Today is the big day, Parliament reopens and the Queen will be visiting for the State Opening of Parliament.
The pomp and ceremony will be wound down from the usual with the Queen being driven in a State Bentley Limousine rather than the horse-drawn carriage. There will be no military marches and only 74 people will be allowed in the Lords Chamber with 34 MPs and Peers being able to watch from the Royal Gallery.
Everyone attending needs to do a test and wear a mask and the usual big name diplomatic guests will not be appearing this year.
Robert Buckland the Justice Secretary will still be in his ceremonial garb and while he would ordinarily hand the speech to the Queen before stepping backwards to his place (always a fear of falling at this moment!) he will instead be placing the item on a table.
Lots expected in the Speech, from carry-overs of last year to brand new bills.
It all begins at 11:15 so keep an eye on your TV – Black Rod will still be facing a slammed door!
In the Commons
After the speech the debates begin and we fully expect the brand new Conservative MP, Jill Mortimer to be making an appearance (even if she doesn’t give her maiden speech).
A debate on a humble address to the Queen will then take place, thanking her for the speech, this is the part usually opened by backbenchers, traditionally an old member and a young member, you may know it best as Dennis Skinner making snarky comments but he can’t this year as he doesn’t have a seat anymore… However do expect some light humour.
Any important Ministerial statements will follow (none expected so far but maybe something on Jersey!) and then we’ll see back and forth between the PM and Sir Keir Starmer, followed by cabinet members of either side and debates as normal over the rest of the day and coming days. This will include any amendments proposed and selected by the Speaker.
Parliament will still have an adjournment debate – this is expected to be Sir David Amess, with a debate on having a national memorial for the forces sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynn. You can enjoy some of her talent below…
The Lords will also be debating the Queen’s speech after the State Opening
There will be both Select Committee and Lords Committees meeting from 2pm on land management, veterans, freedom of expression online, lessons from Greensill Capital (get your popcorn ordered for later in the week!) and the work of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.