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First State Opening Of Parliament Since The Start Of The Pandemic Will Be Held On 11 May

First State Opening Of Parliament Since The Start Of The Pandemic Will Be Held On 11 May
2 min read

The government will set out its agenda for the next session of Parliament in a pared-down state opening ceremony and Queen’s Speech on 11 May, Downing Street has confirmed.

It will be the first Queen’s Speech to be held since the start of the coronavirus crisis. The last one took place on 19 December 2019 shortly after Boris Johnson’s landslide general election victory.

Officials say that the ceremony will be “adapted” in light of the pandemic with “reduced ceremonial elements and attendees to ensure it is COVID-secure”.

It’s expected that “significantly fewer” MPs and peers will be in attendance and no diplomatic or non-parliamentary guests will be invited

“While we are still in the middle of a pandemic this Queen’s Speech will look quite different, but it is important we take forward our plans and deliver policies to improve the lives of people across the country through a new Parliamentary session,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.

“We are working closely with Public Health England to ensure arrangements are COVID-secure.”

A number of Bills will be carried over from the previous Parliamentary session, including the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, the Environment Bill and the Armed Forces Bill.

Ministers have also previously confirmed that legislation to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, improve the building safety regulatory regime and reform the asylum system would be included in the next Queen’s Speech.

The date of prorogation ahead of the ceremony will be “confirmed in due course”, Downing Street said. 

The state opening of Parliament formally marks the start of the parliamentary year, while the Queen's Speech allows the government to set out its agenda for the coming session. 

Typically, the Queen holds a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster, where she proceeds to the House of Lords.

MPs are then summoned from the Commons to the Lords by the Black Rod to hear the Queen's address.

It is the only regular occasion when the three constituent parts of Parliament – the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons – meet.

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