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Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech

Prorogation – in the House of Commons at 3:51 pm on 16th March 1992.

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Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East 3:51 pm, 16th March 1992

I have further to acquaint the House that the Lord High Chancellor, being one of the High Commissioners, delivered Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, in pursuance of Her Majesty's Command, as follows:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased to visit Australia in February.

My Government have continued to make provision for the defence of the United Kingdom, including a substantial contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. They ratified the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.

At the Summit meeting in Rome last November, NATO agreed a new Strategic Concept and set up the North Atlantic Co-operation Council, which at its Ministerial meeting on 10th March formally admitted republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States as members following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

My Government welcomed President Yeltsin to London on his first official visit as President of the Russian Federation. They are contributing directly to international efforts to dismantle weapons of mass destruction in the .former Soviet Union and to economic reform programmes there. The European Community have agreed emergency food aid grants and credits worth over £1·5 billion.

My Government contributed significantly to the successful outcome to the European Council at Maastricht. Negotiations were concluded in the Inter-Governmental Conferences on Economic and Monetary Union, and on Political Union. The Treaty was signed on 7th February. My Government have continued to work within the Community to complete the Single European Market; to promote budgetary discipline; and to reform the Common Agricultural Policy; and for the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. Agreement in principle has been reached to extend the Single Market to the European Free Trade Area from 1993.

The Community have also moved to consolidate relations with the new democracies to the East. Three Association Agreements, which were originally proposed by the United Kingdom have been signed with Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, and the trade liberalisation provisions of these Agreements have now come into effect.

In Yugoslavia, My Government have strongly supported the European Community's peace conference under Lord Carrington's chairmanship. They recognised the independence of Croatia and Slovenia. They participated fully in discussions leading to the adoption of a United Nations' Security Council Resolution to authorise the deployment of a peace-keeping force.

As President of the Security Council, My Government convened the first Summit meeting of Council Heads of State or Government which set in hand work to strengthen the United Nations' preventive diplomacy and peace-keeping efforts.

My Government have worked for the full implementation of Security Council Resolutions against Iraq. The

United Kingdom contributes to the coalition's deterrent force in southern Turkey and has continued to provide protection and help for the Kurds.

My Government have supported the efforts of the United States and others to bring a just and durable peace to the Middle East. They warmly welcomed the release of the remaining British hostages from Lebanon.

Acting with the United States and France, My Government have demanded that Libya hand over the two principal suspects for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103. This has received the unanimous support of the UN Security Council.

My Government welcomed the opening in December of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa. They have been encouraged by its positive results so far.

A substantial and effective programme of overseas aid has been maintained to contribute to good government and economic and social progress in developing countries.

Members of the House of Commons

I thank you for the provision 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, within the framework of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, firm financial policies which have successfully reduced inflation. They are committed to maintaining the conditions necessary for sustained growth, the promotion of enterprise and training and the improvement of the working of the economy.

Legislation has been enacted to achieve a substantial step towards My Government's goal of a 20 per cent. basic rate for all taxpayers and to cut car tax by half.

As part of My Government's privatisation programme, a second tranche of shares in British Telecom has been sold to the public.

Legislation has been passed to provide for a new council tax to replace the community charge as the means of raising local revenue to finance local government spending.

An Act has been passed to establish a review of local government structure in England, and detailed proposals for structural reform in Wales have been published.

Action has been taken to improve quality, choice and opportunity in education. Legislation has been enacted to reform funding of further education and sixth form colleges and to reform higher education in England and Wales. An Act has been passed to provide parents with more information about the performance of schools and to improve school inspection.

My Government have taken forward their policies for enhancing the nation's health and for improving the effectiveness of the health and social services and the social security system.

My Government have continued to work for the regeneration of our cities, developing the new partnerships between local authorities, the private sector and local communities within the City Challenge framework. They have continued to promote diversity of choice in housing, and have taken steps to extend and improve the stock of social housing. Legislation has been passed to enable income support in relation to mortgage interest payments to be paid directly to lenders. An Act has been passed to increase temporarily the threshold for payment of stamp duty on house purchase.

My Government continue to take action to protect the environment, building on the policies in the White Paper "This Common Inheritance". The United Kingdom has played a leading part in international action on the environment.

A Bill has been introduced to enable applications for asylum in the United Kingdom to be dealt with quickly and effectively.

Measures have been enacted for England and Wales to create an offence of prison mutiny, to increase the maximum penalties for aiding prisoners to escape and for harbouring escaped prisoners, and to ensure that anyone guilty of taking a vehicle without consent is liable to a more severe sentence in aggravated circumstances.

An Act has been passed to strengthen health and safety arrangements for offshore installations.

Legislation has been enacted to enhance competitive tendering for local authority services. Other measures to implement the Citizen's Charter White Paper have been taken including the publication of a number of charters relating to individual public services.

For Scotland, an Act has been passed to reform further and higher education.

In Northern Ireland, My Government have continued to take vigorous action against terrorism. They have sought to promote political dialogue. Positive relations with the Republic of Ireland have been maintained and enhanced.

Other important matters have been enacted.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

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

Thereafter, a Commission proroguing this present 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 Monday the twenty-third day of this instant March, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Monday the twenty-third day of this instant March.