The state opening of the UK Parliament, marked by the Queen’s Speech to set the parliamentary agenda for the year, will take place on June 21, two days later than planned after Prime Minister Theresa May’s election setback. The state opening had been originally scheduled for June 19, but had to postponed as a result of talks between May and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) over support for her minority government after the Conservative party lost its overall majority in the House of Commons in the June 8 general election.
In a statement, Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons – said: “The government has agreed with Buckingham Palace that the state opening of the Parliament will take place on 21 June 2017.” Queen Elizabeth II, 91, will read out a prepared speech on May’s plans for new laws in what has already been declared as a low-key affair as a result of the snap general election called by May in April and clashes with the monarch’s diary. The announcement of the date indicates the Conservatives are confident they can agree a deal with the Democratic Unionists, whose 10 MPs that will allow them to get their agenda through the Commons.
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is planning to set out his party’s own programme for government in a substantial amendment to the Queen’s Speech, and will urge all other parties to back it in an attempt to topple May and form a minority Labour administration. It is not yet clear whether the EU withdrawal talks, which had been due to start on Monday, will also now go ahead on Wednesday, although Brexit Secretary David Davis has said they will start “next week”.
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Meanwhile, May is holding talks on Thursday with other Northern Ireland political parties amid concerns a DUP deal will undermine the Northern Ireland peace process. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement commits the UK and Irish governments to demonstrate “rigorous impartiality” in their dealings with the different political traditions in Northern Ireland.