Queen opens parliament

The state opening of parliament occured today
The state opening of parliament occured today

The Queen has outlined the government's legislation, surrounded by the pomp and ceremony of the opening of parliament.

Pressure groups, opposition parties and journalists were glued to their televisions for details of this year's legislation, but official events were overwhelmed by the controversy around Damian Green.

The shadow immigration minister was arrested last week by counter-terrorist police, and the furore over the move has dominated headlines since. The Speaker will make an announcement on the arrest at 14:30 GMT.

Today's Queen's Speech contained legislation related to policing, immigration, the NHS, equality and welfare reform.


The newly set-up draft Queen's Speech meant there were few surprises today.

An NHS constitution will outline patients' rights, and performance-related pay for hospitals will be implemented.

There will be further clampdowns on antisocial behaviour and binge drinking, almost certainly including action on cut-price drink offers in bars and supermarkets. Local councillors may be replaced by directly-elected police representatives in a reform of police authorities.

Legislation on sexual, gender, race and religious discrimination will be put into a single equality bill.

An 'earned citizenship' scheme will probably tag citizenship to 'good behaviour' and toughen up the citizenship test.

The immigration and citizenship bill could introduce ID cards by the back door by expanding powers to check identity documents to outside entry ports.

There will probably be improved pay and rights for agency workers.

MPs will be given the right to vote on going to war. Protest will be allowed around Parliament Square again, and the attorney general will lose the power to interfere in prosecutions.

New security laws will be applied to ships, and the coroners and death certification bill will allow for private coroner's inquests in national security cases.

And welfare reform will see single parents forced to search for work or risk losing their benefits. A plan to introduce lie detector tests for benefit claimants as part of a 'one-strike-and-you're-out' attitude was reported in this morning's Guardian newspaper.

A minor clampdown banks is likely, with the voluntary code of practice being made compulsory.
was involved in 11th-hour rewrites of the Speech, adapting anything that would hinder recovery in the business sector.

politics.co.uk has been covering events live since 11:00 GMT and will continue throughout the afternoon.

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