Current Events - Queen’s Speech focuses on Brexit


The Queen and The Prince of Wales at the State Opening of Parliament (Photo: Paul Edwards/The Sun)

WORDS In The Story

session - a formal meeting

traditional - based on a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by a group of people for a long time
deadline - a date or time when something must be finished
pomp - formal activities or ceremonies
legislative - having the power to make laws
migrants - a person who goes from one place to another especially to find work
priority - something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done first
negotiations - a formal discussion between people who are trying to reach an agreement
extension - the act of making something longer or greater
precautionary - something that is done to prevent possible harm or trouble
infrastructure - the basic equipment and structures (such as roads and bridges) that are needed for a country, region, or organization to function properly

News Story

(by Clyde Hughes, UPI) — Queen Elizabeth II opened a new session of British Parliament Monday with her traditional speech, in which she laid out Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s legislative agenda — amid rising fears there won’t be a Brexit deal before a critical deadline this weekend.

The “Queen’s Speech,” filled with the usual pomp, included 22 new bills that will establish Johnson’s legislative priorities — including stronger penalties for violent and sexual criminals and undocumented migrants.

“We have been a soft touch on foreign criminals for too long,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said. [Home Secretary is similar to the U.S. Secretary of State.] “The sentence for breaching a deportation order is far too low at the moment and many criminals conclude that it’s worth trying to get back in the country when all you get is a slap on the wrist.”

The queen said in her speech the government’s priority is to leave the EU on Oct. 31.

Johnson’s administration and EU negotiators open the week with continuing talks toward a deal to leave the EU on schedule on Oct. 31. Signs of progress were seen in negotiations last week, but a Brexit summit on Thursday and a legislative deadline Saturday loom over renewed talks this week.

Johnson is legally required to seek an extension if there is no agreement by Saturday. The Benn Act requires the delay, although the prime minister has said the departure will happen on Oct. 31 with or without an agreement. An effort to force Johnson legally to seek a delay, as a precautionary measure, was rejected by a Scottish court last week.

The pivotal EU summit will be held in Belgium on Thursday, the final time the bloc’s leaders will meet before the departure deadline.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said Monday he will unveil a post-Brexit budget on Nov. 6 detailing Britain’s taxing and spending priorities. [The  Chancellor of the Exchequer is the government’s chief financial minister, similar to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.]

“I will be setting out our plan to shape the economy for the future and triggering the start of our infrastructure revolution,” Javid said. “This is the right and responsible thing to do — we must get on with governing.”

Published by UPI .com on October 14, 2019. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from United Press International.


Questions

1. How many bills will establish Boris Johnson's priorities?

2. What date is Britain scheduled to leave the EU?

3. If there is no agreement by Saturday what will happen?

4. What will happen on November 6, 2019?


WATCH - The Queen's Speech in full





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