MERCURY


The Queen's Speech 2021: what time is it on and what to expect

The Government will set out its legislative agenda for the new parliamentary session in the Queen's Speech on Tuesday, but the ceremony will be different to normal because of coronavirus restrictions. This is what will happen, and what to expect: What time is the Queen's speech? This year’s Queen’s Speech will take place on Tuesday, May 11, and is expected to be delivered between 11am and 12:30pm, with exact timings yet to be confirmed. The speech, delivered by Her Majesty, is drawn up in close consultation with the Government and outlines the laws ministers hope to pass in the coming year. The State Opening of Parliament is officially triggered after the Queen reads out her speech from a throne in the House of Lords. The speech normally lasts around 10 minutes. Will it be affected by Covid rules? This year’s Queen Speech will look a bit different due to Covid restrictions and a slimmed-down guest list. As per tradition, the speech and ceremony will take place in the House of Lords Chamber, but only 74 people will be allowed to watch from the main Lords chamber. An additional 34 MPs and peers will also be watching from the Royal Gallery. Traditionally Robert Buckland, in his role as Lord Chancellor, would hand the speech to the Queen for her to read out - instead, he will place it on a table. All those attending will be required to wear a mask and produce a negative Covid test in advance of the ceremony. There will be no horse-drawn carriages this year - the Queen will instead travel to and from Parliament in a Bentley state limousine. The traditional military presence and guard of honour will be absent from this year’s proceedings. What will be in the speech? Boris Johnson is expected to introduce long-awaited legislation to reform social care. It is unclear what details the reform will take, but the proposals are expected to be mentioned within the context of an NHS reform bill which will see a merging of local community services with the nationwide system. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - which grants police in England and Wales greater powers to shut down protests - will be reintroduced after it was shelved following a string of ‘Kill The Bill’ protests in Bristol and other parts of the UK earlier this year. The speech is also likely to include a national security bill - legislation that will make it easier to crack down on foreign agents in the UK. Mr Johnson is expected to axe the Fixed Term Parliaments Act - first introduced under the Cameron-Clegg coalition government in 2011 - which would restore the PM’s power to call early general elections. New laws on Northern Ireland legacy issues are expected to be announced, which will ban the prosecution of Northern Ireland veterans and former IRA members alike. A new Sovereign Borders Bill designed to toughen up the asylum system is likely to be announced. Stricter measures to combat voter fraud including proof of identification are expected to be introduced in an Elections Integrity Bill . In a bid to raise animal welfare standards, animals “with a backbone” will have their right to happiness enshrined in law as part of the new Animal Sentience Bill. The Telegraph will be liveblogging the ceremony.

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