Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to work with “humility and resolve” as the right-wing Conservative leader prepares to outline her government’s legislative program on Wednesday.
In an occasion stripped back of its usual pageantry, the Queen’s Speech will set out the government’s proposed legislation and policies for the next session of parliament – which will cover a two-year period rather than one.
Brexit is expected to dominate the speech while some of May’s manifesto pledges are predicted to have been scaled back after an inconclusive General Election earlier this month.
The ruling Conservative party is still working to agree terms with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in order for May to govern as a minority government.
The speech is written by the government but will be delivered by Queen Elizabeth II at the State Opening of Parliament at around 11.30 a.m. London time on Wednesday.
Members of Parliament will debate the contents of the speech in the afternoon.
While formal Brexit negotiations kicked off on Monday, the government is expected to reveal the laws needed to leave the EU – regardless of the final deal with the bloc.
Central to this program is the so-called Great Repeal Bill – which would repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and effectively end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
The bill would also copy existing EU laws in to the U.K.’s statute book, with lawmakers set to debate which bits they wish to keep.
For the first time in decades, Britain’s prime minister is set to go into the event unsure over whether she will be able to garner enough support to avoid defeat on the program.
Nearly two weeks on from the General Election, the U.K.’s largest party has not been able to secure a confidence and supply deal with the DUP. Senior sources from the Northern Irish party told The Guardian that negotiations, “haven’t proceeded the way we would have expected” and a deal “can’t be taken for granted.”
Britain’s Shadow Finance Minister John McDonnell described the U.K.’s political situation in the run-up to the Queen’s Speech as “chaos.”
“Right the way across Europe, people must be looking at us and thinking this is bizarre … We are in complete unknown territory,” he said on Wednesday. He also predicted the Conservative-led government would fall apart in a matter of months as opposition parties, including the DUP, challenged May over unpopular austerity measures.
Ahead of the Queen’s Speech, May said, “The election result was not the one I hoped for, but this government will respond with humility and resolve to the message the electorate sent.
“We will work hard every day to gain the trust and confidence of the British people, making their priorities our priorities.”
The left-wing Labour party and center-left Liberal Democrat party will also put forward alternate versions of the queen’s speech should the Conservatives fail to pass theirs through the House of Commons.