Queen Elizabeth outlined her new Conservative government’s policies, including a European Union (EU) referendum and more powers for Scotland, in her opening address to Parliament.
“My government will legislate in the interests of everyone in our country,” the Queen said. “It will adopt a one-nation approach, helping working people get on, supporting aspiration, giving new opportunities to the most disadvantaged and bringing different parts of our country together.”
Among the major policies flagged in the speech was a referendum on whether or not Britain should leave the European Union – a major platform of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party during this year’s election campaign. Cameron intends to discuss EU reform with fellow European leaders, a plan which the Queen acknowledged.
“My government will renegotiate the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union and pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all member states,” she said. “Alongside this, early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.”
Mr Cameron and his Conservatives won a convincing election victory on May 7, surprising many experts who had predicted a hung parliament. The Conservatives now rule after a collapse in support for their former coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, who lost all but eight of their seats in the House of Commons. Ed Miliband’s opposition Labour Party also suffered in the polls, losing almost all its seats in Scotland to the Scottish National Party.
There have already been protests from thousands of campaigners unhappy with Mr Cameron’s return to Downing Street. People marched through Westminster in opposition to the Conservatives’ austerity measures. – Jake Nelson
Top screenshot from a video of the Queen’s opening speech.