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MP praises rich 'Christian heritage' underpinning King's Speech

by Will Hobbs

Christian and Conservative MP Gary Streeter has described the King's Speech as 'steeped in Christian tradition', and a 'celebration of the nation's Christian heritage'. 

It's as Britain's government set out its plans to tackle crime, boost growth and water down climate change measures on Tuesday, an unashamedly political agenda that could be Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's first and last King's Speech before an election.

"Thinking back to the coronation", Streeter told Premier, "when the king received his authority, if you like, from on high. And all through his journey from the moment he sits in the robing room to processing through some of the magnificent rooms in the House of Lords and sitting on the golden throne - there's all kinds of Christian wording, Bible verses, beautiful pictures, which will be guiding his journey, which will be symbolic of our heritage guiding our country."

Sir Gary, who will retire before the next State Opening of Parliament, after 31 years at Wesminster as MP of Southwest Devon, says the speech was not designed to have a great bearing on the next election, as most of what he believes his party needs to get right are things they've already promised. 

"I mean, the reality is, over the next 12 months, the most important thing the government's got to do is to deliver on its promises; a vibrant economy so people can flourish and work hard and it will be rewarded and so on and get inflation under control, get the NHS back on track, deal with public sector debt - none of that needs legislation.

"So what we're seeing today will be sort of, if you like, important steps along the journey of the next 12 months, but none of it will really determine the outcome of the next general election. That's all about will the government finally deliver after two years of noises off and a bit of a circus with, you know, Boris, and all that. And that's the job that Rishi has got before him. And it won't be easy.

In the speech, Britain's government set out its plans to tackle crime, boost growth and water down climate change measures on Tuesday.

It was the first time Charles had made the speech as king - though he stood in for his mother Queen Elizabeth II months before her death last year - in a ceremony marked by pomp and pageantry which also attracted a loud, if small, anti-monarchy protest outside parliament.

Arriving at parliament from Buckingham Palace in a grand carriage procession, he then led a ceremony, with some of its traditions traced back to the 16th century, that delivers the government's agenda in line with Britain's unusual constitutional division of executive powers.

With Labour running way ahead in the opinion polls, Sunak's team is hoping that his agenda will close the gap by reducing what he says is the burden of Britain's climate change targets on households and by toughening sentences for violent offenders.

There was little new in the King's Speech, more a collection of what Sunak has worked on since becoming prime minister last year on a pledge to bring stability after two leaders of his Conservative party were forced from power in a matter of weeks.

"My government will, in all respects, seek to make long-term decisions in the interests of future generations," Charles, wearing the Imperial State Crown and Robe of State, told a hushed audience of lawmakers in the upper house of parliament.

"By taking these long-term decisions, my government will change this country and build a better future."

Additional reporting by Reuters.


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