Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday makes her first public appearance since the funeral of her late husband, Prince Philip, to open a new session of parliament and present her newly victorious government’s post-pandemic legislative agenda.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is riding high after the Conservatives’ triumph in last week’s local and regional elections in England, but faces new questions over the UK’s cohesion after pro-independence forces emerged on top in Scotland.
Johnson says his government, after overseeing a successful inoculation campaign against Covid-19, is intent on reopening the economy and “determined that we look forward and get on with fulfilling the promises we have made to the British people”.
Those promises centre on a “levelling up” agenda to bring economic opportunity to left-behind parts of the country, as Johnson exploits his vaccine-boosted popularity to make further inroads into opposition Labour party strongholds.
“Not only will we address the legacies of the pandemic, we will go further to unite and level up the country, fight crime and create opportunities up and down the country for businesses and families to build brighter futures,” he said.
The queen’s speech will set out the government’s plans for the year ahead, including completion of an environment bill to set legally binding emissions targets, as Britain prepares to host the UN’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November