Debate on the Address

The debate on the Royal Address, or Queen's Speech, is the first major debate of any parliamentary session and lasts for five or six days. It provides MPs and peers with an early opportunity to discuss the government's proposed programme for the year. Debate begins after the Royal Address has been moved by two backbench government MPs. These speeches will be non-party political and humorous and each Member will talk mainly about their constituency. The Leader of the Opposition then comments on the contents of the legislative programme, followed by the prime minister who defends the government's policies and proposals. The Leader of the third major party, being at present the Liberal Democrats, then responds, after which backbenchers may speak. A similar pattern is followed in the Lords. Traditionally, economic affairs are left until the last day, and the opening speech for the government on this day of the debate is made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

contributed by user Tom Loosemore