14 October 2019 15:53
The Queen's speech lays out the bills that the government will be introducing in the parliamentary session, before the Commons starts to debate its contents and moves to a vote to approve it. It is written by the prime minister, although delivered by the monarch, and is usually a relatively dispassionate list of government priorities. With Boris Johnson currently leading a minority government, it is very possible that the Commons will reject this list and make the resulting vote the prime minister's eighth consecutive loss since securing the top job. This makes the circumstances around this Queen's speech extremely unusual, and with an election likely in the near term, the opposition has said it is essentially a preview of the next Conservative election manifesto and not a meaningful programme for government. The Queen re-opens Parliament after a three-day suspension (Picture: AFP) The 65th Queen's Speech has re-opened Parliament setting out Boris Johnson's post-Brexit agenda, leaving just a few days for MPs to rush through a bill to secure a deal before the end of the month.
Written for the Queen by ministers, the ceremony marked the opening of a new parliamentary session, following two controversial prorogations called by the PM. Mr Johnson set out his domestic agenda in the speech – following a three day suspension of Parliament – which opened by insisting the 'government's priority has always been' to make sure the UK leaves the EU this year. During the speech, the Queen spoke of the importance of 'protecting the integrity of democracy and the electoral system', after outlining new policies which will prevent people from voting unless they carry photographic ID at polling stations. The speech also focused on cracking down on violent and foreign criminals, reforming adult social care and investing more money in the NHS. The Queen delivered the speech which included 26 bills (Picture: Reuters) The Imperial State Crown is carried in to the State Opening of Parliament (Picture: PA) The House of Lords is prepared for the State Opening of Parliament (Picture: AFP/Getty) Queen Elizabeth is transported in a carriage along The Mall ahead of the State Opening of Parliament (Picture: Getty) Mr Johnson hopes the first Queen's Speech of his premiership will 'restore confidence' in the UK justice system, after announcing the package of 26 bills, including seven relating to crime and justice.
The Queen also announced plans for investing in the NHS and strengthening environmental protections, as London enters its second week of Extinction Rebellion takeovers. Queen Elizabeth II reads the Queen's Speech on the The Sovereign's Throne in the House of Lords (Picture: AFP) Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn lead MPs from the Commons to hear the Queen's speech in the House of Lords (Picture: Rex) The Queen leaves, marking the end of the speech (Picture: Pete Maclaine/i-Images) Carrie Symonds and Stanley Johnson, the partner and father of Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Picture: PA) This is the first speech since June 21, 2017, as Theresa May called for a two-year Parliamentary session to have more time to prepare the country for Brexit and secure a deal. Mr Johnson will meet with EU officials in Brussels this week to finalise a Brexit deal ahead of the UK's planned departure on October 31. MPs are expected to start debating the speech within the next few hours, after Mr Johnson pitches his new policies to the House of Commons. Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner was one MP who refused to attend the Queen's Speech after he delivered a traditional heckle in the Commons. Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow (R) and Lady Usher of the Black Rod Sarah Clarke (L) process with members of parliament through the Peers Lobby into the House of Lords (Picture: AFP) Former prime minister Theresa May processes with members of parliament through the Peers Lobby (Picture: AFP) He appeared to mutter 'I'm not going', after Black Rod requested MPs' attendance in the House of Lords to hear the Queen's Speech, prompting laughter from both sides of the House of Commons. Ahead of the speech, Chancellor Sajid Javid announced he is planning to hold a Budget just six days after the UK's scheduled Brexit date. With no Commons majority, it is questionable how much of the proposed legislation in the Queen's Speech ministers can get through Parliament before a general election. Caption: Carrie Symonds, the partner of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, waiting for State Opening of Parliament to begin (Picture: PA) The Royal Gallery in the Houses of Parliament (Picture: Pete Maclaine/i-Images) The Queen's Speech, which usually takes place annually, allows the government to set out their political agenda for the next Parliamentary session. During the speech, the Queen announces laws the government wants Parliament to approve, which is televised from the House of Commons. Watch the Queen's Speech live here: Lady Usher of the Black Rod (Picture: AFP) It is part of the State Opening of Parliamentary ceremony, which starts with the Queen travelling in horse-drawn carriage – the Diamond Jubilee Coach – from Buckingham Palace to Westminster. Before departing for the occasion, Queen Elizabeth II would have received the speech, written by ministers, from the throne of the House of Lords. Before she arrived, the priceless Imperial State Crown and other regalia used in the ceremony was brought to Parliament in a separate heavily-guarded carriage. The Queen's, Imperial State Crown is carried into the Palace of Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament (Picture: AFP) The crown was made for King George VI's coronation in 1937, based on a crown designed for Queen Victoria in 1838. As the Queen made her way over, MPs were called to the House of Commons by Black Road – a House of Lords official. Queen's Speech 2019: What Boris Johnson plans to do now Parliament has reopened Mr Johnson unveiled 26 new bills focusing largely on crime and punishment and 'delivering Brexit' The Queen has delivered her speech that opened Parliament and outlined Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plans for the coming months in Government. With no Commons majority, it is debatable how much, if any, of the legislation tabled today will actually be passed through Parliament before the next general election. And there is a question mark over whether MPs will pass the Queen's Speech itself this week when it is put to a vote after several days of debate. But, nevertheless, Mr Johnson has put forward a plan which outlined 26 new bills he and his ministers intend to table throughout the next parliamentary year. Many have seen the speech as an opportunity for Mr Johnson to set out a ready-made manifesto outlining his domestic agenda ahead of a potential early election. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II delivers Boris Johnson's Queen's Speech (Photo: Getty Images) Law and order issues, immigration, Brexit, and the environment, were all major elements of the parliamentary programme. The Government introduced no less than seven bills relating to the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. It also outlined plans for a new Immigration and Social Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill which will end freedom of movement post-Brexit and introduce a points-based immigration system from 2021. The speech outlined seven pieces of legislation that related to tougher policies on crime and punishment. This included proposals to keep serious criminals in prison for longer and impose tougher sentences on foreign offenders who return to the UK. Mr Johnson has set out his new agenda (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images) One of these pieces of legislation - the Sentencing Bill - will change the automatic release point from halfway to two thirds for adult offenders serving sentences of four years or more for serious violence or sexual offences. Boris Johnson (L) Jeremy Corbyn (R) head the procession of members of parliament through the Peers Lobby into the House of Lords to listen to the Queen's Speech (Photo: Getty Images) The speech only contained one piece of legislation related to the environment. As well as outlining the Government's NHS long-term plan the speech proposed several pieces of legislation relating to health and social care. On adult social care, the Government has pledged to "bring forward proposals" for reform, but it did not outline a specific Bill relating to this plan.