Great Britain

The Queen's speech: what she said – and what Boris Johnson (who wrote it) really meant

What the Queen said: My government’s priority is to deliver the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on 31 January. 

What Boris Johnson meant: Get Brexit Done.

What she said: My ministers will bring forward legislation to ensure the United Kingdom’s exit on that date and to make the most of the opportunities that this brings for all the people of the United Kingdom.

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What he meant: Unleash Britain’s Potential.

What she said: Thereafter, my ministers will seek a future relationship with the European Union based on a free trade agreement that benefits the whole of the United Kingdom. 

What he meant: It’s not quite ready to go in the proverbial popty ping, but you get the general idea. No one thinks I can get a long-term deal done in the time but they said that about me last time. 

What she said: The integrity and prosperity of the United Kingdom is of the utmost importance to my government. My ministers will work urgently to facilitate talks to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland.

What he meant: Yes, I am a bit worried about Scotland breaking away. Best if we ignore it and talk about Northern Ireland instead. 

What she said: My government will embark on an ambitious programme of domestic reform that delivers on the people’s priorities. 

What he meant: New Labour, New Britain.

What she said: For the first time, the National Health Service’s multi-year funding settlement, agreed earlier this year, will be enshrined in law.

What he meant: We’re even going to do that New Labour thing of passing laws that require us to do popular things. 

What she said: Steps will be taken to grow and support the National Health Service’s workforce.

What he meant: What could be more New Labour than to put “grow” as a transitive verb in the sovereign’s mouth?

What she said: My ministers will seek cross-party consensus on proposals for long term reform of social care. 

What he meant: Nothing will ever happen. Looking after old people will continue to be an underfunded lottery. 

What she said: A modern, fair, points-based immigration system will welcome skilled workers from across the world.

What he meant: We will cut immigration.

What she said: My government will take steps to support home ownership, including by making homes available at a discount for local first-time buyers. 

What he meant: Levels of home ownership will continue to fall. 

What she said: My government is committed to a fair justice system that keeps people safe. My ministers will establish a Royal Commission to review and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice process. 

What he meant: This is the bit I put in because of the terrorist murders on London Bridge. Royal Commission is politician-speak for “do nothing, slowly”. 

What she said: My government will invest in the country’s public services and infrastructure whilst keeping borrowing and debt under control.

What he meant: New Labour.

What she said: To ensure people can depend on the transport network, measures will be developed to provide for minimum levels of service during transport strikes.

What he meant: And a bit of old Tory union-bashing to distract from appalling train services.

What she said: My government will continue to take steps to meet the world-leading target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

What he meant: Some young people vote Tory, too. 

What she said: A Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission will be established. 

What he meant: Democracy will be abolished; all Supreme Court judges will be appointed by me; rights will be earned through a system of merit stars. 

What she said: Work will be taken forward to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

What he meant: Everyone agrees this is a terrible law, but people are having second thoughts now I’m the one abolishing it. 

What she said: My government will continue to invest in our gallant Armed Forces. 

What he meant: Gallant is a good Tory word that Jeremy Corbyn wouldn’t know how to spell. 

What she said: My government will work to promote and expand the United Kingdom’s influence in the world. 

What he meant: Yadda yadda. Any foreigners I failed to offend as foreign secretary I can now annoy from No 10.

What she said: Members of the House of Commons, estimates for the public services will be laid before you.

What he meant: It is time to turn on the Treasury taps and spend like Gordon Brown. 

What she said: My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, other measures will be laid before you.

What he meant: I have a majority of 80. I can do what I like.

What she said: I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.

What he meant: God help us all.