In a centuries-old ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II has given her traditional speech at the opening of British parliament. The legislative agenda for Prime Minister Tony Blair’s last term in office, set out in the speech, will focus on crime, terrorism and illegal immigration. Analysts say it is an ambitious program, aimed at reversing the damage done to Blair’s legacy by the Iraq war.
“At the heart of my government’s programme will be further action to provide strong, secure and stable communities and to address the threat of terrorism,” Queen Elizabeth II said. “My government will put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system, support the police and all those responsible for the public’s safety and proceed with the development of ID cards.”
The agenda is the work of Tony Blair and his finance minister Gordon Brown, who is tipped to succeed him next year.
They have set out bills providing tougher sentences for offenders, giving police greater powers to seize criminal assets and giving officials more power to deport foreigners who break the law.
They say they will legislate to solve the problems revealed in a review of terrorism laws.
But with his majority in parliament reduced in the last election, largely due to anger over the Iraq war, Tony Blair may have a fight on his hands to fulfill his agenda.