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Watch back: Queen's Speech marks new session of Parliament

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth delivers the Queen's Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in London
Britain's Queen Elizabeth delivers the Queen's Speech during the State Opening of Parliament in London -
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The Queen read a speech prepared for her by the government on Monday that set out a domestic agenda for the next parliamentary session.

The House of Commons will debate the speech before voting on the content. If the government loses the vote, it will be expected to call an election.

She delivered the speech from the UK House of Lords debating chamber. The monarch does not deliver a speech from the House of Commons due to the chamber's independence from the monarch.

The Queen travelled from Buckingham Palace to Westminster in a carriage and hundreds came out on a wet day to wave her along the route.

Read More: What is the Queen's Speech and what happens if MPs reject it?

Content of the speech

The Queen's speech laid out a set of domestic priorities for the government. The speech started with the Queen stating that the government's priority is to leave the EU on October 31.

The priorities included:

  • Ending free movement and extending the right to remain to EU citizens
  • Investing in the National Health Service
  • Improving the Mental Health Act
  • Providing services to police officers
  • Oversight of pensions savings
  • A national infrastructure strategy
  • Providing broadband networks to millions of homes
  • New funding for science and space
  • Maintaining defence spending at 2% of GDP
  • Protecting the environment

As part of environmental policies, the government will work to tackle air pollution, protect animals and ban imports from trophy hunting.

The Queen said the government wanted to work with all parties in Northern Ireland to support the return to a devolved government.

She also outlined the government's plan to "ensure that it continues to play a leading role in global affairs". She said that estimates for public services and other measures would be laid out for Parliament.

After the speech, the government released a 130-page background briefing on the speech that cited 26 bills. Many of the bills concerned the UK post-Brexit.

House of Commons begins debate

The House of Commons began debate on the Queen's Speech and debate will continue until October 22. Both Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson debated the speech in the House of Commons.

Before the Prime Minister and Opposition leader spoke, Conservative MP Lee Rowley proposed the loyal address to thank the Queen. The 39-year-old MP said that he wanted to get Brexit done.

Sarah Newton, a Conservative MP from Truro and Falmouth, seconded the loyal address, stating that she thought the UK should get behind the issue of climate change. She joked about singing together to encourage unity in the House of Commons.

The Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn then spoke, criticising Boris Johnson and stating that the government had put forth "a legislative agenda they know cannot be delivered in this parliament".

"Labour will put forward the most radical and people focussed program of all time," Corbyn said, stating that he thought the next Queen's speech could be under a Labour government.

Corbyn said poverty figures in the United Kingdom were "shocking" and that there was nothing in the Queen's speech to address the stagnant economy, low pay, insecure work and rising levels of child and pensioner poverty.

"This Queen’s speech today was supposed to herald an end to austerity and a new vision, instead it barely begins to unpick the devastating cuts to public services," Corbyn said.

Corbyn also said that alongside tougher prison sentences, he hoped that there would be an effort to move towards rehabilitation and restorative justice for prisoners serving short sentences, something Johnson later said he supported.

Corbyn spoke about the government's plans to require a photo ID for voting which he said disproportionately affects the working class, minorities and young voters.

The Labour leader also said that there needed to be a proper plan in place as an alternative to free movement. He called the Queen's speech nothing more than "fool's gold".

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded by repeating that he wanted to get Brexit done by October 31 and said the Queen's speech set out a plan for "an open, global, free-trading United Kingdom".

He compared Labour to the Soviet Union's Lenin and said Corbyn's "policy on cake is neither having it nor eating it. I fear for his political health."

Johnson was challenged on climate change in the House of Commons.

MPs said there was little information about the climate crisis in the Queen's speech, to which Johnson responded that they would create an independent environmental regulator that would invigilate future governments to ensure that they achieve climate goals.

Green party MP Caroline Lucas had tweeted earlier that the Prime Minister's introduction to the Queen's speech background briefing did not mention climate.

Johnson talked about creating a green economy through the free market.

Reaction

ITV's political editor tweeted that it was the "maddest, most pointless Queen's Speech debate anyone alive has watched".

The Scottish National Party's Westminster leader Ian Blackford responded to the Queen's speech that the UK "leaving the European Union is a tragedy" and said "we have entered very dark days" as the October 31 Brexit deadline approaches.

Blackford also criticised the speech as "hypocrisy" that the speech is "heavy on law and order" from a Prime Minister willing to "break the law".

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