|Date: 09/05/2012 Time: 04:42:00 PM
The UK Queen Elizabeth 11 set out Wednesday her
government's plans for the year ahead in a speech to both Houses of
They include plans to split up the banks and reform executive pay.
There are also moves to make parental leave more flexible and exempt the UK
from future eurozone bailouts.
But Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg have stressed
their top priority remains cutting the deficit and restoring economic growth.
It is the first Queen's Speech - the grandest event on the parliamentary
calendar - since shortly after the coalition was formed in 2010, commentators
The 14 bills and four draft bills - fewer than last time - have been billed
as a "fightback" for the coalition after the Conservatives and their Lib Dem
partners suffered heavy losses at last week's local elections, the
But some fear that the inclusion of House of Lords reform in the
legislative programme will stoke tensions between the two governing parties,
with some Conservative MPs strongly opposed to the plans.
Among the measures outlined in the speech are the splitting of banks into
separate retail and investment arms.
In addition there are measures to make it easier for police and
intelligence agencies to access, store and share data on private phone calls
and email communications.
The speech also includes moves towards televised court proceedings and
creating a specific offence of driving under the influence of drugs.
There are also legislations of purely domestic nature such as the electoral
registration bill to cut down on fraud.
There is also a bill to establish a Green Investment Bank, make it easier
for firms to sack workers by reforming the employment tribunal system and to
strengthen shareholders' ability to curb directors' pay.
The main purpose of the Queen speech is to formally open the new session of
Parliament and to deliver an outline of the Government's proposed policies,
legislation for the coming period and a review of the last session.
It is being compared to the State of the Union address delivered by US
The speech equally highlighted the aspirations or general themes of
government, such as being against nuclear proliferation or for peace in
In terms of raw numbers of measures, then Justice is the biggest category
with five specific measures or aspirations announced.
There's also a strong contingent of constitutional reform, including - of
course the House of Lords reform.
The Queen has opened every session of the Westminster Parliament since her
accession except in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew
and Prince Edward, respectively.