HL Deb 06 February 1918 vol 28 cc432-6

The following thirteen Bills received the Royal Assent—

And afterwards his Majesty's most gracious Speech was delivered to both Houses of Parliament by the Lord Chancellor (in pursuance of His Majesty's Command) as followeth—

"My Lords, and Gentlemen,

"Since last I addressed you great events have happened. Within a few weeks of that occasion, the United States of America decided to take their stand by the side of this Country and Our Allies in defence of the principles of Liberty and Justice. Their entry into the War, followed by that of other neutral States, has united practically the whole civilised world in a League of Nations against unscrupulous aggression, has lent additional strength to Our arms, and inspires fresh confidence in the ultimate triumph of Our cause.

"On the other hand, Russia, distracted by internal dissensions, has not been able to persevere in the struggle until the fruits of her great sacrifices could have been reaped; and for the present has ceased to bear her part in the Allied task. The negotiations opened by her with the enemy have, however, served but to prove that the ambitions which provoked this unhappy war are as yet unabated.

"These tragic events have added to the burdens of the other Allies, but have not impaired the vigour and the loyalty with which one and all continue to pursue the common aim. Amid the confusion of changing events the determination of the democracies of the world to secure a just and enduring peace stands out ever more clearly.

"In all the theatres of war, My Naval and Military Forces have displayed throughout the year a noble courage, a high constancy, and a fixed determination, which have won for them the admiration of My people. In France, the enemy has been repeatedly and successfully thrown back, and I await with assurance the further progress of the conflict. In Palestine and Mesopotamia the most revered and famous cities of the Orient have been wrested from the Turk; while in Africa the enemy has lost the last remnant of his Colonial possessions. In all these fields, the forces of My Dominions and of the Indian Empire have borne their full share in the toil and in the glory of the day.

"During the year the representatives of My Dominions and of the Indian Empire were summoned for the first time to the sessions of an Imperial War Cabinet.

"Their deliberations have been of the utmost, value, both in the prosecution of the War and in the promotion of Imperial Unity.

"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

"I thank you for the liberality with which you have made provision for the heavy expenditure of the War.

"My Lords, and Gentlemen,

"I have been pleased to give My consent to your proposals for the better Representation of the People. I trust that this measure will ensure to a much larger number of My subjects in the United King dom an effective voice in the government of the country, and will enable the National Unity, which has been so marked a characteristic of the War, to continue in the not less arduous work of reconstruction in times of peace.

"The settlement of this difficult question by agreement leads me still to hope that, in spite of all the complexities of the problem, a solution may be possible in regard to the government of Ireland, upon which a Convention of representatives of My Irish people is now deliberating.

"The successful prosecution of the War is still our first aim and endeavour. I have watched with a proud and grateful heart the unvarying enthusiasm with which all sections of My people have responded to every demand made upon them for this purpose, and, as they face the final tests which may yet be required to carry our efforts to fruition, I pray that Almighty God may vouchsafe to us His Blessing"

Then a Commission for proroguing the Parliament was read.

After which the LORD CHANCELLOR said:

MY LORDS, AND GENTLEMEN,—By virtue of His Majesty's Commission, under the Great Seal, to us and other Lords directed, and now read, we do, in His Majesty's Name and in obedience to His Commands, prorogue this. Parliament to Tuesday, the twelfth instant, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Tuesday, the twelfth instant.

End of the Seventh Session of the Thirtieth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in the eighth year of the Reign of His Majesty King George V.