Prince Charles to Read Queen’s Speech, Expected to Include Bill of Rights, Brexit Freedoms Bill

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, arrives at the Sovereign's Entrance o
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Prince Charles will read the Queen’s Speech setting out the government’s legislative programme today, as the 96-year-old sovereign continues to suffer mobility issues.

The heir to the throne, 73, will read the speech in the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament, laying out the Boris Johnson-led government’s upcoming legislative agenda.

It is the first time the monarch has been unable to attend a State Opening since 1963, which she missed due to pregnancy. The only other State Opening she missed was in 1959, for the same reason.

Prince Charles, who will be accompanied by his eldest son, Prince William, will not sit on the throne while acting in his mother’s place, the BBC reports, but leave it empty.

A number of important measures have reportedly been dropped from the Queen’s Speech, including changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol which has left part of the United Kingdom under partial European Union control and reforms to judicial review — very rare in Britain until relatively recently — which would have made it harder for activists and activist organisations to bung up various actions and policies in the courts.

More eye-catching for much of the press is the excision of planned bans of imports of fur and foie gras, a type of duck or goose liver pâté illegal to produce in Britain due to the fact it involves force-feeding, due to Cabinet ministers deciding this would be “fundamentally unconservative”.

Some interesting measures remain, however, including a British Bill of Rights which will supposedly shore up free speech and reform human rights law, allowing British judges to disregard rulings of the European Court of Human Rights — although people sceptical of how much this will really change may point to the fact that the government is moving to further restrict online speech and the lack of evidence that British judges have any desire to stop following European human rights rulings.

Claims that a bill on regeneration and “levelling-up” will allow local people more say over the buildings imposed on them by housing developers may also attract “I’ll believe it when I see it” commentary, given Conservative party Housing Secretaries have been promising to tackle ugly modernist architecture and return to tradition without much to speak of in terms of results for many years already.

A so-called Brexit freedoms bill may also stir hope among some Leave-voting conservatives, granting government ministers the power to prune the forest of European law in force in Britain as a result of four decades of European Union, European Community, and European Economic Community membership without the need for parliamentary votes — but how far such powers will be put to use remains to be seen.

Other potentially interesting bills expected to be announced are one which will allow for the creation of a publicly-owned company called Great British Railways and the end of the current railway franchising system, one which will allow for not just the creation of more nuclear plants but also the further proliferation of wind turbines, and one to make it easier for the authorities to prosecute alleged foreign agents and throw them out of the country.

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