For the first time since Sir John Major's government, there was a conservative Queen's speech. Defying age, The Queen, 89, accompany by the Duke of Edinburgh carried out her duty of state seamlessly to open Parliament following the May 2015 General Election.
The Bills to go before Parliament, to become law, in the next five years are based on the Conservative Party Manifesto. These pledges were put to the UK electorate during the election campaign. The only unexpected moment was the absence of any legislation proposed for a British Bill of Rights. Unlike 2010, there has been no compromised Queen's Speech as part of a widely expected coalition government.
Below you'll find the highlights of the occasion and the speech:
Queen's Speech - Bills to go before Parliament in the next five years
- Enterprise Bill - reduce regulation on small businesses, cut red tape by £10bn, cap on public sector redundancy payments and creation of Small Business Conciliation Service
- EU Referendum Bill - to put an in/out referendum to the British people by 2017 at the latest
- Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill - two million more jobs and three million more apprenticeships, reduction in the welfare cap to £23,000 and a two-year freeze on working-age benefits, tax credits and child benefit
- Energy Bill - transfer of decision making on wind farms to local authorities, Oil and Gas Authority set up as a regulator
- Immigration Bill - new offence of illegal working and confiscation of wages from proceeds of crime, task force to tackle exploitation, advertising overseas first will be banned, illegal tenants evicted quicker and landlords prosecuted
- Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill - devolution of housing, planning and transport into cities through directly elected mayors. Greater Manchester to pave the way
- Childcare Bill - increasing the amount of free childcare to 30 hours a week for three and four year olds
- HS2 Bill - Royal Assent is expected next year as the government looks to press ahead with high speed rail
- Scotland Bill - new tax and welfare powers plus measures set out by the Smith Commission
- Wales Bill - further devolution on energy and transport, clearer lines between the Assembly and parliament
- Northern Ireland Bill - continued devolution matters for Stormont
- Extremism Bill - strengthen OfCom against broadcasting extremist material, banning orders for those promoting hate, to close town premises promoting extremism and bar extremists from working with children
- Policing and Criminal Justice Bill - to ban the use of police cells for people with mental health problems, reform pre-charge bail and reform the Police Federation
- Trade Unions Bill - a 50% voting threshold for union strike ballots and 40% must back strike action if to be taken vital public services. Mandates to be time-limited
- Votes for Life Bill - to scrap the current 15 year limit for people living abroad to vote in UK elections.
- Education and Adoption Bill - to speed up the process for failing schools becoming academies and to remove adoption services from local councils if necessary
- Psychoactive Substance Bill - a ban on so-called "legal highs"
- Investigatory Powers Bill - called the "snoopers charter" intelligence agencies will be given new tools to analyse communications data
- Armed Forces Bill - a full strategic defence reviews and other defence matters
- Bank of England Bill - to further strengthen the accountability and governance arrangements within the Bank of England
- Charities Bill - to strengthen the Charity Commission and protect against abuse of funds
- European Union (Finance) Bill - to protect the rebate and means by which the UK pays into the European Union
- Buses Bill - to allow authorities with directly elected mayors to be responsible for bus services
- Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill - to reform, modernise and amalgamate services
- Housing Bill - extend right to buy scheme to 1.3 million social housing tenants and 200,000 starter homes made available to under 40s at 20% discount
- National Insurance Contributions and Finance bill - no rise in income tax rates, VAT or national insurance before 2020 and raise the threshold before paying income tax to £12,500.
Facts about the State Opening of Parliament
- Did you know, the Queen has never entered the House of Commons, the last monarch to do so was Charles I during the English Civil War.
- Black Rod tells the Speaker of the House of Commons that the Queen commands their presence in the House of Peers. The Speaker is then the first to lead the procession followed by the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition then senior cabinet colleagues and their counterparts
- Dennis Skinner MP, who traditionally breaks convention to shout something at Black Rod was unusually silent this time
- The Queen has opened Parliament every year of her reign except 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant
- Unlike the last State Opening of Parliament no-one fainted as the Queen was reading out her speech.