HC Deb 08 November 1938 vol 341 cc9-12
Mr. Speaker

I have to acquaint the House that this House has this day attended His Majesty in the House of Peers, and His Majesty was pleased to make a Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, of which for greater accuracy I have obtained a copy, which is as followeth:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

My relations with foreign Powers continue to be friendly, and My Government will do all in their power to promote the development of good understanding in the spirit of the joint Anglo-German declaration, made at Munich on the 30th September last.

The agreement negotiated last April between My Government and the Italian Government will now shortly be brought into force. I believe that this action will confirm the traditional good relations, so happily and so long subsisting between our two countries, and thus further the cause of European peace.

I have invited the King of Roumania to visit Me this month and I look forward with pleasure to his stay in My capital.

I have also invited the President of the French Republic to visit Me in the spring of next year and I feel assured that this visit will cause great satisfaction to all My people.

The Queen and I are anticipating with the keenest pleasure the visit which We are hoping to pay to My Dominion of Canada next summer.

I have been happy to accept an invitation extended to The Queen and Myself by the President to visit the United States of America before the conclusion of My Canadian tour. I warmly welcome this practical expression of the good feeling that prevails between our countries.

My Ministers deeply regret the co?tinuance of the hostilities in Spain. While adhering to the policy of nonintervention, they will lend their assistance in any way possible towards the restoration of peace in that country.

My Government will be ready at any time, if desired by the parties to the dispute in the Far East, to aid in reaching a settlement which will ensure lasting peace in that region. Meanwhile, My Ministers will do all in their power to safeguard British interests in the areas affected.

My Ministers will shortly lay before you the Report of the Palestine Commission and will make a statement of future policy.

Members of the House of Commons:

My Ministers have already arranged for an advance of £10 millions to be placed at the disposal of the Czechoslovak Government to meet urgent requirements, and legislation will be laid before you dealing with financial assistance to that Government.

The Estimates for the Public Services will be laid before you.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

Although the equipment and expansion of My Defence Forces are now making rapid progress, the emergency through which we have passed has shown that certain deficiencies in our military and civil defence preparations remain to be remedied. My Ministers have reviewed these matters in the light of the experience gained, and will in due course take steps to accelerate and supplement the measures already in hand.

The problems of civil defence, including that of the effective utilisation of the resources of the nation for national voluntary service, will in future receive the undivided attention of a Minister, the Lord Privy Seal.

The active furtherance of peace in Europe, which is the constant aim of My Government, will, I trust, lead to a wider spirit of confidence and supply a fresh impulse for expansion in trade, industry and employment. My Ministers will persist in their efforts to establish favourable conditions for the development of oversea markets.

My Government will press forward with better housing, both urban and rural, and will proceed with the development of the educational services. They will vigorously continue the campaign for the improvement of the public health, and in particular will submit to you proposals for the earlier and more effective treatment of cancer.

The policy of My Government will continue to be directed to improving conditions in the Special Areas.

A Bill will be laid before you to amend the penal law dealing, in particular, with young offenders and those who commit repeated offences.

My Ministers recognise the important place which home agriculture must occupy in the national economy and defence. They will continue to promote by an active and constructive policy the economic development of the industry and the improvement of the conditions of those engaged in it. Measures will be laid before you to assist the production, improve the quality and increase the consumption of milk, to assist the poultry industry, and to effect certain amendments in the Wheat Act, 1932, including further reviews of the standard price of wheat.

The difficulties of the cotton industry are engaging the attention of My Ministers and proposals, which would require legislation, are before them. Among the Measures which you will be invited to pass will be Bills to prevent fraud in relation to investments; to amend the law relating to the carrying on of the business of insurance; to amend the Unemployment Insurance Acts; and to raise the amount of the Miners' Welfare Levy, in order to provide additional funds for the building of pithead baths.

A Bill will be submitted to you for the purpose of re-organising Scottish administration, and centralising the Government Departments in Edinburgh. Further action will be taken to deal with slums and overcrowding in Scotland, and a Measure relating to the financial provision for this purpose will be submitted to you. You will also be invited to consider other Scottish Measures, including a Bill for the amendment of the marriage law.

Other legislative proposals will be laid before you and proceeded with as time and opportunity offer.

I pray that, under the blessing of Almighty God, the outcome of your deliberations may advance the happiness and well-being of My people and the peace of the world.

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