October 14, 2019 / 10:53 AM / a month ago

Unveiling government plan, Queen says priority is to exit EU on Oct. 31

Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives at the State Opening of Parliament in London, Britain October 14, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - The priority of Britain’s government is to leave the European Union on Oct. 31, Queen Elizabeth said on Monday, setting out Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s programme for a country deeply divided over Brexit.

In a speech to parliament, which sets out the legislative agenda for the government, the queen set out Johnson’s plan to “work towards a new partnership with the European Union, based on free trade and friendly cooperation”.

But with an election on the horizon, many of his other measures, which see increased spending on the health service and tougher sentencing for serious offenders, are unlikely to pass through parliament, making the speech more of a warm-up for the new poll.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and William James; editing by Michael Holden

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