Prorogation: Her Majesty’s Speech

3.34 pm

Her Majesty’s most gracious Speech was then delivered to both Houses of Parliament by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in pursuance of Her Majesty’s Command, as follows.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, my Ministers’ first priority has been to reduce the deficit and restore economic stability. In pursuance of this aim legislation has been enacted to establish a new framework for financial regulation in the United Kingdom.

Legislation has been passed to encourage long-term growth and to simplify regulation. Provision has been made for a Green Investment Bank and to reform employment tribunals. Legislation has been enacted to create a growth incentive for councils by enabling them to retain income from business rates and to provide a framework for the local administration of support for council tax. My Government has increased support to business and is expanding or opening diplomatic missions where commercial opportunities are greatest.

My Government has promoted investment in infrastructure. Legislation was enacted to authorise expenditure for a scheme to provide financial support for key infrastructure projects, as was legislation aimed at promoting economic growth and encouraging new infrastructure projects.

Legislation was passed to modernise the regulatory framework for civil aviation in the United Kingdom and to charge large heavy goods vehicles using the road network. For operators registered in the United Kingdom, the new charge will be offset by reductions to vehicle excise duty.

Measures have been passed to establish an independent adjudicator to ensure supermarkets deal fairly and lawfully with suppliers. In recognition of the valuable work carried out by charitable organisations, legislation was passed to reduce burdens on charities, enabling them to claim additional payments on small donations.

With regard to the justice system, legislation was enacted to establish the National Crime Agency to tackle serious organised crime and to strengthen border security. Measures were also enacted to reform the courts to increase efficiency, transparency and judicial diversity.

My Government attaches the highest importance to ensuring the security of the nation and upholding the rule of law. Measures have been passed to strengthen oversight of the security and intelligence agencies. This legislation included provision to allow courts, through the limited use of closed proceedings, to hear a greater range of evidence in national security cases.

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Legislation was also enacted to protect freedom of speech and reform the law of defamation to ensure that a fairer balance is struck between freedom of expression and the protection of reputation. Reform of the public services continues to be a priority for my Ministers. Legislation has been enacted to reform public service pensions in line with the recommendations of the independent commission on this matter.

My Government worked in co-operation with their counterparts in the 15 other Commonwealth Realms and legislation has been passed in the United Kingdom to reform the rules governing the succession to the Crown.

Legislation was also enacted to introduce individual registration of electors and improve the administration of elections.

In this Session of Parliament, my Ministers have also endeavoured to publish draft legislation in order that it may be scrutinised by Parliament prior to the formal legislative process.

My Ministers have continued to work to foster a strong working relationship with the devolved Administrations.

My Government has promoted global security, supporting efforts to achieve a political solution in Syria; helping French and African forces in Mali; and promoting Afghan peace and reconciliation efforts.

Several measures have been passed in relation to the European Union, including legislation relating to the financial stability mechanism within the euro area and on the accession of Croatia to the European Union.

My Government has given a commitment to invest 0.7% of national income on official development assistance.

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In the year of the Diamond Jubilee we were pleased to attend celebrations in all parts of the United Kingdom. I was touched by the great kindness shown in this country and throughout the Commonwealth. The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased that members of the Royal Family were able to mark the Jubilee year by undertaking a series of visits to many Commonwealth countries and British Overseas Territories where they were welcomed so warmly.

The Duke of Edinburgh and I were delighted to greet so many visiting Heads of State and Government during the Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted in London. We were also glad to welcome His Highness the Emir of Kuwait and His Excellency the President of the Republic of Indonesia on their visits to the United Kingdom.

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.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford): My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, by virtue of Her Majesty’s Commission which has been now read, we do, in Her Majesty’s name, and in obedience to Her Majesty’s Commands, prorogue this Parliament to the 8th day of May, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Wednesday, the 8th day of May.

Parliament was prorogued at 3.42 pm.