The State Opening of Parliament will take place on Tuesday 17 May 2005.

The
Queen's Speech is delivered by the Queen from the Throne in the House of
Lords. The speech is given in the presence of members of both Houses, the Commons
being summoned to hear the speech by an official known as 'Black Rod'.

Cabinet
ministers have agreed the legislative programme of forty new bills to be
delivered
in the Queen's Speech. Measures expected include:

 

  • a regulatory reform
    bill to reduce the cost of regulatory burden
  • a bill for a referendum
    on the European Constitution
  • a bill to introduce identity cards
  • reform
    of incapacity benefit to cut the numbers on sickness benefit
  • the extension
    of paid maternity leave and measures to help first time homebuyers
  • changes
    to immigration rules and further clamp down on false asylum claims
  • an
    overhaul of company law, expected to threaten incompetent auditors
    with jail
  • new anti-terror legislation, including the possible replacement
    of control
    orders such as house arrest.

     

On the afternoon of the State Opening, both Houses of
Parliament begin debates on the content of the speech, which go on
for anything up to a week. They normally coincide with key policy announcements
from Ministers
fleshing out the outline proposals included in the monarch's address.

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