Home Page

Column 1633

House of Commons

Thursday 3 November 1994

The House met at half-past Nine o'clock


[ Madam Speaker-- in the Chair]

Message to attend the Lords Commissioners:

The House went:-- and, having returned:

Royal Assent

10.9 am

Madam 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 and proroguing this present Parliament:

Sale of Goods (Amendment) Act 1994

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

Marriage Act 1994

Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994

Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994

Drug Trafficking Act 1994

European Union (Accessions) Act 1994

Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994

Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994

University of London Act 1994

Column 1634


Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech

Madam 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 Journal. 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 Zimbabwe in May and of their Majesties The King and Queen of Norway in July.

The Duke of Edinburgh and I remember with pleasure our visit to several Commonwealth Caribbean countries and Bermuda in the spring. We were pleased to visit France to inaugurate, with the President of the French Republic, the Channel Tunnel in May and to attend the ceremonies to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Normandy Landings in June. We were also pleased to visit Canada to attend the Commonwealth Games in August. We recall with pleasure our state visit to Russia last month.

My Government have continued to make provision for the defence of the United Kingdom and our allies and the promotion of international peace and stability, including a substantial contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and to United Nations operations. Recently, my Government have deployed forces to help to defend Kuwait against a threat of invasion by Iraq.

My Government have continued to fight terrorism in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

My Government continued to play a full part, both bilaterally (in particular through the Know How Fund) and with partners in supporting the post-communist states of Europe and Asia in their response to the historic challenge of political and economic transformation. My Government welcomed the conclusion of the accession negotiations for Norway, Sweden, Finland and Austria to join the European Union, and the positive results of the referenda held so far in two of the applicant countries. My Government continued to work to bring the countries of Central and Eastern Europe into a closer relationship with the European Union. My Government welcomed the successful conclusion of the GATT Uruguay Round of trade negotiations.

My Government worked for progress on the European Union's priority action plan on justice and home affairs and made a number of proposals for further co-operation in this field. My Government worked with our European partners to ensure the effective implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy under the Treaty on European Union. In December 1993 my Government launched an initiative jointly with the Italian Government to involve the six Central and Eastern European countries which have Europe Agreements with the European Union

Column 1635

more closely in the work of the two intergovernmental pillars. My Government welcomed the Commission's report on subsidiarity to the Brussels European Council.

My Government have continued to work for a peaceful settlement to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. My Government made a substantial contribution to international efforts to provide humanitarian relief to all those in need, particularly through the deployment of troops with the United Nations Protection Force. My Government have pledged substantial aid to the Republic of South Africa following the holding of free elections and the establishment of a Government of national unity. My Government were pleased at South Africa's rejoining the Commonwealth after an absence of over thirty years.

My Government continued to seek to co-operate with China over all issues related to a smooth transfer of sovereignty in 1997 in the best interests of the people of Hong Kong.

My Government responded to the horrifying situation which arose in Rwanda by providing humanitarian relief, and have contributed troops and other support to the United Nations Force in Rwanda.

An Act has been passed to place the Secret Intelligence Service and the Government Communications Headquarters on a statutory basis, and to make provision for their oversight and that of the Security Service by a committee of Parliamentarians.

Members of the House of Commons

I thank you for the provision 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 pursued firm financial policies which have allowed the recovery to broaden and strengthen while reducing inflation to its lowest level for a generation.

My Government have brought together tax and expenditure decisions in a Unified Budget. Measures have been introduced to ensure that the budget deficit is brought back towards balance over the medium term. Steps have been taken to help business, to promote investment, and to improve the training and education of the workforce. My Government have successfully implemented a range of substantial measures to help our exporters win in world markets.

My Government have put forward proposals in the Green Paper on Resource Accounting and Budgeting for all departments to publish departmental resource accounts drawn up on commercial accounting principles by 1999, and for resource accounting subsequently to form the basis of the Public Expenditure Survey, to improve both the management

Column 1636

of public spending and accountability for taxpayers' money. My Government have published a White Paper on the Civil Service. Legislation has been passed to remove unnecessary regulatory burdens, to facilitate the process of deregulation in the future and to remove obstacles to contracting out in central and local government.

An Act has been passed which reforms the laws governing Sunday trading in England and Wales by allowing all small shops to open all day on Sundays and most larger shops to open for six hours. Legislation has been passed to transfer the costs of Statutory Sick Pay to employers, whose National Insurance contributions have been reduced to meet those costs. An Act has also been passed to restructure the long term Incapacity Benefit from April 1995. Legislation has been passed to enable British Coal to be privatised; and to modernise the law on trade marks and improve protection against their misuse.

An Act has been passed to improve the organisation and management of the police so that they are better able to combat crime; and to strengthen the administration of magistrates' courts.

Legislation has been passed to allow the courts to deal more effectively with young offenders and to make a wide range of other improvements in the criminal law and the criminal justice system. An Act has been passed to enable the establishment of a Teacher Training Agency and to reform student unions.

Legislation has been enacted to reform local government in Scotland and Wales.

In Northern Ireland my Government have welcomed the ceasefires announced by the IRA and anti-nationalist paramilitaries. They have maintained progress towards a comprehensive political settlement, through discussions with the main constitutional parties, with the Irish Government, and through the Joint Declaration. They have worked to improve social and economic conditions.

My Government have made the first use of a new Parliamentary procedure for uncontroversial law reform, introducing measures recommended by the Law Commission to simplify and clarify the law of property.

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 sixteenth day of this instant November, to be then here holden and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Wednesday the sixteenth day of this instant November."

End of the Second Session (opened on 18 November 1993) of the Fifty-First Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the Forty-Second Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.

Written Answers Section

  Home Page