Britain’s Queen Elizabeth Presents Government Agenda

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth delivered the official Opening of Parliament speech Tuesday, her first ceremonial appearance since the death of her husband, Prince Philip.The speech, traditionally a large-scale event full of pageantry in which the queen opens the new parliament, was scaled back considerably due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the queen wearing a day dress instead of the usual robes and crown.The queen presented Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s agenda, focusing on economic recovery and development in a post-pandemic Britain. Johnson’s Conservative majority party made gains in regional elections late last week and is expected to press that advantage by pushing through reforms sidelined by the pandemic in the past year.  The queen outlined several bills the government hopes to pass during the next year on everything from job creation and strengthening the National Health Service to stripping back post-Brexit bureaucracy.In a speech prepared by Johnson’s cabinet the queen said, “My government’s priority is to deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before.”The queen said the government will balance opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom, supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth and addressing the impact of the pandemic on public services.”Much of Tuesday’s “Queen’s Speech” comprised policies and proposals already offered, prompting the opposition Labour Party to challenge the government to turn its “rhetoric into reality.”While Johnson solidified his majority in parliament, last week’s elections also brought him problems in Scotland. There, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s ruling party won a pro-independence vote majority, and she told him Saturday that is not a question of “if, but when” Scotland will hold another referendum on independence from Britain.

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