Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech

Prorogation – in the House of Commons at 10:07 am on 15th November 1988.

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Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East 10:07 am, 15th November 1988

I have further to acquaint the House that the Lord High Chancellor, one of the Lord 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 Votes and Proceedings. Copies are being made available in the Vote Office.

The Gracious Speech was as follows:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased to receive the State Visits of His Majesty King Hassan II of Morocco in July 1987, His Majesty King Olav of Norway in April of this year, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Turkey in July, and the President of the Republic of Senegal and Madame Diouf earlier this month. I was pleased to receive President Reagan of the United States after his visit to Moscow in June.

We recall with pleasure our visit to Canada in October last year, where I was also present on the occasion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Vancouver. Earlier this year we visited Australia in her Bicentenary year and the Netherlands to mark the William and Mary Tercentenary. Also to mark the Tercentenary, I received Loyal Addresses from both Houses in July. We remember with much satisfaction our State Visit to Spain in October.

My Government have helped to promote better relations between East and West and have played an active part in the Vienna Review Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

My Government have continued to enhance Britain's defences and have played a full part in the Atlantic Alliance.

My Government have worked vigorously for balanced and verifiable agreements on arms control in respect of nuclear and conventional weapons and for the abolition of chemical weapons. They have supported the treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union for the elimination of their intermediate and shorter range missiles, as a result of which cruise missiles are being removed from the United Kingdom.

My Government have fully supported the United Nations in its recent efforts to negotiate a ceasefire between Iran and Iraq. They have welcomed the start of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and have supported efforts to restore that country's independence and non-aligned status. My Government have encouraged the forces for change in Southern Africa and have urged the countries of that region to settle their problems peacefully.

My Government have reached agreement with our European Community partners on the restructuring of the Community's finances and on certain measures of reform of its common agricultural policy. They have continued to play a full and active role in negotiations to achieve the completion of a single market within the European Community by the end of 1992, and have encouraged business to prepare for the opportunities and challenges that this presents.

My Government welcomed the agreement reached on their initiative to provide debt relief to some of the poorestcountries in Africa. They have continued to provide a substantial aid programme, both directly and through the European Community, including emergency assistance to the victims of natural disasters in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.

My Government have continued their vigorous efforts to combat international terrorism. They have signed agreements with the United States, Canada, Australia and the Bahamas to provide reciprocal assistance in combating trafficking in drugs.

My Government and the Chinese Government have continued to make good progress in implementing the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong. My Government have stood by their commitments to the people of the Falkland Islands, while continuing to seek more normal relations with Argentina.

Members of the House of Commons,

I thank you for the provision which you have made for the honour and dignity of the Crown and for the public service.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

My Government have continued to pursue sound financial policies designed to keep inflation under control and to sustain economic growth. They have made a public sector debt repayment. The national output has continued to grow, as has the number of people in work. Further steps have been taken to help unemployed people into work through the introduction of the employment training programme and the extension of the youth training scheme.

As part of my Government's programme to encourage enterprise and improve the performance of the economy, the basic rate of income tax has been further reduced and all but the lowest of the remaining rates have been abolished. Legislation has been enacted to reform and simplify the tax system and to provide for the independent taxation of married couples.

In further pursuit of my Government's commitment to encourage greater industrial efficiency and to promote wider share ownership, legislation has been enacted to provide for the sale to the public of shares in British Steel and to enable the water authorities and the electricity supply industry to prepare for privatisation.

An Act has been passed for England and Wales to replace domestic rates with the community charge and to introduce uniform non-domestic rates.

An Act has been passed to reform the legislation on rented housing and to give local authority tenants new rights to choose their landlord.

Legislation has been enacted to promote further competition in the provision of local authority services.

An Act has been passed to reform the education system by widening parental choice, by making provision for a national curriculum and by increasing the autonomy of educational institutions.

An Act has been passed to provide for greater democracy and accountability within trades unions and to provide further protection against trade union enforcement of closed shops.

Legislation has been passed to improve the working of criminal justice; to reform the law of extradition; and to improve the assistance available to victims of crime.

An Act has been passed to strengthen the controls over the possession of firearms.

Legislation has been enacted to reinforce firm but fair immigration control.

An Act has been passed for England and Wales to introduce greater flexibility in licensing hours and to strengthen provisions to curb the misuse of alcohol.

Further progress has been made in the consolidation of our statute law. Legislation has been passed to improve the arrangements for legal aid.

An Act has been passed to reform the law of copyright and to make improvements in other areas of intellectual property law.

A reformed system of social security has been introduced.

An Act has been passed further to reform the law on shipping and safety at sea.

An Act has been passed to authorise the construction of a railway tunnel under the English channel to link Britain and France.

Legislation has been enacted to authorise a third crossing of the Thames at Dartford.

In Northern Ireland, my Government have continued their efforts to combat terrorism. They have developed their constructive relations with the Repulic of Ireland through the Anglo-Irish Agreement and have continued to promote the economic revival and political stability of Northern Ireland.

For Scotland, measures have been passed to create a new housing agency and to encourage the provision of private rented housing, to improve the management of schools and to reform the law on civil evidence.

An Act has been passed to establish a statutory authority for the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.

Legislation has been enacted to encourage the planting of farm woodlands and diversification by farmers.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may attend you.

Thereafter a Commission for proroguing the Parliament was read, after which the Lord Chancellor said:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

By virtue of Her Majesty's Commission which has now been read we do, in Her Majesty's name, and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Tuesday the twenty-second day of this instant November, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Tuesday the twenty-second day of this instant November.

End of the First Session (opened on 17 June 1987) of the Fiftieth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the Thirty-Sixth Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.