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Queen's speech pledges faster deficit cut, 'freedom bill'

'Philip, what do they mean by constitutional change?'

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The Queen has opened Parliament, detailing the coalition's first legislative programme and setting the scene for deep cuts and unprecedented political bartering.

No further cuts were announced following yesterday's initial £6.2bn pruning, but the Monarch did confirm the ConDems will speed up their deficit reduction programme. She said the timetable for the planned rise in the state pension age to 66 by 2024 will be reviewed, which could save billions.

The Queen also confirmed ID cards will be scrapped and the rest of the draft list of 21 bills that was leaked to Sunday papers. "Unnecessary laws" will be repealed and civil liberties restored. The "Freedom Bill" will place tighter restrictions on the National DNA Database and regulate CCTV.

Only one extra piece of legislation not in the leaked draft appeared in the final Queen's Speech, to allow the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail.

She confirmed two infrastructure priorities will be supported: the rollout of high speed broadband and high speed rail links.

Major changes are planned to the UK's largely unwritten constitution. There will be legislation for fixed-term Parliaments, referendums for the alternative Vote system in the Commons and an elected upper House, and further devolution in Wales and Scotland.

The first session of the new Parliament is expected to run until autumn next year. ®

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