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When I saw the Youth Parliament sit in this Chamber in November last year, I could see how inspiring the future can be and how, as so many of us leave the House, we can be confident that there will be a new generation of extremely impressive young people who will come to this House. Meeting young people is generally the single most encouraging experience that most of us have as Members of Parliament. The Youth Parliament was a display of that a few months ago. It is something I will remember on leaving this House after such a long time in it.

I again pay tribute to all colleagues who have taken part, particularly my right hon. Friend the Member for North West Hampshire, to whom I must leave the last word in this debate.

4.28 pm

Sir George Young: With the leave of the House, may I add a very brief footnote to what the Leader and the shadow Leader have just said? When the three sponsors of this debate were successful in securing the debate, there was a lot of sucking of teeth in various quarters of the House. This was a dangerous innovation. It had never been done before and, I was told, it would literally end in tears.

I am very glad we went ahead with the debate for two reasons. First, it has provided a structured framework within which those who wished to make a farewell speech have been able to do so without shoehorning it into some other debate. There have been some excellent speeches and the next Parliament would do well to look at the advice that has been handed to them by those who have spoken.

The second reason is this: we have had a useful counterbalance to what happened this morning. This morning we had a very lively and, at times, bad-tempered, harshly worded debate. It would have been sad if the House had prorogued at that moment. I think this afternoon has provided a useful counterbalance to what happened this morning, and it has provided a more dignified, consensual end to a coalition Parliament.

I thank all those who have taken part in the debate. I hope that succeeding Parliaments might tread in our footsteps.

Question put and agreed to.


That this House has considered matters to be raised before the forthcoming dissolution.

Michael Connarty (Linlithgow and East Falkirk) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I echo the sentiments expressed by the retiring Member, the right hon. Member for North West Hampshire (Sir George Young).

Yesterday, while I was asking a question, you intervened, Mr Speaker, because a Conservative Member shouted, “SNP gain”. I could have said, “Well, that’s exactly what the Conservative Members want—more SNP Members down here”, but I did not respond because traditionally if a Member does not respond to a sedentary intervention, it does not get recorded. In fact, however, I find it was entered in Hansard in column 1429. I

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denied myself that political point, because I wanted to concentrate, as you know, on the serious question facing my constituents. Will you look at this matter again, Mr Speaker? It has been said that someone else referred to the incident three questions later and therefore it was entered into the record.

Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I understand that Hansard followed its usual policy to include an intervention from a sedentary position if it is commented upon in subsequent proceedings, as in this case. I note what the hon. Gentleman has said, but I am sure he will understand that we cannot take the matter further at this stage.

The sitting is suspended until 5 pm. Shortly before the sitting resumes, I shall cause the Division bells to be sounded.

4.31 pm

Sitting suspended (Order, 24 March).

Message to Attend the Lords Commissioners

5.6 pm

Message to attend the Lords Commissioners delivered by the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.

The Speaker, with the House, went up to hear Her Majesty’s Commission; on their return, the Speaker sat in the Clerk’s place at the Table.

Royal Assent

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:

Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) Act 2015

Finance Act 2015

International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015

Mutuals’ Deferred Shares Act 2015

House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Act 2015

Consumer Rights Act 2015

Specialist Printing Equipment and Materials (Offences) Act 2015

Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015

Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Act 2015

Deregulation Act 2015

Corporation Tax (Northern Ireland) Act 2015

Local Government (Review of Decisions) Act 2015

Control of Horses Act 2015

House of Commons Commission Act 2015

Recall of MPs Act 2015

Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

Local Government (Religious etc. Observances) Act 2015

Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015

Health Service Commissioner for England (Complaint Handling) Act 2015

Modern Slavery Act 2015

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Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech

Mr Speaker: I have further to acquaint the House that the Leader of the House of Lords, 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.

The Speech was as follows:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

My Government’s legislative programme has been founded on a long-term plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.

Legislation passed in this session will support economic growth and help secure a better future for Britain. New Acts will make the United Kingdom the most attractive place to start, finance and grow a business and reduce the burden of excessive regulation on businesses, individuals and the taxpayer.

Legislation was passed to establish a simple set of consumer rights to promote competitive markets and economic growth. In addition, a new Act will simplify the collection of National Insurance contributions from the self-employed.

The creation of a modern infrastructure is vital in order to support economic growth.

A new Act will guarantee long-term investment in the road network, ensure new homes will be built to a zero carbon standard, reform planning law and enhance the United Kingdom’s energy security.

My Government continues to promote legislation to enable the building of the High Speed Two railway line.

My Ministers have made it a priority to reform the criminal justice system.

New legislation on serious crime includes provision to tackle child neglect, disrupt organised crime and strengthen powers to seize the proceeds of crime.

An Act was passed to make wide-ranging reforms to the justice system, to protect the public and reduce reoffending.

Groundbreaking legislation was passed to strengthen the powers to prevent modern slavery and help stamp out human trafficking.

Legislation passed in this session will provide that where a person acts heroically, responsibly or for the benefit of others, this will be taken into account by the courts.

My Ministers attach the highest importance to safeguarding national security whilst maintaining civil liberties. To this end, legislation was passed to ensure that the law enforcement agencies retain the capabilities to protect the public. In recognition of the security situation, legislation was also passed to disrupt terrorism and tackle the extremism that risks drawing people into terrorism.

An Act was passed to improve the complaints system in the Armed Forces through the creation of an ombudsman.

It has been a priority for my Government to help build a fairer society.

Legislation was enacted which will help working families with their childcare costs and also reduce the cost of Stamp Duty Land Tax for ninety eight percent of people who pay the tax. To complement reforms begun earlier in

26 Mar 2015 : Column 1684 the Parliament, legislation passed in this session will allow for innovation in the private pensions market to give greater control to



My Ministers have taken forward a series of reforms to the constitution.

With regard to Parliament, Acts were passed to reform the House of Commons Commission, on the recall of Members of Parliament and to ensure that female Bishops sit in your Lordships’ House at the earliest opportunity.

My Ministers have pursued a programme of legislation to benefit people across the entire United Kingdom and have worked closely with the devolved administrations.

An Act was passed to enhance the devolution settlement in Wales and following the Stormont House agreement, legislation was enacted to devolve the power to set the rate of Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland.

Last year people in Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom, and draft legislation was published setting out further devolution to the Scottish Parliament.

The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased to welcome His Excellency the President of Singapore and his wife, and His Excellency the President of Mexico and his wife on their visits to the United Kingdom. We enjoyed a warm welcome on our visit to France which coincided with an invitation to attend the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

My Government has continued to pursue an active foreign policy, promoting British interests and values, and protecting British citizens abroad.

My Ministers contributed to a resolute NATO and European Union response to Russian actions in Ukraine. Through the NATO Summit in Wales, they achieved agreement on enhancing the Alliance’s rapid deployment capability to protect the United Kingdom’s allies.

The United Kingdom has been at the heart of the international coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy terrorism in the Middle East.

It has been a priority of my Ministers to reach an international agreement on practical steps to tackle the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. My Government has led the international response to Ebola in Sierra Leone, helping to bring the disease under control.

My Ministers have continued to promote and foster British trade and investment around the world to support the prosperity of the United Kingdom. They have also supported British nationals through modern and efficient consular services.

In Europe, my Ministers continue to work for reform to secure a European Union that is flexible, more accountable, and better able to compete in the global economy.

Members of the House of Commons, I thank you for the provisions which you have made for the work and dignity of the Crown and for the public services.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

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


Mr Speaker: The Commission was also for proroguing this present Parliament, and the Leader of the House of Lords said:

“My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

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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 Monday the thirtieth day of this instant March to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Monday the thirtieth day of this instant March.”

26 Mar 2015 : Column 1686

End of the Fourth Session (opened on 4 June 2014) of the Fifty-Fifth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Sixty-Fourth Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.