#AceNewsReport – May.12: In a ceremony stripped back because of the #COVID19 #pandemic the 95-year-old Queen, who wore a day dress instead of the usual robes and crown, read out the bills the government hopes to pass during the next year on everything from job creation and health care to stripping back post-Brexit bureaucracy:
LONDON: ‘Queen Elizabeth II opens UK Parliament in first public appearance since death of Prince Philip’
Posted Yesterday at 1:42pm, updated Yesterday at 10:15pm
The speech, written for her by the government, presented Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s agenda to tackle inequality and “level up” the country.
The Queen was accompanied by Prince Charles, who had been at his mother’s side on previous formal occasions while Prince Philip was ill, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
The royal party travelled from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster in cars, rather than carriages.
Members of Parliament and the House of Lords were required to wear a mask unless they had an exemption, and everyone took a COVID-19 test beforehand.
In another break with tradition, the Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland, placed the speech on a table instead of handing it directly to the Queen.
Johnson aims to revive an agenda derailed by coronavirus
In the 18 months since Boris Johnson’s Conservatives were re-elected with a big parliamentary majority, his agenda has been eclipsed by the pandemic, which caught his government off guard and has absorbed many of its resources for making policy.
With Britain’s vaccination programme now far ahead of many other countries and the spread of the virus at low levels, Mr Johnson is hoping to revive his “levelling up” agenda and re-set a premiership that has been clouded by accusations of cronyism.
“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 read to Parliament.
“To achieve this, my government will level up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom, supporting jobs, businesses and economic growth and addressing the impact of the pandemic on public services.”
In an introduction to the pages of government pledges, the speech said: “The crisis has in no way diminished the government’s ambition or appetite for change… We have been given an historic opportunity to change things for the better.”
After completing Britain’s exit from the European Union at the end of 2020, Johnson has wanted to showcase what he sees as the benefits of Brexit.
But he has so far been unable to match a pledge made in the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign of handing the health service 350 million pounds ($631 million) a week.
His government will instead try to reduce what it saw as excessive EU bureaucracy by streamlining state aid and procurement rules so it can target funds to ailing businesses more quickly and directly.
That was part of the government’s strategy to “build back better”, which also included education reforms to help adults access life-long learning — seen by ministers as key to reshaping the British workforce.
On climate change, the government repeated its commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a pledge it hopes will spur other nations to cut their emission targets before a United Nations climate summit in November in Scotland.
Much of Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech comprised policies and proposals already flagged, prompting the opposition Labour Party to challenge the government to turn its “rhetoric into reality”.
“The Conservatives have so far tried to hide their lack of a long-term plan by making people and places scrap over funding pots,” Labour leader Keir Starmer said in a statement.
“This piecemeal approach won’t deliver the fundamental change our country needs. Instead, we must today see meat on the bones of a proper, ambitious plan to deliver the change people across the country deserve.”
#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: May.12: 2021:
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