A Somber Queen's Speech Unveils A Brexit-Centric Agenda In The UK

The Queen's speech, written by the Conservative government, covers the two-year period during which Britain will negotiate with Brussels its exit from the European Union (EU), the report said.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday dropped key Tory manifesto pledges, including expanding grammar schools and revisiting the fox-hunting ban, as the Queen announced a pared-down legislative programme focused on delivering Brexit.

Chastened by an election result which left her Conservative Party short of a majority in parliament, May also watered down pledges on social care reform, education, corporate governance and energy markets. For the first time in decades, the government goes into the ceremonial event uncertain whether it can avoid defeat on its agenda.

Proposed visits from heads of states are usually included - one for the king and queen of Spain was in this year's speech.

As part of the dress-down version of the grand State Opening, the monarch arrived in a auto instead of a carriage and wore a day dress instead of her traditional robes. Eight of 27 bills outlined in the speech deal with the complex Brexit process.

The speech set out the new government's domestic priorities, including sweeping changes to technical education, beefed-up plans for tackling domestic violence and paving the way for the next phase of Britain's north-south high speed rail network.

In remarks in the debate that followed the speech, she acknowledged government failings in helping victims of the London high-rise fire on June 14 that killed at least 79 people. "As prime minister I apologize for that failure, and as prime minister I've taken responsibility for doing what we can to put things right".

There was no mention of US President Donald Trumps proposed state visit to the United Kingdom later this year, appearing to confirm suggestions the visit has been delayed.

"That was a failure of the state, local, and national, to help people when they needed it most", she said, according The Guardian.

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

The monarch was determined, though, to make certain she attended the Royal Ascot procession, and her resolve offered a brief moment of levity in the House of Commons.

  • Leroy Wright