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 laid the foundations for the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union while pursuing wide-ranging domestic reform.
Landmark legislation was passed, and has now been commenced, to repeal the European Communities Act. Other laws are in place to enable the United Kingdom’s smooth exit from the European Union, establishing new arrangements on international sanctions, nuclear safeguards, customs, and reciprocal healthcare arrangements. Over 600 Statutory Instruments have been made to ensure a functioning statute book following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.
The stability and strength of the union that joins England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has been at the forefront of my Government’s agenda. Preserving and promoting the social, economic and cultural bonds that unite this nation remains of the utmost importance to my Government. My Government continues to work to ensure that locally-accountable politicians can take decisions in Northern Ireland at the earliest opportunity.
It has been an enduring focus of my Government to strengthen the economy to support the creation of jobs and to generate the tax revenues needed to invest in the National Health Service, schools and other public services. Improving public finances, while keeping taxes low, has been a priority for my Government. Legislation passed this session has provided one hundred per cent relief from business rates for agricultural nurseries and, for a period of five years from April 2017, properties used for the purpose of new fibre infrastructure.
My Government has set out a programme of work to improve productivity and help businesses create high quality, well paid jobs across the United Kingdom. In 2019, more than a million workers benefited from the largest increase to the National Living Wage since it was first introduced. My ministers have worked to attract investment in infrastructure to support economic growth. Legislation has been passed to ensure that the United Kingdom remains a world leader in new industries, including electric cars and commercial satellites.
My Government has continued to support international action against climate change, including implementation of the Paris agreement. Recognising the need for bold steps to protect the planet, a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 was enshrined in law, making the United Kingdom the first major economy to do so.
Draft legislation was published which will establish a new body to ensure the United Kingdom’s high environmental standards are maintained and to protect and improve the environment for future generations. My Government has legislated to protect animals, including bans on the sale of ivory, puppies and kittens by commercial third parties and the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in England.
Voyeurism offences have been recognised as the crimes that they are and legislation has been passed to ensure the courts have powers to take swift action to protect children who are identified as at risk of female genital mutilation.
In presenting the long-term plan for the National Health Service in England, my Government strengthened its commitment to ensuring there is a world-class health system that supports everyone from birth, through the challenges that life brings, and into old age. My Government is committed to ensuring mental health support is available to all who need it and to protecting the fundamental human rights of the most vulnerable in society. Legislation enacted this session will increase access to protections and put in place robust safeguards for those who are deprived of their liberty.
In recognition of the need to make renting fairer and more affordable, and to promote fairness and transparency in the housing market, legislation has been enacted to reduce costs at the outset of, and throughout a tenancy, by banning most letting fees paid by tenants in England.
My Government has taken steps to ensure fairer markets and to protect consumers from unfair practices and financial losses. Legislation has been passed to ensure people have access to free and impartial financial guidance and debt advice and to introduce a ban on nuisance calls in relation to pensions. Measures have been enacted to reduce insurance costs for motorists by tackling the high number and cost of whiplash claims.
The security of the nation and its citizens remains of the highest importance to my Government. In this session, legislation has been passed to ensure the police and security services have the powers they need to keep the population safe in the face of evolving threats of terrorism.
Legislation passed this session marks a significant step towards my Government’s commitment to tackle serious violence on the streets of the United Kingdom. Laws are now in place to prevent young people from purchasing dangerous weapons and to prosecute those who possess such items, or sell them without imposing rigorous age verification.
The defence of the Realm remains an utmost priority for my Government, which it has supported through investment in our gallant Armed Forces.
As a leading member of the international coalition against Daesh, the United Kingdom played a critical role in the military defeat of Daesh’s so-called caliphate in March of this year. While the Middle East continues to suffer from serious conflict, my Government has played a leading role in de-escalating regional tensions. My Government has also played a key role in international efforts to protect the United Kingdom and its allies from hostile threats, including in response to the chemical weapon attack in Salisbury.
As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, my Government has provided political and diplomatic support to peace efforts in Yemen, Libya and Syria, as well as mitigating the human cost of these tragedies through the provision of substantial humanitarian assistance.
Prince Philip and I were pleased to welcome Their Majesties King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain and we also welcomed King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the President and First Lady of the United States of America, on State Visits.
Prince Charles and I were delighted to attend a national commemorative event to honour and remember the heroism, courage and sacrifice of the many servicemen and women who participated in the D-Day Landings.
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.