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House of Commons

Tuesday 23 November 2004

The House met at twenty-six minutes past Eleven o'clock


[Mr. Speaker in the Chair]

Message to attend Her Majesty:

The House went; and having returned:

The sitting was suspended until half-past Two o'clock, and then resumed.

2.30 pm

On resuming—

Speaker's Statement

Mr. Speaker: As the House will recall, it was decided earlier this month to dispense with most of the Sessional Orders. In their place, it was agreed that the Speaker should make a brief statement about the duties and responsibilities of Members. I am grateful to the Standards and Privileges Committee for its advice and suggestions.

Our privileges allow us to conduct our debate without fear of outside interference. In particular, we enjoy freedom of speech, both in proceedings in Committee and debates on the Floor of the House. It is a privilege that comes with our membership since the Bill of Rights. This is one of a number of great privileges that we should all seek to preserve.
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It is up to each one of us to ensure that we, both as individuals and collectively, do not abuse the rights that we have been given. They should only be exercised in the public interest. We must ensure that we follow the letter and spirit of the code of conduct and related rules which we have approved to regulate our business.

Each Member is here to represent the views of his or her constituents and to participate in the process of democracy that we all cherish. It is the hallmark of our procedures that every Member has the right to speak and to be listened to. We should ensure that every Member is heard with the respect to which we are all entitled, regardless of the views that are being expressed.

Every member of the public has the right to expect that his or her Member of Parliament will behave with civility, in the best traditions of fairness, with the highest level of probity and with integrity. Their views are influenced by our behaviour here and if we are to maintain and increase public support, we should bear it in mind that how we behave in this House has a substantial bearing on the levels of confidence and trust which others have in us.

Mr. Desmond Swayne (New Forest, West) (Con): Bring back the Sessional Orders!

Mr. Speaker: Order. No one listened to me when I delivered the Sessional Orders.

I turn now to security, not only for Members of Parliament, but also for our staff and for the staff of this House, who work so hard on our behalf. In the coming months, further security measures will be put in place to ensure that this House remains a safe and secure place in which to conduct our business. In this respect, Members would not expect me to go into detail, but these measures must ensure that the House of Commons continues in its tradition of welcoming the maximum number of visitors, both from home and abroad.

I expect every Member of this House to co-operate fully with those officials who are responsible for ensuring our security.
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Before the Clerk gives the customary First Reading to the Outlawries Bill, I must put to the House the Sessional Order to the Metropolitan Police. We will continue to pass this Order until we have the new legislation, which the Government have promised, about demonstrations—[Interruption.] Order. We will continue to pass this Order until we have the new legislation, which the Government have promised the Speaker, about demonstrations and security around Parliament.


Metropolitan Police



A Bill for the more effectual preventing Clandestine Outlawries was read the First time, and ordered to be read a Second time.

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Queen's Speech

Mr. Speaker: I have to acquaint the House that this House has this day attended Her Majesty in the House of Peers, and that Her Majesty was pleased to make a Most Gracious Speech from the Throne to both Houses of Parliament, of which I have, for greater accuracy, obtained a copy.

I shall direct that the terms of the Gracious Speech be printed in the Votes and Proceedings. Copies are available in the Vote Office.

The Gracious Speech was as follows:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

My Government will continue to pursue policies which entrench economic stability and promote growth and prosperity.

My Government will continue to reform the public services to ensure they provide more security and opportunity for all.

My Government attaches the highest importance to extending educational opportunity so that all individuals can realise their full potential and the country can benefit from the talents of all its people. A Bill will be introduced to streamline the regime of school inspections to help raise standards for every child in every school.

A Bill will be introduced to extend financial support for 16 to 19 year olds engaged in training and education.

My Government recognises that we live in a time of global uncertainty with an increased threat from international terrorism and organised crime. Measures to extend opportunity will be accompanied by legislation to increase security for all.

My Government will legislate to introduce an identity cards scheme, and will publish proposals to support the continuing fight against terrorism in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Legislation will be introduced to establish the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and the powers the police and others have to fight crime will be strengthened. In particular, the Bill will introduce new measures to deal with harassment by animal rights extremists.

My Government will introduce legislation to tackle the problem of drug abuse and the crime that flows from it, and will tackle the disorder and violence that can arise from the abuse of alcohol.

My Government has always recognised the importance of clean and safe neighbourhoods. There will be further legislation to tackle anti-social behaviour.

A Bill will be introduced to help to reduce further the numbers of those killed or injured on the roads.

My Government will bring forward legislation to reduce re-offending by improving the management of offenders.

A draft Bill will be published to tackle juvenile crime through more effective rehabilitation and sentencing.

Legislation will be introduced to reform the criminal defence service, making better use of legal aid resources. A draft Bill will be published to support those with legitimate civil claims and reform the system of tribunals.

A draft Bill will be published to introduce a new offence of corporate manslaughter.
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My Government will continue to take action to secure high levels of employment as it reforms the welfare state.

My Government will continue to provide protection from discrimination and exploitation.

Legislation will be introduced to combat discrimination in the provision of goods and services on the grounds of religion, as well as race, sex and disability. A single Commission for Equality and Human Rights will be established.

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