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House of Commons

Thursday 1 November 1990

The House met at half-past Nine o'clock


[Mr. Speaker-- in the Chair ]

Message to attend the Lords Commissioners :

The House went :--and, having returned :

Royal Assent

10.7 am

Mr. Speaker : I have to acquaint the House that the House has been to the House of Peers where a Commission under the Great Seal was read, authorising the Royal Assent to the following Acts : Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990

Employment Act 1990

Landlord and Tenant (Licensed Premises) Act 1990

Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990 Courts and Legal Services Act 1990

Broadcasting Act 1990

Environmental Protection Act 1990

Caldey Island Act 1990

City of Dundee District Council Order Confirmation Act 1990 Zetland Masonic Sick and Widows and Orphans Fund Order Confirmation Act 1990

London Local Authorities (No. 2) Act 1990

Port of Tyne Act 1990

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Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech

Mr. Speaker : I have further to acquaint the House that the Lord High Chancellor, one of the Lord Commissioners, delivered Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, in pursuance of Her Majesty's Command. For greater accuracy, I have obtained a copy and also directed that the terms of the speech be printed in the Votes and Proceedings. Copies are being made available in the Vote Office.

The Gracious Speech was as follows :

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased to receive the State Visits of His Excellency the President of the Republic of India and Mrs. Venkataraman in April and his Excellency the President of the Italian Republic in October.

We recall with pleasure our visit to New Zealand in February for the 150th anniversary of the Waitangi treaty and for the Commonwealth games. We remember with satisfaction our State Visit to Iceland in June, followed by a visit I made to Canada.

My Government have played a full and vigorous part in the actions taken by the United Nations and the international community to bring about the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait and the restoration of that country's independence and legitimate government. They have responded quickly to requests by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Governments of the region to contribute to their defence. They have made clear their determination that this act of aggression will not be allowed to succeed.

My Government have welcomed continuing progress towards economic and political reform in the Soviet Union and the far-reaching political changes which have taken place in most eastern European countries.

My Government have welcomed the changes in the German Democratic Republic. They have played a constructive part in the preparation for the unification of Germany and the ending of the four party rights and responsibilities.

My Government have maintained a sound defence based on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. They have played a full part in the process of adapting NATO to the new circumstances in Europe set in hand at the meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government in London in July.

My Government have continued to work for balanced and verifiable arms control agreements. They have played a full part in the negotiations on reducing conventional forces in Europe and in the talks in Geneva on the abolition of chemical weapons. My Government played an important part in the Fourth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty.

My Government have continued to work actively for the completion of the single European market. They have made proposals relating to the forthcoming intergovernmental conference for economic and monetary union. They played a full part in the Community and wider international response to economic and political reform in eastern Europe and in multilateral negotiations to liberalise international trade.

They have, with our European partners, concluded a fourth Lome agreement.

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My Government have welcomed the independence of Namibia and its membership of the Commonwealth. In South Africa there has been welcome progress towards the end of apartheid.

My Government have maintained a substantial and effective overseas aid programme to assist developing countries.

My Government welcomed the extension of democratic government in Latin America. They were pleased to re-establish diplomatic relations with Argentina and Iran.

My Government have continued their sustained efforts to combat terrorism in the United Kingdom and overseas. They welcomed the recent release of hostages from Lebanon and have continued their efforts to secure the release of all Britons held hostage or detained in the middle east.

My Government convened the world ministerial drugs summit in April, and have given practical support to other Governments, particularly in Colombia. They have concluded agreements to confiscate drug traffickers' funds with seven Governments.

My Government hosted the second meeting of parties to the Montreal protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer in June, at which a significant strengthening of controls was agreed.

Members of the House of Commons

I thank you for the provision which you have made for the honour and dignity of the Crown and for the public service.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

My Government have continued to pursue firm financial policies necessary for sustained economic growth. To reinforce these anti-inflationary policies, they have brought the pound sterling into the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system. They have made a public sector debt repayment for the third successive year, reducing Government debt to levels not seen since the first world war. National output has continued to grow and living standards to increase. The number of people in employment has risen further. As part of my Government's programme to improve the performance of the economy and encourage saving, legislation has been enacted to allow the introduction of tax exempt special savings accounts and to abolish the composite rate of tax and stamp duty on share transactions. The independent taxation of married women has come into effect.

The 10 water and sewerage companies in England and Wales have been sold, continuing my Government's programme of encouraging greater industrial efficiency and wider share ownership.

An Act has been passed to provide new powers to control pollution and waste, and also to reorganise nature conservation in Great Britain.

A White Paper has been published providing Britain's first comprehensive survey of all aspects of environmental concern, and setting out a strategy for the environment over the next decade.

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An Act has been passed to improve aviation and maritime security. Legislation has been enacted to make further reforms in industrial relations and trade union law.

Legislation has been enacted to improve maintenance arrangements for lone parents, to give better protection for members of occupational pension schemes and to begin changing the structure of disability benefits.

An Act has been passed to improve the national health service and the management of community care.

An Act has been passed to institute a legal framework for scientific developments in human fertilisation and embryology. An Act has been passed to improve the administration of civil justice and increase choice in the provision of legal services. An Act has been passed to strengthen the law on food safety and consumer protection.

Legislation has been enacted to supplement students' grants with loans.

My Government have worked to restore confidence in Hong Kong, building on the Sino-British joint agreement. My Government have passed an Act to encourage key Hong Kong personnel and their families to remain there by giving them the assurance of British citizenship, thereby helping to maintain the future stability and prosperity of the territory.

An Act has been passed to reform the framework for commercial broadcasting, providing for a wider choice while strengthening the oversight of programme standards.

An Act has been passed to enhance international co-operation in the investigation and prosecution of crime.

In Northern Ireland, my Government have continued their efforts to combat terrorism, to tackle the Province's political, social and economic problems and to work constructively within the framework of the Anglo-Irish agreement.

For Scotland, legislation has been enacted to create Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, to provide for the winding up of the new town development corporations and to effect certain law reform measures.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may attend you. Thereafter a Commission for proroguing the Parliament was read, after which the Lord Chancellor said :

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons : by virtue of Her Majesty's Commission which has now been read, we do, in Her Majesty's name, and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Wednesday the seventh day of this instant November, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Wednesday the seventh day of this instant November."

End of the Third Session (opened on 21 November 1989) of the Fiftieth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the Thirty-Ninth Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.

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