HL Deb 05 November 1993 vol 549 cc1184-7

Her Majesty's most gracious Speech was then delivered to both Houses of Parliament by the Lord Chancellor (in pursuance of Her Majesty's Command) as follows:

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

"The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased to receive the state visits of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei and Her Majesty the Raja Isteri in November 1992 and His Excellency the President of the Portuguese Republic and Senhora Soares in April 1993. We look forward to receiving the state visit of His Majesty the Agong of Malaysia and Her Majesty the Raja Permaisuri this month. We were saddened by the death in July of Baudouin, King of the Belgians, after a reign of 42 years.

"The Duke of Edinburgh and I remember with pleasure our state visits to Malta in May, France in June and Germany in October 1992. I was also pleased to visit the European Parliament and the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in May, and I remember with satisfaction my visit to Canada in June 1992. We were pleased to pay a state visit to Hungary in May of this year; and to be present on the occasion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Cyprus, and to visit the Republic of Cyprus, in October.

"My Government have continued to make provision for the defence of the United Kingdom, including a substantial contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and to United Nations operations. They contributed to the successful outcome of the negotiations on the Chemical Weapons Convention. They began implementation of a programme to assist the safe and secure transport: of nuclear weapons due for dismantling in the former Soviet Union.

"My Government welcomed the Presidents of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Turkmenistan and Lithuania on official visits. My Government contributed to international action to assist the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, in particular their efforts to improve the safety of their civil nuclear plants.

"My Government worked for a peaceful solution to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, and gave full support to the efforts of the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia, under Lord Owen and Mr. Stoltenberg. They made a substantial contribution to international efforts to provide humanitarian relief to all those in need, particularly through the deployment of troops with the United Nations protection force.

"My Government ratified the Treaty of Maastricht in August. My Government ran a successful Presidency of the European Community in the second half of 1992. My Government brought the mid-term review of the Common Fisheries Policy to a satisfactory conclusion.

"At the European Council at Our Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, My Government successfully concluded the Single Market in all essential respects and reached agreements on future financing arrangements for the Community, on practical procedures for implementing the principle of subsidiarity, on a decision on Denmark which cleared the way for their second referendum and for Danish ratification of the Maastricht Treaty; and on the opening of accession negotiations with Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

"My Government have continued to work within the Community to ensure the effective operation of the Single Market and to promote budgetary discipline. My Government have helped to secure important changes in the Common Agricultural Policy.

"In June, the European Council at Copenhagen agreed that Central European Associate countries would, if they wished, become members of the Community as soon as they were ready.

"In Northern Ireland My Government have maintained their efforts to combat terrorism and to address social and economic issues. They have worked constructively with the government of the Republic of Ireland under the Anglo-Irish Agreement. They have also continued to encourage political progress and to promote talks involving the two Governments and the main Northern Ireland parties. My Government have continued to fight terrorism elsewhere.

"Members of the House of Commons,

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

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

"My Government have pursued firm financial policies which have successfully reduced inflation and brought about a resumption of economic growth, despite difficult trading conditions elsewhere in Europe.

"Legislation has been enacted to reduce the budget deficit and help ensure that the recovery is sustained. My Government have also implemented various measures to benefit business, tackle unemployment and foster the recovery. These have included substantial improvements in the provision of export credit and other positive steps to help exporters. A new control system has been put in place to ensure that the share of national income taken by public sector spending is reduced over the medium term.

"An Act has been passed to establish a National Lottery which will generate additional funding for the arts, sport, the heritage and charities.

"Legislation has been passed which will enable the criminal law to deal more effectively with financial crime, strengthen the powers of the courts to confiscate the proceeds of crime and provide more discretion for the courts in determining the appropriate sentence in particular cases.

"An Act has been passed which puts into place the legislative framework for My Government's policies of choice and diversity in education.

"Legislation has been passed to enable the private sector to operate railway services as part of My Government's commitment to increasing the role of the railways in meeting the country's transport needs.

"Legislation has been passed to enable British Coal to play its full role in preparation for privatisation.

"An Act has been passed to ensure the continued availability of terrorism insurance.

"Legislation has been enacted to maintain an additional rebate for holders of personal pensions aged 30 and over to ensure that wide choice and flexibility continue.

"An Act has been passed to fulfil a commitment to disabled people by setting up and funding two replacement Trusts for the Independent Living Fund, and by ensuring continued funding for the Motability scheme.

"Legislation has been passed to enable applications for asylum in the United Kingdom to be determined quickly and effectively and to amend the law relating to immigration appeals.

"An Act has been passed to facilitate the work of the Parliamentary Boundary Commission.

"Legislation has been enacted to increase United Kingdom representation in the European Parliament.

"Legislation has been enacted to extend the main elements of the Single European Market to most member states of the European Free Trade Association.

"Legislation has been passed to promote improvements in agricultural marketing.

"An Act has been passed to give new rights to leaseholders and to public sector tenants, and to establish an Urban Regeneration Agency.

"An Act has been passed to give new employment rights to individuals and to reform the law on trade unions.

"For Scotland measures have been enacted to amend the laws relating to bankruptcy and early release of prisoners.

"An Act has been passed for the establishment of a statutory Welsh Language Board and the introduction of Welsh language policies by public bodies serving Wales. Legislation has been enacted to authorise the construction of the Cardiff Bay Barrage.

"An Act has been passed to introduce a new pension scheme for the judiciary and to reduce the judicial retirement age to 70.

"Other important measures have been enacted.

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

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

After which the Lord Chancellor said:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, by virtue of Her Majesty's Commission which has been now read we do in Her Majesty's name, and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to the 18th day of this instant November, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Thursday, the 18th day of this instant November.