Queen's Speech: Monarch sets out Boris Johnson's Brexit and NHS promises

19 December 2019, 12:12 | Updated: 19 December 2019, 13:07

The Queen was accompanied by Prince Charles
The Queen was accompanied by Prince Charles. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Queen has unveiled Boris Johnson's agenda for the NHS and outlined the PMs promise to leave the EU on January 31.

The Queen arrived at by car, rather than carriage, at the Palace of Westminster ahead of the Queen's Speech, accompanied by the Prince of Wales.

This is the second time the monarch has opened Parliament in the last two months.

Pledges to commit billions of pounds in funding to help the NHS will be enshrined in law, as new statistics lay bare the pressures facing hospitals this winter.

The Queen's Speech set out how the legislation will ensure the health service receives an extra £33.9 billion per year provided by 2023/24.

The NHS Funding Bill will be the first piece of domestic legislation put on the statute book after the proposed passing of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill which the PM insists will lead to the UK quitting the EU on January 31.

The Imperial State Crown arrived at Parliament in its own vehcile
The Imperial State Crown arrived at Parliament in its own vehcile. Picture: PA

The Queen, addressing both Houses of Parliament, said her Government's priority is to "deliver the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union on the 31st January".

"My ministers will bring forward legislation to ensure the United Kingdom's exit on that date and to make the most of the opportunities that this brings for all the people of the United Kingdom.

"Thereafter, my ministers will seek a future relationship with the European Union based on a free trade agreement that benefits the whole of the United Kingdom. They will also begin trade negotiations with other leading global economies.

"The integrity and prosperity of the United Kingdom is of the utmost importance to my Government. My ministers will work urgently to facilitate talks to restore devolved Government in Northern Ireland.

"My Government will embark on an ambitious programme of domestic reform that delivers on the people's priorities. For the first time, the National Health Service's multi-year funding settlement, agreed earlier this year, will be enshrined in law."

This is the 68th Queen's Speech of Elizabeth II's reign, and the 66th to be delivered by her in person.

Yeoman warders conduct the traditional ceremonial search in the Palace of Westminster d
Yeoman warders conduct the traditional ceremonial search in the Palace of Westminster d. Picture: PA

The Prime Minister's legislative programme includes Bills which will ensure the most serious violent offenders - including terrorists - serve longer prison terms.

A Royal Commission will be established to improve the "efficiency and effectiveness" of the criminal justice process, and the Government will enshrine in law a commitment on the health service's funding, with an extra £33.9 billion per year provided by 2023/24.

Of the 25 Bills detailed in Mr Johnson's second Queen's Speech in less than three months, seven are devoted to Britain's departure from the EU - with legislation on trade, agriculture, fisheries, immigration, financial services and private international law.

The key Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) - which implements the PM's Brexit deal - would allow the UK to leave on January 31, and deliver an implementation period until December 31 2020.

Addressing both Houses of Parliament, the Queen said her Government's "priority" was to take the UK out of the EU on January 31 - but that it would also embark on an "ambitious programme of domestic reform that delivers on the people's priorities".

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