HC Deb 30 October 1952 vol 505 cc2159-64
Mr. Speaker

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 Commands, as follows:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

My thoughts turn first to My beloved Father whose death was so deeply mourned throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. The countless expressions of devotion to Him have moved Me deeply and encourage Me in My resolute determination to prove worthy of a sacred trust.

My Ministers have continued to give the fullest support to the United Nations Organisation in its efforts to promote international co-operation and to maintain peace.

My Forces are playing their full part in collective resistance to aggression in Korea and have enhanced their high reputation for efficiency and for readiness to carry out whatever task is demanded of them by land, at sea or in the air. I mourn the loss of gallant lives which has brought sorrow to many homes. My Governments in the United Kingdom and in the other countries of the Commonwealth have worked ceaselessly to achieve an armistice agreement in conformity with the principles for which the United Nations stand.

In Malaya My Forces and the civil administration are carrying out a difficult task with patience and determination. In spite of great loss and suffering all communities are playing an ever more active part in the defence of their freedom.

My Government, in close association with our Allies, have shared in the steady development of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. They have welcomed the notable contribution made to the strengthening of the Organisation and of its member countries by the people of the United States of America who are bearing so large a share of the heavy cost of mutual defence. I have watched with hope and confidence the measures which these countries, now happily joined by Turkey and Greece, have taken to secure themselves against the threat of armed aggression. The continued strengthening of My Forces has contributed to the growing power of the free world to deter aggression and so to preserve peace.

My Government have worked for the promotion of unity and prosperity in Europe and are taking a leading part in the work of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation. They have also appointed a permanent delegation to the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community.

A treaty of mutual assistance has been concluded between the United Kingdom and the members of the European Defence Community and My Government have joined with the Governments of the United States of America and France in reaffirming their guarantee to Berlin. It is their confident hope that these and other related measures will contribute powerfully to the stability of Western Europe and of the democratic world.

My Ministers have supported the inclusion of the German Federal Republic in the European community and by ratifying the Bonn conventions have formed a new relationship between the United Kingdom and Germany. I regret, however, that prolonged exchanges between My Government and the Soviet Government have not yet ended in agreement upon the unification of Germany in conditions of freedom and that the efforts of My Government to conclude an Austrian State Treaty have not yet been successful.

The Japanese Peace Treaty has been ratified and legislation has been passed to give effect to certain of its provisions.

My Government, with the help of other Commonwealth Governments and of the Sterling Area as a whole, have taken effective steps to redress the balance of payments and to maintain the strength of sterling as an international currency.

Members of the House of Commons:

I thank you for the provisions which you have made for the public services.

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

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

My Ministers have continued to develop the organisation of civil defence both as a responsibility of local authorities and in industry and commerce.

An Act has been passed to establish the Home Guard.

My Ministers have taken fiscal measures to aid the textile industries and have brought forward a number of Government contracts to help these industries over their immediate difficulties.

My Government have called special attention to the need to increase the numbers of skilled workers and have set up a Committee to advise on the provision of opportunities for the employment of older men and women. An Act has been passed for the better organisation of miners' welfare.

All engaged in agriculture have rallied to My Government's call for increased food production. Measures have been passed to provide grants to increase the acreage under the plough and to pay subsidies on calves and fertilisers.

The welfare of the fishing industry has engaged the attention of My Ministers. The white fish subsidy and other measures of assistance have been continued.

My Ministers have vigorously carried out the expansion of the housing programme and the production of building materials necessary to sustain it. Housing Bills have been passed together with measures to encourage town development in County districts and to make financial provision for the building of New Towns.

Additional Ministers have been appointed to ensure ever closer attention to Scottish affairs. A Royal Commission on Scottish Affairs has begun its deliberations.

Ministers have also been appointed with special responsibilities for Wales.

Other legislation of benefit to My people has been passed. Family allowances, National Insurance payments and certain State pensions have been increased, and the National Assistance scales have been raised.

Consolidation of the laws relating to Customs and Excise and to Income Tax has been accomplished.

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

Then 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 under the Great Seal, to us and other Lords directed, and now read, we do, in Her Majesty's name and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Tuesday, the Fourth day of November, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty-two, to be then here holden: and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued until Tuesday, the Fourth day of November, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty-two."

End of the First Session (opened 31st October, 1951) of the Fortieth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the First Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.