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The Queen's Speech: Brexit on October 31 a 'priority' for British government

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Queen Elizabeth II tackled Brexit head on in her speech to open the United Kingdom's next Parliament.

Brexit took centre stage as Queen Elizabeth II delivered her much-anticipated official speech opening a new session of the United Kingdom's Parliament. 

"My government’s priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 October," Queen Elizabeth told Parliament. 

"My government intends to work towards a new partnership with the European Union, based on free trade and friendly cooperation.”

Queen Elizabeth II leaves Buckingham Palace for the State Opening of Parliament.
Queen Elizabeth II leaves Buckingham Palace for the State Opening of Parliament.
Yui Mok/PA Wire

The Queen's Speech is an official part of the elaborate ceremony marking the State Opening of Parliament in the United Kingdom. 

The speech was used to outline Prime Minister Boris Johnson's legislative agenda for the next parliamentary term, and included blueprints for immigration, justice and healthcare reforms. 

Because Mr Johnson's Conservative Party lacks a majority in Parliament, there is no guarantee the legislative measures will be passed. 

The speech comes in the wake of a shock Supreme Court ruling that found Mr Johnson had misled Queen Elizabeth on his plans for Brexit. 

Staff and members of the House of Lords wait ahead of the Queen's Speech.
Staff and members of the House of Lords wait ahead of the Queen's Speech.
PA Wire

In the landmark decision, eleven judges unanimously ruled that Mr Johnson had acted unlawfully by suspending parliament for five weeks in the lead up to October’s Brexit deadline.

The court’s finding was at times scathing of the Prime Minister’s actions in proroguing parliament, but did not explicitly accuse Mr Johnson of deliberately misleading the Queen. 

Mr Johnson echoed the main points of the Queen's Speech in a written statement. 

"People are tired of stasis, gridlock and waiting for change and they don't want to wait any longer to get Brexit done," he said. 

Queen Elizabeth wrapped-up the speech by stressing the United Kingdom would continue to be a major international force once Brexit is completed. 

Members of the Household Cavalry arrive for the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II.
Members of the Household Cavalry arrive for the State Opening of Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II.

"As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, my government will ensure that it continues to play a leading role in global affairs, defending its interests and promoting its values," she said.

"My government will be at the forefront of efforts to solve the most complex international security issues.

“It will champion global free trade and work alongside international partners to solve the most pressing global challenges.

"It will prioritise tackling tackling climate change and ensuring that all girls have access to 12 years of quality education."

The Queen's guards march in front of Buckingham Palace ahead of the State Opening of Parliament.
The Queen's guards march in front of Buckingham Palace ahead of the State Opening of Parliament.
EPA

Queen Elizabeth arrived at London's Westminster Palace accompanied by an eye-catching display of pomp and ceremony. 

She travelled from Buckingham Palace to Westminster in the same horse-drawn carriage built to mark her 80th birthday. 

Opposition MPs were scathing towards the policy proposals outlined in the speech. 

Labour MP Anna Turley described the speech as a "damp squib". 

"If that’s the summit of the vision of a new Prime Minister who has spent his whole life planning how to get to Downing Street, I’d have hoped for so much more to transform our broken economy, services and society."

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