Government's plans touse its presidency of the G8 to secure progress in tackling povertyand climate change is very welcome, as is the commitment to ruralservices and to cutting poverty in the UK. We also look for theGovernment to support the goals of the Make Poverty Historymovement at the United Nations Millennium Review Summit and theWorld Trade Organisation meeting in Hong Kong.

"However, there are some issues that raise concerns. We are gladthat the Government will introduce measures to tacklealcohol-related violence, but the Church has been stressing forsome time that this is an increasing problem, and that changes tolicensing regulations introduced this year are likely to make thesituation worse. We are also concerned that legislation on theimmigration and asylum system, although aimed at producing a 'fairand flexible' system, will be adversely influenced by the highlynegative view of asylum promoted by some parties during the GeneralElection.

"As always, we offer our prayers and support to all MPs and workingpeers as they consider these issues. The UK's leadership of the EUand the G8 gives us a rare chance to act as an influence forpositive change, and we hope that this opportunity is notwasted."