London [U.K.]: As Britain’s embattled Prime Minister Theresa May officially begins leading a minority government, Queen Elizabeth II read out a list of the government’s intentions along with eight draft laws to take Britain out of the European Union.
May’s own position has been vulnerable after the election outcome. Her attempt to secure a larger mandate ahead of the Brexit negotiations backfired with her losing a commanding majority. The prime minister is yet to conclude a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 MPs to lend ongoing support to her agenda so that she can continue to govern. MPs will be asked to support the speech in a vote next week – and opposition parties are likely to table a series of amendments. If the government fails to win the backing of a majority of MPs, then it will be seen as a vote of no confidence.
Theresa May’s minority government has dropped key Tory manifesto pledges, including expanding grammar schools and a free vote on restoring fox hunting, as the Queen Elizabeth announced a list of government’s priorities .
The laws include the “Great Repeal Bill” to overhaul existing EU legislation and separate bills on customs, trade, immigration, fisheries and agriculture.
The Queen said the “Great Repeal Bill” would repeal the European Communities Act, the 1972 legislation that enshrined Britain’s membership of the European bloc.
And Parliament will also introduce a new bill on immigration. Immigration was the centerpiece issue in the campaign to leave the EU, and the government has promised to deliver a policy that controls the level of immigration.
“My government’s priority is to secure the best possible deal as the country leaves the European Union,” the Queen said in her speech.
She said her government would seek “to build the widest possible consensus on the country’s future outside the European Union”, amid divisions within her own cabinet over the best strategy.
May’s attempt to lead a minority government comes on the heels of a fire at Grenfell Tower that killed at least 79 people, one of the country’s worst disasters for a generation.
The speech reiterated May’s promise to hold a public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, “to ascertain the causes, and ensure that the appropriate lessons are learnt”.
The Queen promised that government would review counter-terrorism laws in the wake of a series of deadly attacks in recent weeks.
“In the light of the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, my government’s counter-terrorism strategy will be reviewed to ensure that the police and security services have all the powers they need, and that the length of custodial sentences for terrorism-related offences are sufficient to keep the population safe,” the Guardian quoted the Queen, as saying. (ANI)