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Queen outlines government plans

The Queen says her Government's legislative programme for the coming year will "continue to focus on building a strong economy", as she spoke at the State Opening of Parliament.

In scenes of pomp and ceremony in the House of Lords, she also set out plans to cap bills for social care and cut the regulation burden on small businesses.

But the traditional highlight of the parliamentary year risked being overshadowed by the shock announcement that Sir Alex Ferguson is resigning as manager of Manchester United.

Former Cabinet minister Peter Hain hailed the "nice timing" of the Labour-supporting football boss, predicting that Fergie's departure would "obliterate" the Government's plans from the news headlines. And backbench MP John Mann immediately called for Sir Alex to be made a peer.

But a Queen's Speech which was light on new policy - featuring 20 bills, including some in draft form or carried over from the previous session and others which are largely technical in scope - was anyway notable as much for what it omitted as what it included. 10)

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From Belfast Telegraph