Prime Minister Theresa May will make her first attempt to engage with Britain’s new political landscape as she publishes a legislative program heavy on Brexit and likely to be light on anything controversial.
Queen Elizabeth II will read out the plans to lawmakers at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in London in an occasion stripped of most of its usual pageantry, marking the start of a two-year parliamentary session. May’s office has announced a series of bills aimed at showing that her government is engaging with people’s concerns. Aside from allowing space rockets to be launched from British soil, the measures include converting thousands of European Union rules into British law, cutting the cost of whiplash claims to motor insurers and banning letting fees on rented houses and apartments.
Hanging over the whole event is the question of how long May can stay as prime minister, having unexpectedly lost her parliamentary majority in the June 8 election. The first test is simply winning votes next week on the contents of the speech itself. Negotiations for the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party — giving May sufficient votes to pass key legislation in the House of Commons — were still going on Tuesday evening. But after that hurdle will come higher ones, as May has to get Brexit bills through a Parliament that to a large extent doesn’t support her vision.
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