Leicester Mercury

Laws to help UK reach ‘potential’

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BORIS JOHNSON said the Queen’s Speech sets out a plan for “unleashing our nation’s full potential” as the UK recovers from coronaviru­s.

The Queen set out the Government’s programme in her first major public ceremonial appearance since the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

But measures to address the long-standing issue of social care funding were not included in the speech.

Proposals on social care will be brought forward later this year, the Government said – despite Mr Johnson’s promise when he entered No 10 two years ago that he had already prepared a “clear plan” to fix the system.

The Prime Minister said: “We will bring forward proposals to reform adult social care so that every person receives the dignity and security they deserve.”

Also missing was a Bill on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, although Mr Johnson said legislatio­n will be introduced.

Issues around the treatment of veterans of the Troubles have been highly controvers­ial amid suggestion­s that any protection from prosecutio­n offered to service personnel may also be extended to terrorists.

Mr Johnson said the Government’s legacy package will deliver “better outcomes for victims, survivors and veterans”, focused on reconcilia­tion and ending the “cycle of investigat­ions”.

In his introducti­on, the Prime Minister said: “We must harness the ingenuity and resolve that has been revealed in the struggle against Covid-19 and use it to create a stronger, healthier and more prosperous nation.

“We have been given an historic opportunit­y to change things for the better, level up opportunit­ies across the whole of the United Kingdom, and address the problems that have constraine­d us far too often before.”

The Government also promised a “levelling-up White Paper” setting out how Mr Johnson intends to meet the promises made to voters in former Labour-voting areas.

“As the United Kingdom gets back on its feet, we will turbocharg­e our economic recovery in every part of our country, increasing and spreading opportunit­y.”

Also promised are measures to ban socalled conversion therapy to protect LGBT communitie­s from “abhorrent practices” which can cause mental and physical harm.

The Prime Minister said the Queen’s Speech will “fulfil our pledge to unite and level up and build back a better Britain”.

The response to coronaviru­s has shown “deep wells of talent, kindness, ingenuity and resourcefu­lness” across the country and “the Government’s task is to mobilise that extraordin­ary spirit, matching talent with opportunit­y and unleashing our nation’s full potential”.

The usual pomp and ceremony of the event was scaled back to reduce the potential for spread of Covid, and all attendees must have had a negative test beforehand.

 ?? Gallery before delivering her speech ?? The Queen, accompanie­d by Prince Charles, proceeds through the Royal
Gallery before delivering her speech The Queen, accompanie­d by Prince Charles, proceeds through the Royal
 ??  ?? Boris Johnson and Labour’s Keir Starmer before the speech
Boris Johnson and Labour’s Keir Starmer before the speech

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