Ceremony marks end of parliamentary year

Royal Commission During prorogation, representatives of the Queen repeatedly doff their hats in an elaborate ritual

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The parliamentary session has ended in its traditional prorogation ceremony, ahead of the Queen's Speech re-opening Parliament on Wednesday 8 May.

As Parliament prorogued, MPs and peers were notified of a number of bills that have now reached the statute book after receiving royal assent.

The list included a bill containing the government's "shares-for-rights" scheme, which had been the subject of a stand-off between MPs and peers.

Peers had twice thrown out the plan.

But they backed down after ministers introduced concessions to the Growth and Infrastructure Bill.

One amendment will mean that employees must be given independent advice, paid for by their employers, before they can legally agree to give away some of their employment rights in exchange for at least £2,000 of shares.

A further concession introduces a seven-day cooling-off period for prospective owner-employees.

A separate bill reforming the law of defamation, which had also been subject to prolonged disagreement between the two Houses of Parliament, has also been given royal assent.

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