Queen Elizabeth II speech sets out PM Boris Johnson′s agenda | News | DW | 19.12.2019
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Queen Elizabeth II speech sets out PM Boris Johnson's agenda

Queen Elizabeth II outlined the Conservative government's plans for Brexit, as part of the official opening of Parliament. It was her second such address in under two months.

Queen Elizabeth II formally opened a new session of Parliament with a speech on Thursday, after the British Conservative party won a large majority in general elections last week.

The Queen's Speech is part of the traditional state opening of Parliament ceremony. Her speech is largely written by the government but is read out by the monarch seated on a golden throne in the UK parliament's unelected upper house.

The main plans for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government addressed the UK exit from the European Union and the tax-payer financed National Health Service.

Reading the speech in a green hat and matching jacket, the queen also outlined plans to overhaul Britain's immigration system after Brexit, when EU citizens will lose the automatic right to live and work in the UK. The Queen's Speech highlighted a "points-based system for immigration" for people from all over the world, but made no specific commitment to EU workers seeking to move to the UK in future.

She also read out government plans for an EU free trade agreement as well as saying "we will begin trade negotiations with other economies."

Her second visit in less than two months

The 93-year-old monarch's trip to Parliament marked her second trip to give the opening of Parliament speech in just nine weeks. A Queen's Speech usually happens once a year, but the monarch had had to give another speech in October, after Boris Johnson became prime minister in the summer.

As such, Thursday's ceremony displayed less pomp than usual with the queen traveling in a car instead of the usual horse-drawn carriage and wearing a hat rather than a crown.

Johnson's Conservative Party won an 80-strong majority in the 650-seat house in last week's election on a pledge to "get Brexit done'' and leave the EU's political institutions on January 31.

But many EU officials think striking a trade deal with the bloc will be a struggle in just 11 months. The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday called the timetable "extremely challenging.''  

kmm/sms (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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