Great Britain

What time is the Queen’s Speech today and what will she say?

Queen Elizabeth II will once more preside over the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday with a speech laying out the government’s legislative priorities for the year ahead.

Her Majesty will give a 10-minute address to the House of Lords, with much of the customary pomp and ceremony of the occasion stripped away as a precaution against Covid-19, in which she will outline 30 laws ministers hope to pass over the coming months.

As is customary, the Queen’s 67th such address has been prepared for her by No 10 and is expected to detail Boris Johnson’s plans to “build back better” from the coronavirus pandemic and “level up” opportunities across the country.

Here’s everything you need to know about the occasion.

What time will the Queen speak?

Today’s ceremony will take place in Westminster between 11am and 12.30pm, with Her Majesty expected to commence her speech around 11.30am.

You can follow this morning’s events as they happen via The Independent’s UK politics liveblog.

What will she say?

The Queen’s Speech will outline the government’s plans to bounce back from the damage done to the economy by a year of lockdowns, focusing on jobs, the recovery, the future of the NHS and Britain’s climate commitments.

It is expected to introduce long-awaited social care reforms, probably as part of a broader NHS reform bill attempting to better fold local services into the national system that will restore decision-making power to ministers.

It is also likely to confirm the continuation of a number of bills carrying over from the last parliamentary year, including the highly controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which was shelved following a string of “Kill The Bill” protests in Bristol and other parts of the UK this spring, opposed to its empowering police in England and Wales to shut down protests and demonstrations.

The Armed Forces Bill and Environment Bill are also set to return (with one eye on the Cop26 summit taking place in Glasgow this November), while the government has also already confirmed it will introduce legislation to improve the building safety regulatory regime, reform the asylum system and repeal the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

This last was introduced under the David Cameron-Nick Clegg coalition government in 2011 and its axing would restore the power of prime ministers to call early general elections when they consider it to be to their advantage to do so.

We might also get word of a new national security bill, new measures to address Northern Ireland legacy issues, renters’ rights, animal welfare and voter fraud, the trailed Elections Integrity Bill striking a distinctly Trumpian note.

Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn offers his own analysis on what we can expect here.

What are ministers saying?

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said the Queen’s Speech will be “jam-packed” with measures to “level up” the country, again deploying the new favourite Downing Street phrase.

Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, Mr Hancock said the government remained committed to long-term reform of adult social care in England but declined to say when it would publish proposals.

“This is an incredibly important area. We are committed to bringing forward reforms on social care - we are committed to that in our manifesto,” he said.

“We will be bringing forward a long-term plan for reform of social care. As we come out of Covid, so we can return to delivering on those manifesto commitments that we made.

“We have seen the importance of social care through this crisis. That has strengthened the need for reform, the need for integration with the NHS.”

But speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy accused Mr Johnson’s Cabinet of inaction over its “levelling up” agenda, saying it had been outlining the same plans “for 11 years” and produced “very little action”.

Commenting on the government’s intention to announce a skills “revolution”, which will allow people to retrain after the pandemic, she said: “It’s great to hear that they want people to be able to retrain, but where are the jobs that people need, the good quality jobs, not just the jobs, but the good quality jobs that allow people to earn decent money to look after their families, and to be able to spend in their local communities and on their high streets that sustain all of the things that we really care about?

“That’s what we need to hear from the government today. I hope that they come forward with a plan. So far we’ve had very, very little in detail about whether they have a plan or not.”

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