HL Deb 06 May 1955 vol 192 cc820-4

And afterwards Her Majesty's most gracious Speech was delivered to both Houses of Parliament by The Lord Chancellor (in pursuance of Her Majesty's Command) as followeth:

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

"I followed with the closest interest the visits which My dear Sister paid recently to My Peoples in the Caribbean Islands. The warmth of the welcome She received there was a source of great happiness to Me.

"Commonwealth Prime Ministers met in London in January. They reviewed the course of world affairs, and reaffirmed their Governments' resolve to do their utmost to ease international strain and to promote conditions in which real peace can grow and thrive. My Ministers were greatly heartened to learn how far their views upon the means of furthering these common purposes were shared by other Commonwealth Governments.

"My Government have continued to give full support to the United Nations, and are striving in the Disarmament Sub-Committee to secure agreement on a comprehensive and properly supervised plan for world-wide disarmament in order to prevent the overwhelming disaster of nuclear warfare.

"My Ministers attended meetings of the North Atlantic Council in December, when further plans for collective defence were approved.

"The ratification of the Paris Agreements is a matter of great satisfaction to My Government. These Agreements will end the occupation of Western Germany and will associate the German Federal Republic with the countries of the West. They will also provide a basis on which My Government hope to enter into fruitful negotiations with the Soviet Union.

"My Government welcome the improved prospect of the conclusion of the Austrian State Treaty.

"My Government have signed an Agreement which will promote a more intimate association between the United Kingdom and the European Coal and Steel Community.

"My Government have continued to support efforts to bring about peaceful relations between Israel and the Arab States.

"My Government have acceded to the Pact of Mutual Co-operation between Turkey and Iraq and have concluded thereunder a Special Agreement with Iraq to replace the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of Alliance of 1930. It is their belief that this Agreement will fortify friendly co-operation between the two countries, and thereby contribute to the security of the Middle East.

"My Government have continued their efforts to uphold the Geneva Agreements on Indo-China and took part in the Bangkok Conference, at which arrangements were carried forward under the Manila Treaty further to safeguard the security of South East Asia. My Government have also continued to encourage economic development in this area through the Colombo Plan.

"My Government have been greatly concerned at the dangers of the situation in the Formosa Strait. They have been in constant consultation with the various Governments concerned, in order to open the way for a peaceful settlement.

" I have been happy to learn of the agreement reached in the West Indies on the Plan for a British Caribbean Federation, which has enabled My Government to proceed with the next stages towards its achievement.

"Legislation has been passed to prolong the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts until 1960, and to provide an additional sum of £80 million to be spent under these Acts during the next five years.

"My Government have strengthened and reorganised My Forces, and have made clear their determination by all means in their power to deter aggression. To this end My Ministers have felt it their duty to continue the development and production of nuclear weapons.

"My Forces have discharged with devotion their many responsibilities throughout the world. Operations against the terrorists in Malaya and Kenya have been vigorously pursued.

"Legislation has been passed to effect an extensive revision of the Army and Air Force Acts.

"My Ministers have continued to strengthen the Civil Defence Services, and to review the many problems of home defence. They have taken steps to establish a Mobile Defence Corps as part of My Reserve Forces, and to train all members of My Forces in civil defence duties.

"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 have continued the policy of freeing trade and payments, and to this end have played a leading part in securing improvements in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and in promoting freer trade in Europe through the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.

"It is a source of great satisfaction to Me that My People's employment has been fully maintained. Fresh incentives have been given to production and to productive investment; and substantial programmes of road and rail development have been announced.

"Farmers and farm workers have laboured tirelessly to remedy the situation resulting from an exceptionally severe season. My Ministers have fixed price guarantees and grants for home food production, which should assure stability and encourage an increase in output where this would assist our balance of payments.

"War pensions and retirement pensions have been raised. Rates of benefit under the National Insurance and Industrial Injuries Schemes have been increased, and improvements made in the scales of National Assistance.

"My Government have approved a scheme, on lines agreed by the National Whitley Council, for the gradual introduction of equal pay for women doing equal work with men in the non-industrial Civil Service.

"The provision of houses, both for letting and owner-occupation, has been maintained at a high level. A measure has also been passed to facilitate the release of requisitioned houses, with safeguards for the present occupants.

"Legislation has been enacted to authorise further capital expenditure on the development of new towns.

"A measure has been passed to amend and consolidate the law relating to crofting, and provide for the appointment of a Crofters' Commission. Legislation has also been enacted to authorise additional grants for the herring industry, and to simplify the procedure for assisting the construction and improvement of fishery harbours.

"Local Education Authorities in England and Wales are responding to My Ministers' request to put in hand a five-year programme for reorganising schools in rural areas. Special grants have been made for the expansion of facilities for technological education.

"An Act has been passed to protect the youth of the country from the influence of certain harmful publications.

"In furtherance of an International Convention legislation has been enacted to strengthen the law relating to the prevention of pollution of the sea by oil.

"The recommendations of the Royal Commission on Scottish Affairs are now being carried out.

"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, we do, in Her Majesty's name, and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Tuesday, the 10th day of this instant May, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Tuesday, the 10th day of this instant May.

End of the Fourth Session of the Fortieth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the fourth year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The Parliament was dissolved by Royal Proclamation on Friday, 6th May, 1955.