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House of Commons

Tuesday 30 October 2007

The House met at half-past Eleven o’clock


[Mr. Speaker in the Chair]

Royal Assent

11.41 am

Message to attend the Lords Commissioners:

The House went;—and having returned:

Mr. Speaker (in the Clerk’s place at the Table): 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 a measure:

Serious Crime Act 2007

Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007

Legal Services Act 2007

UK Borders Act 2007

Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure 2007

30 Oct 2007 : Column 630


Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech

Mr. Speaker: I have further to acquaint the House that the Lord President of the Council, one of the Lords 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 of this House. Copies are being made available in the Vote Office:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

My Government has pursued policies aimed at meeting the challenges which the United Kingdom faces at home and abroad.

A stable economy is the foundation of a fair and prosperous society. My Government has secured low inflation, sound public finances and high employment.

My Government has taken further action to provide strong, secure and stable communities, and to address the threat of terrorism.

My Government has put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system, supported the police and all those responsible for the public’s safety, and proceeded with the development of identity cards.

Legislation has been brought forward for the next stage of reform of the criminal justice system, giving the police and local authorities new powers to protect the public from violent offenders and anti-social behaviour.

Legislation has been enacted to make it easier to prosecute organisations when their gross negligence leads to death.

Legislation has been enacted to improve the way that offenders are managed and supervised.

Legislation has been enacted to give law enforcement agencies new powers to combat serious and organised crime.

An Act has been passed to improve the administration of justice by reforming the tribunal system, the qualifications for judicial appointment and the enforcement of judgements.

An Act has been passed to reform the regulation and delivery of legal services to enable greater competition and innovation in the sector and to better serve the public and consumer interest.

My Government has worked, including with European Union partners, to deliver international action on climate security, and access to the sustainable and affordable energy supplies necessary for our prosperity and security.

My Government has published a draft Bill on climate change to create a long-term legal framework to reduce the United Kingdom’s carbon dioxide emissions up to 2050 and beyond.

My Government has continued to invest in and reform the public services in order to improve further their effectiveness and to help the most vulnerable members of society.

Legislation has been enacted to simplify the benefits system for those whose health affects their capacity for work, to reform the welfare system, and to reduce poverty.

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Legislation has been brought forward to improve the system of child maintenance, and to provide assistance to people suffering from mesothelioma who are ineligible under the current scheme.

An Act has been passed to provide for long-term reform of pensions.

Legislation has been enacted to provide for free off-peak local bus travel anywhere in England for older and disabled people.

My Government’s programme of educational reform has continued to raise standards in schools to help all children achieve their full potential.

An Act has been passed to reform the further education system so that it can better equip people with the skills that they and the economy need.

My Government has continued to modernise and reform healthcare — ensuring that patients get a better service — whilst retaining the founding principles of the National Health Service.

An Act has been passed to provide a better framework for treating people with mental disorders.

Draft legislation has been published to reform the regulation of human embryology.

A draft Bill has been published to tackle road congestion and to improve public transport.

My Government has published proposals to reform the planning system.

An Act has been passed to provide for improved arrangements for consumer advocacy and handling of consumer complaints against utility companies and estate agents.

My Government has also continued its programme of reform to provide institutions that better serve a modern democracy, and has worked to build a consensus on reform of the House of Lords.

My Government has published a Draft Legislative Programme.

Legislation has been enacted to provide for reform of local government and enhanced powers for the Mayor and Assembly for London.

Legislation has been enacted to create an independent board to promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good.

Other important measures have been enacted.

Members of the House of Commons

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

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

My Government continues to work closely with the devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales.

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My Government has secured the restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland, and worked closely with the cross-party administration since May 2007. I am grateful to Lords and Members of the House of Commons for their essential contribution to this process in passing two Acts under emergency procedures and a Justice and Security Act for Northern Ireland.

The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased to pay a State visit to the United States of America in May 2007 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement. We were also pleased to visit the Netherlands in February 2007 and Belgium in July 2007. We were pleased to receive the President of Ghana and Mrs Kufuor in March 2007.

My Government remains committed to peace in the Middle East. It has continued to work to find a lasting settlement between Israel and the Palestinians based on two states existing alongside each other in peace and security, to support the new Iraqi Government in its efforts to build an enduring constitutional settlement, and to assist the Government of Afghanistan.

My Government has worked with the United Nations and European Union partners to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, including addressing international concerns over North Korea and Iran, and to promote good governance.

My Government has worked to build an effective and globally competitive European Union and to strengthen the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

My Government has continued to contribute to a modern and inclusive United Nations and worked to achieve a new World Trade agreement.

My Government has maintained and strengthened its focus on Africa, and has secured increased international support for a resolution to the crisis in Darfur.

My Government has continued to work to foster a strong partnership between Europe and the United States of America in order to meet these objectives.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.

A Commission was also read for proroguing this present Parliament, and the Lord President said:

End of the Second Session (opened on 15 November 2006) of the Fifty-Fourth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the Fifty-Sixth Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.

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