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Live coverage: State Opening of Parliament

UK News | Published:

The Government has unveiled its legislative programme amid the traditional pomp and ceremony.

The Queen delivers her speech alongside the Prince of Wale

A crackdown on crime dominated the first Queen’s Speech of Boris Johnson’s premiership.

As well as law and order issues, immigration and the environment were also major elements of the programme, which had already been extensively trailed.

Here’s the latest from Parliament:

12.05pm

Speaker John Bercow led MPs back into the Commons chamber, and the sitting is suspended until 2.30pm.

Debate on the Queen’s Speech will take place at this point.

12.03pm

Scenes in the House of Lords during the speech
Scenes in the House of Lords during the speech (Toby Melville/PA)

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12pm

Labour MP Jim McMahon had this message after the speech.

12pm

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As well as justice measures, the Queen’s Speech included…

– Environment Bill setting legally binding targets to reduce plastics, restore biodiversity, improve water quality and cut air pollution.

– Immigration and Social Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill to end freedom of movement and introduce a points-based immigration system from 2021.

– Railway reform with a white paper setting out proposals to overhaul the current system of franchising and creating a new commercial model.

– Action on building standards in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire with the establishment of a new regulator with powers to impose criminal sanctions for breaches of building regulations.

– NHS Health Investigations Bill will create a new independent body with legal powers to ensure patient safety.

– Mental health reform to reduce the number of detentions under the Mental Health Act by ensuring more people get the treatment they need.

11.56am

The Queen and the Prince of Wales
The Queen was joined by the Prince of Wales (Toby Melville/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson listens to the speech
Prime Minister Boris Johnson listens to the speech (House of Commons/PA)
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab alongside Chancellor Sajid Javid
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab with Chancellor Sajid Javid (House of Commons/PA)

11.55am

With the focus on criminal justice measures, the Queen said: “New sentencing laws will see that the most serious offenders spend longer in custody to reflect better the severity of their crimes.”

A 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.

Other measures include strengthening environmental protections, reforming adult social care and improving the NHS, and raising living standards through increasing the national living wage to £10.50 an hour.

11.50am

Meanwhile, veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner refused to attend the Queen’s Speech.

He appeared to mutter “I’m not going” after Black Rod requested MPs’ attendance.

This prompted laughter from both sides of the House of Commons.

Mr Skinner is known for making quips during the State Opening of Parliament and it has become part of the pomp and circumstance of the event.

He remained behind in the Commons chamber.

11.45am

The Queen is announcing 26 bills, including a crackdown on violent and foreign criminals, measures to invest in the NHS, and plans to protect the environment.

11.40am

MPs are heading to the House of Lords, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson making his way alongside Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

11.35am

Lady Usher of the Black Rod Sarah Clarke arrives through the Norman Porch for the State Opening
Lady Usher of the Black Rod Sarah Clarke arrives through the Norman Porch for the State Opening (Paul Ellis/PA)

Black Rod, the House of Lords official, saw the doors to the Commons shut in her face – in one of the more unusual traditions of the State Opening – as she arrived to summon MPs.

It is a practice that dates back to the Civil War and is said to symbolise the Commons’ independence from the monarchy.

Black Rod had to strike the door three times before it was opened.

11.30am

The Queen has taken her place on the throne in the House of Lords.

11.25am

MPs in the House of Commons are waiting to be summoned to the Lords.

11.20am

The Queen travels in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach
The Queen travels in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach (Yui Mok/PA)

11.15am

The House of Commons Twitter feed has offered an insight into one of the quirkier traditions of the State Opening of Parliament.

11.10am

The Imperial State Crown is carried through the Sovereign’s Entrance ahead of the State Opening
The Imperial State Crown is carried through the Sovereign’s Entrance ahead of the State Opening (Hannah McKay/PA)

11.05am

The Queen has left Buckingham Palace and is making her way to the Houses of Parliament.

11am

Members of the public wait to watch the Queen leave Buckingham Palace
Members of the public wait to watch the Queen leave Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok/PA)

10.45am

Longest and shortest Queen’s Speeches delivered by Elizabeth II
(PA Graphics)

10.20am

Peers gather in the House of Lords ahead of the State Opening of Parliament
Peers gather in the House of Lords ahead of the State Opening of Parliament (Victoria Jones/PA)
Carrie Symonds, the partner of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, takes her seat ahead of the speech
Carrie Symonds, the partner of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, takes her seat ahead of the speech (Victoria Jones/PA)
Ms Symonds was joined by the PM's father Stanley Johnson
Ms Symonds was joined by the PM’s father Stanley Johnson (Victoria Jones/PA)
Soldiers from Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards, line the processional route on The Mall
Soldiers from Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards, line the processional route on The Mall (Yui Mok/PA)

10am

Length of Queen’s Speech
(PA Graphics)

9.45am

As final preparations got under way, Yeomen of the Guard carried out a ceremonial search at the Houses of Parliament, while police patrolled the route from Buckingham Palace.

State Opening of Parliament 2019
(Victoria Jones/PA)
State Opening of Parliament 2019
(Hannah McKay/PA)
State Opening of Parliament
(Yui Mok/PA)

9.15am

First things first – Boris Johnson received a flu jab at Downing Street before heading to Parliament

First things first - Boris Johnson received a flu jab at Downing Street before heading to Parliament
(Jeremy Selwyn/PA)

9.10am

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.

9am

The first Queen’s Speech of Boris Johnson’s premiership will unveil a crackdown on violent and foreign criminals.

The package of 26 bills will include legislation to keep serious criminals in prison for longer, impose tougher sentences on foreign offenders who return to the UK and provide better protection for victims of domestic abuse.

They will sit alongside measures intended to invest in the NHS, strengthen environmental protections and raise living standards through increasing the national living wage to £10.50 an hour.

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