Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Queen Elizabeth II Gives Speech in Parliament

Queen Elizabeth II Gives Speech  in Parliament

LONDON — The Latest on Brexit
11:40 a.m.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has arrived at Parliament for the ceremonial state opening ceremony and given her speech.
The queen was driven the mile or so from Buckingham Palace in the horse-drawn Diamond Jubilee State Coach for the ceremony, in which the monarch outlines the government’s program for the coming year.
She spoke before the House of Lords to an audience of peers in ermine-trimmed scarlet robes and lawmakers in modern dress.
The queen has performed this duty more than 60 times during her 67-year reign. The speech, written for the monarch by government officials, gives a brisk rundown of more than 20 laws Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration hopes to pass in the coming months.
But uncertainty around Britain’s departure from the European Union due on Oct. 31 and the possibility of an early election makes it uncertain any of these measures will ever become law.
9:15 a.m.
Britain is getting out an ornate royal carriage and a diamond-studded crown for the State Opening of Parliament, a mix of ceremony and politics overshadowed by the looming Brexit deadline.
Queen Elizabeth II is due at Parliament to deliver a speech written by the government outlining its legislative plans.
This year’s speech is surrounded by the uncertainty of Britain’s delayed exit from the European Union. It is set to include a bill to ratify a withdrawal agreement with the EU — but no such agreement has yet been made.
It also includes sweeping domestic promises on law and order, health care and environmental protection that the government may never get to implement. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative administration lacks a majority in Parliament, and an election looks likely within the next few months, whether or not Britain leaves the EU as scheduled on Oct. 31.
9:15 a.m.
German authorities say the country’s exports to Britain dropped 4.6% in the first seven months of 2019 compared with a year earlier, continuing a downward trend since British voters chose to leave the European Union in 2016.
The Federal Statistical Office said Monday that Germany exported goods worth 47.1 billion euros ($52 billion) to the U.K. between January and July. British exports to Germany were worth 21.3 billion euros — a 3.7% decline in year-on-year terms.
In the January-July period, Britain was Germany’s No. 7 trading partner overall. In 2015, the year before the Brexit referendum, it was No. 5. The statistics office said that German exports to Britain climbed steadily from 2010 to 2015 but then dropped. It said exports of cars and auto parts have declined strongly.
8:45 a.m.
The British government says it will deliver its annual budget on Nov. 6, a week after the country is due to leave the European Union.
Treasury chief Sajid Javid said “the first budget after leaving the EU” will set out “our plan to shape the economy for the future.”
It’s unclear, however, whether the U.K. will leave the EU as scheduled on Oct. 31. Talks on a last-minute divorce deal are continuing, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the country will quit the bloc at the end of this month, with or without a withdrawal agreement.
But lawmakers in Parliament say the government must ask the EU to delay if a no-deal Brexit is the only other option.
Opposition Labour Party finance spokesman John McDonnell called the budget announcement “an electioneering stunt.”
7:20 a.m.
Ireland says that a Brexit deal may be possible in the coming days, after technical teams from Britain and the European Union worked through the weekend.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in Luxembourg that “a deal is possible, and it is possible this month. May be possible this week. But we are not there yet.”
Coveney insisted it was essential to give the negotiators time to iron out the remaining difficulties which largely center on the border between Ireland and the U.K.’s Northern Ireland.
He added that “there is still a lot of work to do.”

EU leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday to see whether a deal is possible ahead of the Brexit deadline of Oct. 31.  (AP News)