Queen Elizabeth II vows to finish EU exit in speech to Parliament

Following by the decisive election victories for the ruling Conservative Party last week, Queen Elizabeth II delivered her traditional parliamentary speech Thursday, promising to finish Britain’s long-awaited exit from the European Union.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth ll and the Prince of Wales are seen Thursday during the state opening of Parliament at the House of Commons in London. Photo by UK Parliamentary Recording Unit/

The speech, given at the start of every new Parliament, highlights the Conservative Party agenda. Prime Minister Boris Johnson campaigned for months on his determination to see the process through, a sentiment echoed by the queen Thursday.

“My ministers will bring forward legislation to ensure [Britain’s] exit on [Jan. 31] and to make the most of the opportunities that this brings for all the people,” she said.

“Thereafter, my ministers will seek a future relationship with the EU based on a free trade agreement that benefits the whole of [Britain]. They will also begin trade negotiations with other leading global economies.”

Thursday’s was the queen’s second such speech in just two months. She opened Parliament on Oct. 14, not long before Johnson ultimately ordered a do-over election after failing to pass his exit plan through Parliament.

Last week’s vote, which brought major gains for Conservatives and historic losses for the Labor Party, gave Johnson a strong majority in Parliament — and possibly the muscle needed to complete Britain’s exit, which has already been postponed a number of times.

The EU exit was part of more than 20 bills mentioned by the queen Thursday. Others included proposals on healthcare and other domestic priorities.

“For the first time, the National Health Service’s multi-year funding settlement, agreed earlier this year, will be enshrined in law,” she said. “Steps will be taken to grow and support the NHS workforce and a new visa will ensure qualified doctors, nurses and health professionals have fast-track entry to [Britain].”

The queen also called for a “modern, fair, points-based immigration system,” increasing the national living wage and increasing per-student funding levels. She also called for improved Internet safety, longer sentences for serious violent criminals and environmental principles and goals.

ByClyde Hughes