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House of Commons

Thursday 16 November 1989

The House met at half-past Nine o'clock


[M r. Speaker-- in the Chair ]

Message to attend the Lords Commissioners :

The House went :--and, having returned :

Royal Assent

10.8 am

Mr. Speaker : I have to acquaint the House that the House has been to the House of Peers where a Commission under the Great Seal was read , authorising the Royal Assent to the following Acts : Brunei (Appeals) Act 1989

Football Spectators Act 1989

Employment Act 1989

Self-Governing Schools etc. (Scotland) Act 1989

Companies Act 1989

Children Act 1989

Local Government and Housing Act 1989

Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1989

Opticians Act 1989

Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989

Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Act 1989

Midland Metro Act 1989

International Westminster Bank Act 1989

British Railways (Penalty Fares) Act 1989

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Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech

Mr. Speaker : I have further to acquaint the House that the Lord High Chancellor, one of the Lord Commissioners, delivered Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, in pursuance of Her Majesty's Command. For greater accuracy, I have obtained a copy and also directed that the terms of the speech be printed in the Votes and Proceedings. Copies are being made available in the Vote Office.

The Gracious Speech was as follows :

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

The Duke of Edinburgh and I were pleased to receive the State Visits of His Excellency the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Mrs. Babangida in May and His Highness the President of the United Arab Emirates in July. We were pleased to receive the visit in June of Her Majesty The Queen of the Netherlands and His Royal Highness Prince Claus of the Netherlands to mark the conclusion of the William and Mary Tercentenary. We were also pleased to receive His Excellency the General Secretary and President of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Mrs. Gorbachev in April, and the President of the United States of America and Mrs. Bush in June. We recall with pleasure our visit to Barbados in March to mark the 350th Anniversary of the House of Assembly there. We remember with satisfaction our State Visits last month to Singapore and Malaysia, where I was also present on the occasion of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

My Government have continued to play an active role in the important improvement which has taken place in relations between East and West, and particularly in the negotiations which led to the successful conclusion of the Vienna Review Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe.

My Government have welcomed and encouraged the significant and liberalising changes which have taken place in Poland and Hungary, and in the Soviet Union.

My Government have continued to improve the United Kingdom's defences. They have played a full part in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and have promoted United Kingdom and Western security interests outside the NATO area.

My Government have continued to work for the achievement of balanced and verifiable arms control agreements. They have played a full part in the Vienna negotiations on reducing conventional forces in Europe and in the talks in Geneva on the abolition of chemical weapons. They have continued to co-operate with the United States over the removal of cruise missiles from the United Kingdom under the terms of the treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union on intermediate range nuclear forces.

My Government have continued to play a full and active role in progress towards the completion of the European Community's single market, and have encouraged business to prepare for the opportunities and challenges that this presents. They have, with our European Community partners, reaffirmed their commitment to the progressive realisation of economic and monetary union, and agreed that its first stage should begin on 1 July 1990. They have, with our European Community partners, established a Court of

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First Instance attached to the European Court of Justice. They have continued to play a full part in multilateral negotiations designed to liberalise international trade.

My Government have welcomed the completion of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and have continued to work for the restoration of that country's independence and non-aligned status. They have contributed to the implementation of the United Nations plan for Namibian independence.

My Government have welcomed the return of Pakistan to the Commonwealth.

My Government have maintained a substantial overseas aid programme to developing countries, including emergency assistance to alleviate the effects of natural disasters in many parts of the world. My Government have continued their vigorous efforts to combat international terrorism. They have signed, subject to ratification, a new United Nations convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. They have concluded reciprocal agreements or arrangements with a further seven Governments to combat trafficking in drugs.

My Government, together with our Western partners, have taken measures to express their concern at the suppression of the democracy movement in China. They have worked to restore confidence in Hong Kong, building on the foundation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. My Government have stood by their commitment to the people of the Falkland Islands, while making good progress in normalising relations with Argentina.

Members of the House of Commons

I thank you for the provision which you have made for the honour and dignity of the Crown and for the public service.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

My Government have continued to pursue firm financial policies designed to bear down on inflation and to foster the conditions necessary for sustained economic growth. They have made a public sector debt repayment for the second successive year, thus permanently reducing the cost of debt service. National output and living standards have continued to increase, and the number of people out of work has fallen further.

As part of my Government's programme to improve incentives and the performance of the economy, employees' national insurance contributions have been reformed and reduced and the taxation of life assurance and pensions has been reformed.

Legislation has been enacted to improve water quality and the water environment, to establish the National Rivers Authority and to provide for the sale of the utility functions of the water authorities in England and Wales. An Act has been passed to provide for the sale of the electricity supply industry in Great Britain. These measures continue my Government's programme of encouraging greater industrial efficiency and promoting wider share ownership. Measures have been passed to improve the law on companies, mergers and financial services.

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Legislation has been enacted to abolish royalties on post-1982 oil and gas fields in the Southern basin and onshore, and to enable my Government to give effect to the United Kingdom- Irish agreement on the delimitation of the Continental Shelf.

An Act has been passed to end the statutory regulation of dock work.

Legislation has been enacted further to promote sex equality in employment and to remove outdated restrictions on the employment of young people.

An Act has been passed to reform the law on the conduct of local authority business, on local government capital and housing finance, and on the repair and improvement of the housing stock.

An Act has been passed to counter hooliganism at football matches in this country and abroad.

The Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984 has been re- enacted with strengthened provisions to curtail the funding of terrorist activity.

An Act has been passed to reform and replace section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911.

Legislation has been enacted to place the Security Service on a statutory basis under the authority of the Secretary of State. An Act has been passed to extend the entitlement of British citizens living overseas to vote in parliamentary elections held here, and to increase the limit on candidates' expenses in United Kingdom parliamentary by-elections.

Acts have been passed to improve the law governing the care and protection of children in England and Wales, and to regulate arrangements for human organ transplants.

Legislation has been enacted to modify the driver licensing system and to provide for new systems giving route guidance to drivers. In Northern Ireland, my Government have continued their efforts to combat terrorism, and to promote economic development. They have maintained constructive relations with the Republic of Ireland. Acts have been passed to strengthen the law on fair employment, and to extend the franchise for local elections and require from candidates a declaration against terrorism.

For Scotland, legislation has been enacted to privatise the Scottish Bus Group and to extend parental choice in education by establishing arrangements for schools to be managed outside local authority control.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may attend you. Thereafter a Commission for proroguing the Parliament was read, after which the Lord Chancellor said :

"My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, By virtue of Her Majesty's Commission which has now been read we do, in Her Majesty's name, and in obedience to Her Majesty's Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Tuesday the twenty-first day of this instant November, to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Tuesday the twenty-first day of this instant November."

End of the Second Session (opened on 22 November 1988) of the Fiftieth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the Thirty-Eighth Year of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.

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