Brexit dominates Queen’s speech unveiling govt’s agenda in scaled-down Parliament opening

Queen’s speech this year was dominated by Brexit and will cover a two-year period instead of one to give MPs time to deliberate on laws needed to leave the EU – irrespective of the final deal agreed with Brussels.
Brexit dominates Queen’s speech unveiling new...
PTI London 21 Jun 2017, 18:18:42 PM IST

The contentious issue of Brexit dominated the speech by Queen Elizabeth II today as she addressed the Parliament unveiling the agenda of the newly appointed Theresa May government. In her speech, the Queen highlighted a host of new laws designed to prepare the UK for a ‘smooth and orderly’ divorce from the European Union. Of 27 bills, eight relate to Brexit and its implications for key industries. At the heart of this is the so-called Great Repeal Bill, which will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. It will also copy existing EU legislation to the UK statute book, and Parliament will decide which bits to retain.

At a scaled-down State Opening of Parliament, the Queen laid out the legislative priorities for parliamentary proceedings amidst the political uncertainty after PM Theresa May's poll debacle earlier this month. The Queen's Speech is prepared by the government of the day and read out by the monarch. The scaled down version, minus the usual royal procession and pageantry, is a result of the rushed preparations following the snap general election earlier this month. 

Queen’s speech this year was dominated by Brexit and will cover a two-year period instead of one to give MPs time to deliberate on laws needed to leave the EU – irrespective of the final deal agreed with Brussels.

As part of the dressed-down version of the grand State Opening, the 91-year-old monarch arrived in a car instead of a carriage and wore a day dress instead of her traditional robes. She was accompanied by son and heir Prince Charles rather than husband Duke of Edinburgh, after he was admitted to hospital as a "precautionary measure" last night.

No mention of Trump’s UK visit

There was no mention of US President Donald Trump's proposed state visit to the UK later this year, appearing to confirm suggestions it has been delayed. The main non-Brexit bills include a domestic violence and abuse bill and a data protection bill.

Meanwhile, May-led Conservatives are still trying to agree to terms with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to secure their support for a minority government after the snap general election failed to win a majority for the ruling party.

"The election result was not the one I hoped for, but this government will respond with humility and resolve to the message the electorate sent. We will work hard every day to gain the trust and confidence of the British people, making their priorities our priorities," May said in the lead up to the Queen's Speech.

Conservative party to trim its manifesto 

Her ministers have said some parts of the Conservative party manifesto would have to be "pruned" following the election result.

Opposition Labour party and the Liberal Democrats each plan to put forward alternative versions of the Queen's Speech.

"They have got the right to bring forward their own programme, but I don't believe, actually, that they are legitimate in the sense that they have got a mandate that they asked for," Labour's shadow chancellor Jon McDonnell said.

The Liberal Democrats said their version would call for continued membership of the EU single market and customs union after Brexit. 

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