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King’s Speech – live: New laws on oil, smoking and football as Charles III makes first State Opening

Seven pieces of legislation will be carried over into the next parliamentary session

Maryam Zakir-Hussain,Andy Gregory
Tuesday 07 November 2023 21:11 GMT
King Charles and Camila meet officials on state visit to Kenya

A raft of new laws – including measures on oil and gas licences, the establishment of a new football regulator, and moves to phase out cigarette smoking – have been included in the King’s Speech.

The proposed legislation was announced by King Charles III as he addressed Parliament in his first State Opening, as the monarch set out Rishi Sunak’s government’s policy agenda for the year ahead.

It is the first such speech King Charles III has made since assuming the throne last year. It is also the first of Mr Sunak’s tenure in No 10 – and most likely the last prior to an expected general election next year.

The speech revealed Mr Sunak’s plans to make law and order a key election battleground, with a series of measures promising tougher sentences for killers and rapists.

Mr Sunak has also introduced new legislation to expand the use of self-driving vehicles – which clear the way for buses and lorries to operate autonomously by the end of the decade.


Andy Burnham urges Sunak to save HS2 Manchester airport link in King’s Speech

Andy Burnham and other northern leaders have urged Rishi Sunak to use the upcoming King’s Speech to save a stretch of the HS2 rail project between central Manchester and the city’s airport.

The Labour mayor of Greater Manchester said the PM’s decision to scrap the northern leg – first revealed by The Independent – was a “hammer blow”, but still hopes the key section can be built.

He and others are urging the PM to bring back legislation sanctioning HS2 infrastructure so work can begin on a new link between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester airport which could be used by east-west projects across the North.

Andy Burnham urges Sunak to save HS2 Manchester link in King’s Speech

Exclusive: Labour mayor, council bosses and rail chiefs ask PM to bring back legislation for high-speed link

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 November 2023 07:48

Impact of the King’s Speech will last until the next century, Rishi Sunak suggests

The upcoming King’s Speech will help build a “better future” for Britain for the rest of this century, Rishi Sunak has said.

As he prepares to unveil what is on course to be his last programme for government as prime minister, Mr Sunak said the speech would stimulate the economy and strengthen society, and suggested its legacy would last seven decades.

Mr Sunak also pledged to bring forward bills that help people feel safer “in their own communities” and instil a pride in the “place they call home” on Tuesday.

The King’s Speech will be seen as an indication of Mr Sunak’s priorities ahead of the general election, which must be held by January 2025.

impact of the King’s Speech will last until the next century, Rishi Sunak suggests

Plan for government will stimulate the economy and allow people to feel safer in their communities, PM says

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 November 2023 07:52

Justice secretary says planned criminal justice reforms about ‘head as well as heart'

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said the planned criminal justice reforms, due to be set out in the King’s Speech, were about “head as well as heart”.

“It’s something that I’ve been talking about for a long time because I’m a barrister by background, I’ve seen this stuff,” he told Times Radio.

“This is about head as well as it is about heart. This is about ensuring that I don’t want you, I don’t want your family, I don’t want my family, to be victims of crime.

“So what I want to ensure is that people who are the greatest threat to you and your family are kept out of circulation for longer... but those who are capable of being rehabilitated should be rehabilitated. And that seems to me to be smart.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 November 2023 08:03

Alex Chalk rejects suggestion King’s Speech measures are focused on general election

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk rejected the suggestion that the measures in the King’s Speech were focused on a general election, expected next year.

He told LBC: “I would respectfully disagree. You’re right, there is a general election in the air, that’s correct.

“A lot of the things that we are doing are things that we have been thinking about for some time. So I myself personally, when I wasn’t in government last year, I was speaking at the Conservative Party conference, and a lot of what we’re going to do, they’re the very measures that I was talking about then.

“These are things that people like me and others have been thinking about, have been working out, have been doing the intellectual groundwork on and we’re now going to bring them into force.”

(PA Wire)
Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 November 2023 08:19

King’s Speech 2023: Charles and Black Rod’s roles in the State Opening of Parliament explained

On Tuesday, King Charles will deliver his first State Opening of Parliament as monarch – an event that has been long been steeped in custom, pomp and pageantry.

The event marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and sets out the government’s proposed policies and legislation for the 2023-24 session.

The late Queen Elizabeth II delivered the speech a total of 67 times during her reign and only missed it only a handful of times including the year of her death last year. Charles delivered a speech on behalf of his mother in May 2022.

He will now be embracing traditions that have been in place since the 16th century for the first time as monarch. Here’s all of the pomp and pageantry to expect from the event…

All of the pomp and pageantry surrounding the King at the State Opening of Parliament

The event marks Charles’s first time delivering the opening speech as monarch

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 November 2023 08:30

Suella Braverman plan to stop tents for homeless people junked from Kings Speech by No 10

Home secretary Suella Braverman’s plan to restrict charities from giving out tents to homeless people has been junked from the King’s Speech by No 10.

Rishi Sunak is uncomfortable with the language used by Ms Braverman after she was roundly condemned for describing said rough sleeping “lifestyle choice”, The Independent understands.

The right-wing cabinet minister had proposed establishing a civil offence to deter charities from providing tents to homeless people in need.

Suella Braverman plan to stop tents for homeless people junked from Kings Speech

Rishi Sunak refused to back his home secretary’s much-criticised claim rough-sleeping a ‘lifestyle choice’

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 November 2023 08:43

The King’s Speech: What are the good, the bad and the ugly bills of parliament’s next session?

Laudable and well received as many of these government initiatives will be, it’s difficult to see them making many switch their vote before a potential January 2025 election, writes Sean O’Grady:

His Majesty the King will shortly deliver his first Most Gracious Address as head of state, to parliament, commonly known as the King’s Speech. As ever, the text has been prepared by his ministers.

As part of the ceremonial aspects of the constitution, it goes back, in some form or other, for many centuries, and is a small reminder that we remain a constitutional monarchy and not a populist dictatorship in a system of one-party rule.

Politically, its significance lies in how it sets the tone as well as the practical programme for the forthcoming session of parliament. Given that the next general election must be held by January 2025, it’s necessarily going to be lighter than if it were being made by a change of government straight after a general election.

It also has to be less controversial, so that Tory party unity is preserved more easily and the bills actually get passed.

The King’s Speech: a medley of bills with no unifying theme

Laudable and well received as many of these government initiatives will be, it’s difficult to see them making many switch their vote before a potential January 2025 election, writes Sean O’Grady

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 November 2023 09:13

Anti-monarchy protestors stage major demonstration ahead of King’s Speech

Campaign group Republic is to stage its first major anti-monarchy demonstration in London since its members were arrested on the day of the King’s coronation.

A few hundred people are expected to gather near the House of Parliament during the first state opening of the King’s reign today.

The Metropolitan Police was criticised after six Republic members were detained ahead of a pre-agreed coronation protest on May 6.

Chief executive Graham Smith, who is now taking legal action against the Met, was among those held for more than 14 hours under the sweeping powers of the new Public Order Act.

Mr Smith said Tuesday’s protest was about the place of the Crown in parliament and the “ramshackle state of our constitution”.

“Our parliament is opened by a king wearing a crown while sitting in the Lords,” he said.

“It is just weird we continue with this pantomime that celebrates the worst, least democratic aspects of our political system.”

Anti-Monarchy pressure group Republic fly "Not My King" flags in protest outside the Palace of Westminster (PA)
Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 November 2023 09:40

In pictures: Guests await the State Opening of Parliament

Baroness Floella Benjamin and other members of the House of Lords (PA)
Princess Antonia, Duchess of Wellington (PA)
Lord Michael Grade (PA)
Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 November 2023 10:12

Leading LGBT+ charity criticises ditching of Conversion Therapy Ban from King’s speech

Leading LGBT+ charity Stonewall has criticised the fact the Conversion Therapy Ban will not be included in the King’s speech.

Robbie de Santos, of Stonewall, said: “The UK Government’s failure to deliver a ban on conversion practices after five years of promises is an act of frightful negligence - in doing so, it has given the green light for the abuse against LGBTQ+ people to continue unchecked.

“Rather than getting mired in a cynical cultural war, the UK Government should be making decisions based on what the evidence and expertise said. England and Wales’ 1.5 million LGBTQ+ people, and their families, deserve better.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 November 2023 10:50

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