Queen outlines UK government agenda in scaled-down speech

LONDON, June 19 Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that she wanted the border between the United Kingdom and the European Union to be as seamless as possible after Brexit.

The package includes a number of items related to Britain's exit from the European Union, a process set off by a referendum past year and the terms of which are now under negotiation with the EU.

DUP sources have said that a deal must be in place before Parliament votes on the Queen's Speech next Wednesday.

The news is a significant blow to the authority of Mrs May who said hours after the election that she would seek a deal with the DUP's 10 Westminster MPs after she failed to win a majority of MPs in the House of Commons.

Following her failure to reach agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party on a deal to shore up her minority administration, Mrs May is the first PM in decades to be faced by doubts over whether she can get her legislative programme through Parliament.

The speech is expected to set out a raft of new laws needed to implement Brexit, plans to strengthen counter-terrorism powers and a series of bills created to reform Britain's infrastructure and economy in preparation for life after the EU.

The program set out in the so-called Queen's Speech at Wednesday's state opening of Parliament will include "a number of bills" meant to make Brexit successful.

The Conservatives had hoped to secure a "confidence and supply" deal with the DUP, whereby the party's members of parliament support the government on key votes.

Nearly two weeks after the election, Conservatives have failed to secure a "confidence and supply" agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party to shore up Mrs May's minority administration.

Even before news of Prince Philip's illness, the government had announced that the speech would be delivered with less pageantry than normal a result of the timing of the snap election.

While the queen reads the Queen's Speech to lawmakers, it is written by the prime minister and her staff.

The Queen's Speech will have Brexit at its core, with the Great Repeal Bill as its centrepiece, in which European Union law will be transposed onto the UK's statute book. "We will work hard every day to gain the trust and confidence of the British people, making their priorities our priorities".

Also contained in the Queen's Speech are Bills to extend the HS2 high-speed rail link to Crewe, permit the development of driverless cars and commercial satellites, cut whiplash insurance claims, protect victims of domestic abuse and ban letting fees for private rented homes.

Those plans could also deliver on May's repeated promise to make internet firms more accountable for the spread of extremist material online. Four militant attacks have questioned her grip on national security, and the death of at least 79 people in a tower block fire has become a flashpoint for public anger at her party's record in government.

  • Leroy Wright