Henry Nicholls Agence France-Presse “Eager” to perpetuate the legacy of his “beloved mother », Elizabeth II, King Charles III took part on Tuesday in this ritual of British political life which formally opens the parliamentary session, with arrival by carriage, golden throne and ceremonial outfits.
For the first time as king, Charles III delivered the Throne Speech to the British parliament on Tuesday, in which Rishi Sunak's Conservative government sought to present a “long-term” vision in the run-up to the election.
“Anxious” to perpetuate the legacy of his “beloved mother”, Elizabeth II, Charles took part in this ritual of British political life which formally opens the parliamentary session, with arrival by carriage, golden throne and outfits ceremonial. He had already done so as heir in May 2022, delivering the previous speech from the throne on behalf of the queen, whose health was declining.
Charles III, who celebrates his 75th birthday in November, was greeted at the Palace of Westminster by dozens of protesters chanting “Not my king! and “What a waste! », unimaginable remarks under Elizabeth II.
After the COVID-19 outbreak and the war in Ukraine contributed to the severe cost of living crisis hitting the UK, “my government's priority is to make the difficult but necessary long-term decisions to change this country”, declared the monarch in this speech prepared by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
This first speech will perhaps be the last of Rishi Sunak, who tried to bring back a little stability after the scandals of the Boris Johnson era and Liz Truss's 49 eventful days in Downing Street, but he is struggling to breathe new life into the legislative elections planned for next year.
The Conservatives, in power for almost 14 years, are well behind in the polls by the Labor opposition, led by his rival Keir Starmer.
< p>This ten-minute speech, whose political content usually remains vague and general, therefore constituted one of the last chances for him to give an idea of the course taken to reverse the trend.
Through the voice of the king, the 43-year-old former Minister of Finance and investment banker repeated his desire to fight inflation, lower household bills, but also to train more doctors and nurses and to gradually ban the sale of cigarettes.
Wanting to look to the future, Rishi Sunak, who entered Downing Street a little over a year ago, also wants to create “new frameworks legal” for autonomous vehicles and encourage innovation, particularly in artificial intelligence.
He also gave pledges to the right wing of the Conservative Party by proposing to toughen sanctions against murderers and sex offenders and by strengthening the powers of the police and the courts to fight against “cybercrime or the exploitation of children “.
Resources for carbon neutrality
As outlined on Monday, a bill “will support the licensing of new oil and gas fields to help the country achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 without adding excessive burdens to households.” , declared the king without blinking, he who is known for his long-standing commitment to the defense of the environment.
This decision, taken in the name of energy security, is strongly criticized by environmental activists, who have been mobilizing since the beginning of November against new hydrocarbon exploitation projects at the call of the Just Stop Oil organization.
Unsurprisingly, these projects have been very criticized by the opposition during the parliamentary debate which followed the speech, with the leader of the Labor Party, Keir Starmer, castigating a government which promises “always the same thing, more plastering, more divisions”.
For Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, the government has “failed to respond to the cost of living crisis”, the first concern of the British, to whom the executive “in summary tells […] to accept their fate.”