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UK PM Johnson to look beyond COVID crisis in next legislative agenda

Sun, 4th Oct 2020 00:01

LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Johnson's
government will try to look beyond the coronavirus pandemic and
Brexit, and honour Conservative Party election commitments in
its agenda for the next year, Johnson's office said in a
statement on Sunday.

Since winning power with an election campaign built on a
promise to get Brexit finished and start fixing regional
imbalances and ageing infrastructure, Johnson's leadership has
been forced to take a different course by the COVID-19 outbreak.

His efforts to control the spread of the virus have been
widely criticised, and the deal on trade with the European Union
he hoped to secure easily is now in serious doubt. Both have
caused public confidence in his leadership to fall.

But looking ahead to the next Queen's Speech - in which the
monarch sets out which laws the government intends to pass in
the coming year - Johnson's office promised to return to the
priorities that helped him win an 80-seat majority in December.

"We were elected to get Brexit done and unleash Britain’s
potential," the office said in a statement issued to coincide
with the Conservative Party annual conference.

“The Prime Minister has been clear that we will not be blown
off course in our plans to build back better and that’s just
what our next Queen's Speech will do.”

No date has been set for the Queen's Speech, which typically
happens once a year. Although it is read by Queen Elizabeth, the
speech is written by the government and often used to signal
what policy priorities it has for the next 12 months.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is in charge of parliamentary business
for the Conservatives, has written to the cabinet asking for
"bold and ambitious" plans, the government statement said.

The speech will include bills on criminal justice, planning
and animal welfare, the government said.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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