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Queen to outline Cameron's plans after poll win

27 may 2015, 14:27
0
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. ©AFP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. ©AFP

 British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives unveil their programme for government Wednesday after a surprise clear win at this month's general election which will lead to a referendum on leaving the EU, AFP reports.

The policy plans will be outlined in a speech scripted by Cameron's centre-right government and delivered by Queen Elizabeth II, wearing a crown and full ceremonial dress, on Westminster's grandest day.

The Queen's Speech will include a planned law for a European Union referendum by the end of 2017, more powers for Scotland and controversial measures to pull out of European human rights legislation.

Cameron, who led a coalition between 2010 and May 8 before winning enough support to govern alone, said it would show a "one nation" government providing opportunity for all.

"We have a mandate from the British people, a clear manifesto and the instruction to deliver -- and we will not waste a single moment in getting on with the task," he said, according to comments released by his Downing Street office.

His previous coalition government's austerity policies -- including £20 billion (28 billion euros, $30 billion) of cuts to welfare, which will be reduced by a further £12 billion in the next five years -- were criticised by opponents who said they harmed society's poorest.

Hundreds of people are expected to hold an anti-austerity protest outside Downing Street after the speech, while a bigger demonstration is planned in London on June 20.

"We've suffered austerity for too long. It created the longest fall in living standards since records began for the majority while the thousand richest doubled their wealth," said Sam Fairbairn, one of the organisers.

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 The Queen's Speech will include a formal announcement of the EU referendum and legislation paving the way for it will be published Thursday but is not expected to include details such as a precise date.

Cameron, who will address the House of Commons after the Queen's Speech, embarks on a whistlestop tour of European capitals including Paris, Warsaw and Berlin on Thursday and Friday as he pushes for reforms which he says are necessary before the referendum.

Some of Cameron's goals include controlling migration by making it harder for EU migrants to claim state benefits in Britain and opting out of the commitment to "ever closer union".

The speech will also feature legislation handing new powers to Scotland after it voted against independence in a referendum last year.

But Nicola Sturgeon's pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), which became the third largest group in the Commons following the election, wants the government to go further.

The SNP, which increased its number of MPs ninefold at the election, says Scotland should get more powers over taxation to bring it in line with regions like Quebec in Canada.

The Conservatives are likely to have a narrow majority and could struggle to pass controversial legislation if they face rebellions from within their own ranks, which could come over the party's plans to scrap some European human rights laws.

Cameron argues that extremists and foreign criminals can manipulate the current system to resist deportation and wants to replace it with a "British bill of rights" while retaining core principles such as the right to a fair trial.

Amnesty International has run advertisements in national newspapers arguing against the move, while actor Benedict Cumberbatch has also spoken out.

"Repealing it will mean less protection against state abuse or neglect, and weaken the rights of every single one of us -- and the vulnerable most of all," the "Sherlock" star said.


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