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13 Nov 2019 22:28
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  •   Home > News > International

    Queen's Speech used to reiterate Britain's commitment to Brexit deadline on October 31

    With Brexit in the balance before a crucial week of talks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is accused by rival parties of misusing the politically neutral Queen by asking her to set out his election agenda.


    Britain's commitment to leave the European Union on October 31 has been reiterated by Queen Elizabeth in her speech to parliament.

    The Queen's Speech is the highlight of a day of elaborate pageantry in Westminster and is used to detail all the bills the Government wants to enact in the coming year.

    It is written for the 93-year-old monarch by the Government.

    But with Brexit in the balance before a crucial week of talks, and an unpredictable election likely soon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused by rival parties of misusing the politically neutral Queen by asking her to set out his election agenda.

    The speech and accompanying notes set out an overview of more than 20 bills, including the legislation that is required to implement a Brexit deal if Mr Johnson is able to reach agreement with the EU this week.

    "My Government's priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union on 31 October," the Queen said.

    "My Government intends to work towards a new partnership with the European Union, based on free trade and friendly cooperation."

    The Government's plans included an outline of Mr Johnson's proposed post-Brexit immigration system, criminal justice reforms, healthcare changes, and a promise to invest more from the public purse to stimulate growth.

    "People are tired of stasis, gridlock and waiting for change," Mr Johnson said in a written statement accompanying the speech.

    "And they don't want to wait any longer to get Brexit done."

    But Mr Johnson's political future and his ability to implement any of this agenda are highly uncertain.

    He runs a minority government and has been unable to win a single vote in Parliament since taking power in July.

    All parties want an early election, but disagree over when it should be held.

    Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Queen was being used to promote a Conservative Party election manifesto.

    "The Prime Minister promised that this Queen's speech would dazzle us," the Labour leader told parliament.

    "On closer inspection, Mr Speaker, it is nothing more than fool's gold.

    "There has never been such a farce as a government with a majority of minus 45 and a 100 per cent record of defeat in the House of Commons, setting out a legislative agenda they know cannot be delivered in this Parliament."

    The speech is now subject to several days of debate, concluding with votes to approve it.

    AP/Reuters

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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