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Lord Speaker’s Statement

Volume 810: debated on Wednesday 24 February 2021

Announcement

My Lords, the Hybrid Sitting of the House will now begin. Some Members are here in the Chamber, others are participating remotely, but all Members will be treated equally.

Her Majesty the Queen, in less than one year from now, will mark the 70th anniversary of her accession to the Throne. The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will be marked by national celebrations and, as with previous jubilees, it is hoped that Her Majesty will visit Parliament next year to mark the occasion.

Noble Lords were told in November about the plans to present a gift to Her Majesty to mark this historic occasion. In 1977, to mark Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee, the fountain in New Palace Yard was built. In 2002, to mark the Golden Jubilee, the sundial in Old Palace Yard was installed and, in 2012, to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, the stained-glass window in Westminster Hall was commissioned.

Noble Lords will therefore be pleased to hear that a gift has now been commissioned for Her Majesty from Parliament to mark her Platinum Jubilee in 2022. It is now open to all Members of both Houses to contribute towards this gift and I invite noble Lords to do so. As was the case in 2012, when hundreds of parliamentarians contributed towards the Diamond Jubilee gift, this gift will also be funded by personal contributions from Members of both Houses entirely at their own discretion. No public funds will be spent on the commissioning of the gift. I have written to all noble Lords with details of the gift and how they may make contributions and I warmly encourage them to do so.

Oral Questions will now begin. Please can those asking supplementary questions keep them short—no longer than 30 seconds—and confined to two points? I ask that Ministers’ answers are also brief.