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Queen to outline Johnson govt’s agenda

Queen to outline Johnson govt’s agenda
Queen Elizabeth the second (File)
LONDON, DEC 19 (IANS) | Publish Date: 12/19/2019 10:46:03 AM IST

The UK’s Queen Elizabeth II will set out Prime Minister Boris Johnson-led government’s agenda for the year ahead, including a legislation to take the UK out of the EU on January 31, 2020, during Thursday’s State Opening of Parliament.

Although read by the Queen, the Speech is written by the government, the BBC reported.

The programme, due to be announced at 11.40 a.m., is expected to contain the following measures: plans for an Australian-style points-based immigration system from January 1, 2021; new post-Brexit regulatory regimes for trade, farming, fishing, financial services and the environment; increased custodial sentences of up to five years for animal cruelty; action to tackle the unlawful use of drones in commercial airspace and plans for full fibre and gigabit broadband coverage across the UK by 2025.

Thursday’s State Opening will see less pageantry than usual, as was the case the last time a snap election was held in 2017.

The Queen will travel by car from Buckingham Palace to Parliament, rather than by horse-drawn carriage. She and the Prince of Wales, who has accompanied her since the Duke of Edinburgh retired from royal duties in 2017, will not wear ceremonial dress and there will be a reduced procession.

When the pageantry is over, Parliament will be asked to immediately begin ratifying the agreement that Johnson had negotiated in October.

The first debate and vote on an updated European Union (EU) Withdrawal Agreement Bill is expected on Friday before MPs leave for the Christmas recess.

Earlier this week, Downing Street said that it would rule out any extension to the 11-month post-Brexit transition period, in which the UK will continue to follow EU rules but without any representation in the bloc’s institutions, reports the BBC.

Ministers have said they were confident of concluding a new trade deal by December 31, 2020 although many EU officials are sceptical this can be done in such a short amount of time.

In another move welcomed by Conservative MPs, the bill will also enable more British judges to depart from previous rulings of the EU’s top court.

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