HC Deb 01 November 1957 vol 575 cc531-6

Message to attend the Lords Commissioners;

The House went; and, having returned—

Mr. Speaker

I have to acquaint the House that the House has been to the House of Peers, where a Commission under the Great Seal was read. The Lord High Chancellor, being one of the Royal 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:

A few days ago I returned to London with My Dear Husband on the conclusion of a short stay in Canada and a visit to the United States. It was a great joy to Me to have this opportunity to see again My People in Canada, to open the Canadian Parliament and to renew My personal experience of that great and developing Commonwealth country. I was also very happy to pay, at President Eisenhower's invitation, a second visit to the United States, and to meet members of the United States Government, Congress and the Supreme Court. Everywhere I received a most warm and friendly welcome. My visit has further convinced Me that the ties which bind our peoples are strong and enduring.

I shall always retain the happiest recollections of the visits which I paid with My Dear Husband to Portugal, France and Denmark, and the moving reception extended to us by the peoples of those countries.

My Dear Husband and I were deeply grieved at the death of King Haakon the Seventh of Norway, who held a special place in the hearts of My People. Our sympathy goes out to the members of His family and to the whole Norwegian people.

I recall with pleasure the reception accorded to Me and My Husband by the Secretary-General and by the General Assembly of the United Nations in the course of My visit to New York this month. My Government have continued to co-operate in the work of the Disarmament Commission of the United Nations and have joined in putting forward practical proposals for an international agreement on conventional and nuclear disarmament.

My Government have contributed to the continuing progress being made within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Western European Union in strengthening the defence of the Atlantic Community and in broadening the scope of European co-operation. They have also continued to give their whole-hearted support to the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation and the Bagdad Pact. They welcome the decision of the United States Government to participate in the Military Committee of the Bagdad Pact, and have been much encouraged by the Joint Resolution of the United States Congress, designed to promote peace and stability in the Middle East.

After the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Egypt and the establishment of a United Nations force, United Kingdom Forces were withdrawn from the Suez Canal area. My Government have thereafter continued their efforts to bring about a just settlement of the dangerous situation in the Middle East.

In view of the long-standing ties of friendship between Muscat and Oman and the United Kingdom, My Government took prompt action in response to a request from the Sultan for armed assistance in quelling a rebellion in his dominions. There were no losses in action among the small number of United Kingdom troops engaged.

It gave Me great pleasure to meet the Prime Ministers and other representatives of Commonwealth countries in London at the end of June. Their meeting, at which they reviewed all the major international issues of the day which were of common concern to their countries, revealed a broad similarity of approach and purpose. They affirmed that in the interest of world peace and security they would continue to work for the wider adoption of the principle and practice of co-operation between nations, which is the foundation of their own association.

During the year Acts were passed as a result of which Ghana and the Federation of Malaya achieved independence within the Commonwealth. All Commonwealth Prime Ministers agreed to recognise them as fellow members of the Commonwealth. I wish the peoples of Ghana and Malaya all happiness and prosperity; and I welcome their admission to the United Nations. I was much gratified at the cordial reception extended to My Dear Aunt, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, who represented Me at the celebrations in Ghana in March, and to My Dear Uncle, His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, who represented Me in the Federation of Malaya in August.

My Government have entered into an Agreement with the Government of the Federation of Malaya whereby United Kingdom Forces may be stationed in Malaya to assist that country in her external defence and for the fulfilment of Commonwealth and international obligations. United Kingdom Forces, together with Forces from other Commonwealth countries, are also continuing to support the Army of the Federation of Malaya in the campaign against the terrorists.

The Nigeria Constitutional Conference, which was held in London in May and June, has led to the establishment, under the chairmanship of the Governor-General, of an All-Nigerian Council of Ministers with a Federal Prime Minister, and to the grant of Regional self-government in the Eastern and Western Regions. An Order in Council has been made providing for the establishment of the Federation of the British West Indies.

My Ministers have announced plans for reorganising My Armed Forces at home and overseas. Compensation terms and resettlement plans for those officers and men whose service will be prematurely terminated have been published. A new Naval Discipline Act has been passed.

My Government have approved a re-organisation and expansion of the information services overseas.

Members of the House of Commons:

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

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

My Government welcomed the opportunity, provided by the recent meeting of Commonwealth Finance Ministers in Canada, to exchange views with other members of the Commonwealth on problems of common economic concern.

Provision has been made for more effective long-term assurances to agriculture and for assistance towards the modernisation of farms in the United Kingdom. New provision has also been made for the development of the pig industry in Great Britain.

Legislation has been passed providing further assistance for the white fish and herring industries and for the modernisation of the fishing fleet.

An Act has been passed to amend the law of homicide and to limit the scope of capital punishment.

I have given My Assent to legislation to enable effect to be given to the four international conventions which provide for protection for the victims of war.

Legislation has been enacted amending the Rent Restrictions Acts and providing for a minimum period of notice for the termination of residential lettings. A measure has been passed to revise Scottish housing subsidies and to facilitate the movement of population from overcrowded areas in Scotland.

The law relating to rating and valuation in England and Wales has been amended.

An Act has been passed providing for the payment by all insured persons of a special weekly National Health Service contribution.

Provision has been made for re-organising the electricity supply industry in England and Wales.

A measure has been enacted permitting the imposition of countervailing and anti-dumping duties on goods imported into the United Kingdom.

An Act has been passed to impose a levy on exhibitors of cinematograph films, and to continue certain other provisions. to assist British film production.

I have assented to an Act to extend the right of redress for damage caused by subsidence resulting from coal mining.

Improvements have been made in the provisions for elderly and seriously disabled war pensioners.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

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 fifth day of November, one thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued until Tuesday the fifth day of November, one thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven.

End of the Second Session (opened 6th November, 1956) of the Forty-first Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.