Last week marked the official State Opening of Parliament, which took place on the first day of the 2023-24 parliamentary session and was His Majesty The King's first as Monarch. As a new Parliament begins, the King delivers a speech setting out the Government’s agenda for the coming session and outlining the proposed policies and legislation they would like to take forward.
The State Opening of Parliament is a historic occasion, and its origins can be traced back as far as the 16th century. This year Gloucestershire played a prominent role in the proceedings with Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham and Lord Chancellor, presenting the speech to His Majesty on bended knee in the ceremonial silk bag and Siobhan Ballie, MP for Stroud, seconding the Loyal Address where MPs thank the King for his Speech.
In this year's King’s Speech, the Conservative Government has announced plans to deliver a brighter future for our country by delivering long-term solutions to the problems families and businesses face.
Legislation will focus on four key areas. First, growing the economy by introducing Bills that protect our energy security, secure the benefits of Brexit, and ensure we have the right framework for tech firms to compete and grow in the UK.
Second, strengthening society by protecting the health of young people, supporting private renters and landlords, and eradicating antisemitism everywhere. This includes the Holocaust Memorial Bill, to build a national Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in central London.
Third, keeping people safe by making sure the police have the powers they need, criminals get the punishment they deserve, and society is protected from terrorism. This includes the Sentencing Bill and the Criminal Justice Bill, giving the police more powers to keep us safe.
Fourth, promoting our national interests by backing our Armed Forces, supporting Ukraine and leading the way on the challenges of the future: climate change and AI.
In each of these areas the Conservative Government is taking the right long-term action to deliver change, whilst continuing to halve inflation, prioritise higher growth over extra borrowing, reduce debt, relieve pressure on the NHS by cutting waiting lists and, crucially, implement the world-leading small boats laws to crush the people smuggling gangs and stop the boats.
This King’s Speech delivers change.
Change in our economy.
Change in our society.
Change in our communities.
It takes long-term decisions for a brighter future ⬇️
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) November 7, 2023
This column was first published in The Forester newspaper.