British Queen speaks ahead of new session of Parliament

World Today

In London, Queen Elizabeth opened a new session of parliament with a speech outlining the British government’s agenda.

It took place as a messy Brexit debate rages across the country and beyond.

CGTN’s Nawied Jabarkhyl reports.

The streets were on lockdown. Ready for the pomp and pageantry.

Arriving in a horse-drawn carriage, the queen sat on her throne for the 65th time to outline the government’s policy plans for the year ahead.

“My Government’s priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 October. My Government intends to work towards a new partnership with the European Union, based on free trade and friendly cooperation,” said Queen Elizabeth.

The Queen’s speech is a ceremonial event that’s steeped in tradition. But the mood here is anything but normal.

“If there could be one thing more divisive more toxic than the first referendum, it would be a second referendum. Let’s get Brexit done,” said Boris Johnson the UK Prime Minister.

With the issue of Brexit hanging over British politics like a dark cloud, many opposition lawmakers have called this a political “stunt”.

Without a majority in parliament, the Prime Minister could see his Queen’s Speech voted down in the coming days. Something that hasn’t happened since 1924.

Johnson’s team is scrambling to get a last-minute deal with the European Union this week. For many lawmakers here, the issue of Britain’s departure has to be resolved before any ordinary business can go ahead.

With a strong focus on law & order, opponents have accused the prime minister of using the speech to win support ahead of a general election that seems increasingly inevitable.

Some are also worried about the Queen, whose role is largely symbolic, being dragged into politics.

“Holding a Queen’s speech before he’s trying to call an election is a cynical stunt. He’s using the Queen to deliver a pre-election, party-political broadcast for the Conservative party,” said Jeremy Corbyn the opposition leader.

Over the coming days, politicians will comb through the policies in the Queen’s Speech and then vote on whether to pass it. Ordinarily, they do but these aren’t ordinary times.

And with one eye firmly on events in Brussels, political certainty here in Westminster is in very short supply.