As it happened: Queen's Speech 2013

Key Points

  • The Queen has set out the government's plans for the year ahead
  • The speech came as part of the pomp and pageantry of the State Opening of Parliament
  • MPs in the House of Commons are now debating the government's plans

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    We're winding up our live Queen's Speech coverage now, but you can follow the Commons debate on the BBC's Democracy Live online, or on BBC Parliament on your TV. Thanks for joining us and don't forget that for an at-a-glance guide to all the bills announced by the Queen today, do check out our full bill-by-bill guide.


    As we head towards the end of our live coverage, here's BBC home affairs editor Mark Easton's blog on the power and majesty of the State Opening of Parliament - a fabulous piece of theatre dripping with symbolic meaning.


    With the general election now on the horizon, BBC political correspondent Robin Brant gives his take on today's speech here.


    Ed Miliband and David Cameron have had their say and now it is now the chance of backbenchers from all sides to give their verdicts on the Queen's Speech. Former Labour minister Dame Tessa Jowell is first up.

    1556: Paul Waugh, PoliticsHome

    tweets: Cam ended with what felt like an attempt to break the worldspeed record for CoalitionSoundBiteBingo 'work hard...get race'


    Winding up his defence of the Queen's Speech, Mr Cameron says the legislative programme will boost the country's competitiveness, reduce the deficit, support the hard-working and help Britain "win in the global race". He is cheered to the rafters by Conservative MPs as he sits down.


    Claiming that Labour has opposed every reform of benefits proposed by ministers, the PM says that the opposition has become the "party of welfare".


    Curbs on migrants' access to benefits are the centrepiece of the Queen's Speech, Mr Cameron says. The government's objective is to end the "something for nothing policy" it inherited from Labour, he claims.

    1551: Peter Holding, Southampton

    emails: Where is the detail for "strengthening the economy"? Is this yet another example of saying the phrase but having nothing to back it up with? What measures are going to be used to kick start growth? Why do we think that HS2 will answer a nation's needs? A contract which if history is observed, is likely to be awarded to a foreign company.


    The PM says the government is committed to tackling the problem of "deeply discounted" alcohol despite its apparent refusal to adopt a minimum unit price.

    1548: Sam Macrory, The House Magazine

    tweets: PM kicks 'Britain's Obama' Chuka Umunna. 'Can we change our Wikipedia entry? Yes we can!' Chuka scowls. Is he seen as a threat? #queensspeech


    David Cameron is now outlining the measures included in the Queen's Speech, saying the government will not "duck" tough challenges. Asked why plans to introduce plan cigarette packaging have been omitted, the PM says there has been a consultation and the issue is being "looked at carefully".


    Labour's policy is that borrowing is too high but they would still increase it, David Cameron says. He suggests Ed Miliband is in thrall to his shadow chancellor Ed Balls and has a history of not standing up to his colleagues and the unions. "The weak are a long time in politics", he jokes.

    1544: Celia Crossley, Colchester

    emails: I am a private landlord, letting out properties in cosmopolitan and economically vibrant Milton Keynes. I have often had East European tenants. I have found them to be exemplary tenants; never a problem paying on time, and when they leave the property is sparkling clean and in perfect condition. One tenant even paid to have the flat redecorated! I would like to know more about how private landlords would be able to check the legal status of "immigrant" tenants. If someone's skin is a different shade or their accent different do we assume they are an immigrant? How to enforce this new requirement without risking accusation of being racist?


    David Cameron refers to an interview Ed Miliband gave to BBC Radio 4's World At One programme last week in which he appeared to stumble over the issue of whether borrowing would rise under Labour. He jokes that the "world is at one that Labour's policy is a complete mess".


    Now moving onto domestic issues, David Cameron says the coalition is on the "right side" of the big issues of the day such as the economy, growth and welfare while Labour is on the "wrong side".


    In response to a question from senior Tory Sir Malcolm Rifkind about reports of a rift between Britain and China over Tibet and meetings with the Dalai Lama, the PM says the UK's policy has not changed and he wants a "strong and positive relationship" with China.

    1537: Sustain

    tweets: #Energy and #Water bill highlighted in #QueensSpeech Will this signal positive move forward on 'green' agenda?


    The UK's mission in Afghanistan is not "without end", the PM says. Turning to Syria, he says there is a growing body of "limited and persuasive" evidence that the Assad government is using chemical weapons.

    1534: Gill Lyon, Newton Abbot, Devon

    emails: As far as the flat rate pension is concerned, I think it's unfair that it only applies to those born after, I believe, 5th April 1951. People born before this have just as much need of the extra cash as those born after. Personally I will be missing out on around £40 a week - the flat rate should apply to everyone of pension age.


    The prime minister also praises Sir Alex Ferguson as a "remarkable man" and jokes that he could now act as a consultant in his retirement to Aston Villa, the team the PM supports.


    David Cameron now gets to his feet to reply to the Labour leader. Like Mr Miliband, he begins by paying tribute to British servicemen in Afghanistan and praises Peter Luff and Stephen Williams on their "excellent and courageous" speeches, which were "in the finest traditions of the House".

    1531: Stephen, UK/Australia

    emails: Limiting access to public services until new residents can prove a commitment to Britain brings us into line with many other countries, such as Australia, where immigration is encouraged but controlled. Having gone through Australia's immigration process something similar can only be a good thing for the UK, especially at a time when the country needs to share out employment opportunities for more people and bring in the skills we lack.


    Ed Miliband ends by claiming the coalition has wasted three years and has no answers to the problems facing the country.


    Referring to suggestions by a Tory MP that the Conservatives enter a pact with UKIP, Ed Miliband says the Tories "once called UKIP clowns but now want to join the circus". He says the Tories are "obsessed" with the issue of Europe and, referring to the UKIP leader, warns David Cameron "you cannot out-Farage Farage".


    David Cameron has "lost control of his party" and, repeating a criticism once made by Norman Lamont of John Major, Ed Miliband says the prime minister "is in office but not in power".

    1524: Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North

    tweets: Govt's proposals on immigration don't seem to say anything about tackling slum landlords that house migrant workers & charge excessive rents

    1524: Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow

    tweets: In #Queensspeech debate asked Milliband why he voted against Govt tax cut for 40,000 #Harlow lower earnrs+taking 3,000 out of tax altogether


    Mr Miliband moves onto things that were left out of the Queen's Speech. He says plain packaging for cigarettes is "good for public health and the country" and suggests the decision to omit it was influenced by the party's new campaign director Lynton Crosby.


    Tory MPs are pressing Ed Miliband to explain Labour's policy on borrowing, claiming no-one understands what it is. But the opposition leader says ministers have presided over a £245bn rise in borrowing.


    The Labour leader acknowledges public concerns over immigration but says the government's proposals are "limited" and have been put forward before. He calls for action to prevent the under-cutting of the minimum wage and businesses hiring only foreign workers.

    1517: The Children's Society

    tweets: Anti-social behaviour measures in #QueensSpeech risk being sticking plaster that criminalises children:


    Moving onto specific proposals, Ed Miliband says the Queen's Speech will do little to help small businesses get access to loans, or help families with the squeeze on their living standards. He calls for action on train fares, payday loans and housing shortages.

    1514: Terry Scott, Crawley

    emails: How long will it be before EU countries decide that enough UK citizens have migrated to their countries and a "reverse" policy by them is brought in?


    Ed Miliband says the government has a "reality problem". He uses an intervention by two Tory members to confirm Labour's plan for a temporary VAT cut will increase borrowing, but he says this is preferable to the coalition's austerity drive.


    Ed Miliband says the Conservatives have failed to understand the message sent by voters in last week's local elections. He says the Tories have variously "insulted, ignored and imitated" the UK Independence Party.


    The Labour leader is now onto the substance of the Queen's Speech. "The country has big problems, but this Queen's Speech has no answers," he says, claiming the government has run out of ideas.


    As is tradition on these occasions, Ed Miliband is now complimenting Peter Luff and Stephen Williams on their speeches. He also pays tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson, a longstanding Labour member, describing him as "a great supporters of the reds" and the most successful football manager of all time.


    Labour leader Ed Miliband is now on his feet. He starts by remembering British soldiers killed on duty in Afghanistan and Labour MPs who have died over the past year.


    Mr Williams say europhile MPs need to make the case for the benefits of EU membership with greater urgency. He finishes by reflecting that one of his predecessors in his Bristol West constituency was philosopher and historian Edmund Burke and jokes what the great man would have made of policy being dictated by focus and pressure groups.


    Mr Williams praises initiatives in the Queen's Speech on housing, education and tax but says he would like to have seen more being done to stop young people taking up smoking.


    It is now Lib Dem Stephen Williams' turn. The MP, who is gay, talks about his upbringing and musical tastes. He jokes that his favourite song is Abba's Dancing Queen, but suggests he has not found his Prince Charming yet.


    Tory MP Peter Luff ends his speech by quoting Stanley Baldwin, a native son of Worcestershire, about the need to depart the political stage when the time comes with a minimum of fuss - echoes of John Major's 1997 resignation there.


    Mr Luff praises the coalition government as a "sensible, mainstream" response to the problems facing the country. However, he has a little dig at Nick Clegg, suggesting the Lib Dem leader has taken credit for policies proposed and supported by Conservatives.


    Mr Luff speaks about the charms of Worcestershire, where he is an MP, suggesting it is the heart of England and noting its connections to the eponymous sauce and the BBC radio soap opera the Archers.


    It really is a memorable day for Mr Luff. Not only has he been given a chance to speak on one of the Parliament's most high-profile days, but it is also his 31st wedding anniversary.


    Mr Luff jokes that he has just rebelled against his party for the first time in 21 years - before observing that it was merely an abstention rather than a vote against the government.


    The first reference of the day to Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement as Manchester United manager. Mr Luff, who is standing down as an MP at the next election, says his departure will not cause as many ripples as Fergie's - to which MPs reply "shame".


    Peter Luff says he is honoured to have been asked by the chief whip to move the Loyal Address, but is a little worried that it has cast him in the role of an "old buffer".


    Mr Bercow says MPs will have five days to debate the Queen's Speech, covering areas ranging from the economy and the cost of living to social care and crime.


    Commons Speaker John Bercow opens proceedings by reminding MPs about their conduct in the chamber and their obligation to "exercise responsibility in the public interest". He also praises the staff of the House of Commons - which gets a resounding cheer from MPs.

    1434: Rosie Luff, daughter of Conservative MP Peter Luff

    tweets: Less than 30 mins until the nation gets to see my Old Man - Worcestershire's finest - proposing the Queen's Speech in the House of Commons.


    The introductory speeches are often humorous in tone and allow MPs to let off steam before the more serious business begins. Before that, however, the newly elected Labour member for South Shields - Emma Lewell-Buck - is being sworn in in the Commons chamber.


    After every State Opening of Parliament, one backbench MP is asked to propose the loyal address and another gets the chance to second it. Traditionally, the former is a longstanding, respected member of the Commons while the latter is something of a rising star. This year Conservative Peter Luff and Lib Dem Stephen Williams respectively have been given the opportunity to shine.


    David Cameron and Ed Miliband are due to lock horns over the Queen's Speech in the Commons at about 15:10 BST. Before that, two MPs will open proceedings in one of Parliament's historic traditions.


    Some business groups aren't satisfied with the Queen's Speech. The Institute of Directors says the government has missed its "last chance" to give enterprise a shot in the arm before the next election.


    Conservative MP Dominic Raab says the message is clear - Britain wants to attract the best and brightest migrants, but it expects them to be able to look after themselves, something that is "common sense".


    Former Labour home secretary David Blunkett tells the BBC while the objective of checking tenants' and NHS patients' immigration status is "perfectly right", in practice it can be very cumbersome.


    The Electoral Reform Society Wales has welcomed a Wales Draft Bill in the Queen's Speech. It would allow Assembly candidates to stand on both constituency and regional lists - and move the Assembly from four to five-year fixed terms. Its director Steve Brooks said "the ban on dual candidacy should never have been introduced".

    1410: Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake

    tweets: The pensions bill will make saving for retirement simpler and fairer, encouraging saving. #QueensSpeech

    1404: Philip L Milne

    tweets: @Number10gov #QueensSpeech "helping people move from welfare to work" - this would really require a serious increase to minimum wage

    1400: Liberal Democrat MP Mark Hunter

    tweets: Today's Queens Speech a big step forward towards a stronger economy and a fairer society


    Former Labour cabinet minister Peter Hain hails Sir Alex Ferguson's "nice timing" on retiring as Man Utd manager, suggesting on Twitter that the news "obliterates" the government's Queen's Speech.

    1351: The Labour Party

    tweets: Want to know how Labour's #QueensSpeech would have looked? @angelaeagle sets it out here


    BBC political editor Nick Robinson admits he made a mistake when he said earlier that the Queen's Speech was written on vellum, a type of mammal skin, and so could not be a response to the local elections because the ink took three days to dry. Apparently financial constraints mean the speech it is now written on "goat's skin parchment paper", which contains no actual goat skin. However, he says Downing Street has confirmed that the ink still took three days to dry.


    A lack of plans for a statutory register of lobbyists has not gone down well with lobbying organisations. The CIPR, PRCA and APPC describe it as "incredibly disappointing" and say they need "clarity" from the government about its intentions.

    1337: Labour MP Owen Smith

    tweets: The Queen's Speech was a missed opportunity and a measure of how quickly the Tory-led Government has run out of ideas

    1334: Conservative MP David Rutley

    tweets: #Queen's Speech addresses important priorities on #immigration, #deregulation, #anti-social behaviour and #education. Positive agenda


    A heated clash between Labour's Chris Bryant and Tory MP Nadim Zahawi on BBC Radio 4's The World at One over immigration. Mr Bryant accuses the coalition of "dog whistle" politics - sending coded messages to racists. Mr Zahawi attacks Labour's record saying it failed to get a grip on the issue when in power.


    Labour's Chris Bryant claims the Queen's Speech is so thin it is "practically translucent".


    Plans to make private landlords check the immigration status of their tenants are "very complex" and will encourage "irresponsible" landlords to flourish, Chris Town of the Residential Landlords Association warns ministers on the World at One.

    1326: Labour MP Barry Gardiner

    tweets: Just met the fabulous students from Kingsbury High School in St James Park. They'd been to see the Queen!


    Eurosceptic Tory MP Douglas Carswell says he was "disappointed" not to see a bill paving the way for an EU referendum in the speech, but it was "not the end of the world".


    Tory MP Douglas Carswell tells BBC Radio 4's World at One the Queen's Speech was the sort of programme you would expect from a government that had been in power for many years, not just three, suggesting there were not enough proposed new laws.


    Vince Cable rejects claims the Queen's Speech is a "bit thin", saying there are "some really major bills" which will "change the landscape for Parliaments to come".

    1320: Labour MP Seema Malhotra

    tweets: #Queen'sSpeech has 18 Bills- 3 carry overs & 2 draft bills. Is this a Govt that likes being in power, but has no plan 4 our big challenges?


    Vince Cable admits a previous National Insurance holiday for businesses has been of "limited value" but insists the plans announced in the Queen's Speech are "much broader".


    Business Secretary Vince Cable tells BBC Radio 4's World at One the "precise mechanism" of how migrants will pay for NHS care - or whether doctors or nurses will be expected to check passports - has yet to be worked out.


    Green Party MP Caroline Lucas describes the Queen's Speech as a "reactionary agenda from the most incompetent government of recent times" and accuses the coalition of "turning a blind eye to the climate crisis and rocketing inequality".


    Lobby group The Taxpayers' Alliance welcomes the decision not to enshrine in law David Cameron's pledge to spend 0.7% of national income on what it calls "wasteful and corrupt foreign aid projects" - but attacks plans to push ahead with High Speed 2 rail, which it says is a "vanity project" offering poor value for money.

    1304: Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP for Chatham & Aylesford

    tweets: Really pleased that Queen's Speech includes Mesothelioma Bill. V important step forward for sufferers of this horrible fatal condition

    1301: Adam Uren, This is Money

    tweets: Flat rate state pension confirmed in #QueensSpeech - good for public sector workers, bad for many private

    1257: Julie, Leicester

    emails: I wrote to my MP, Andrew Rowbothan, several years ago about charging visitors, immigrants for using the NHS and, hopefully, at last something is happening. The NHS would save millions if we stop giving it away to anyone and everyone, we are the laughing stock of the world. People should be made to pay up front not be invoiced for services because they just will not pay. The NHS should be for UK residents and visitors who have medical insurance cover.


    Civil liberties campaigners Big Brother Watch welcomed the decision to ditch what it calls the "snooper's charter" - but warned that alternative plans to force internet firms to gather more data about the source of emails, to help police identify suspects, should be subjected to "proper" scrutiny and consultation.

    1250: Mark, Hertford

    emails: "HS2 Compulsory purchase of land"? - So not to help the housing shortage then? This just shows the government, even through the Queen's speech, is just full of rhetoric and bluster.

    1246: Fatos, Hove

    emails: Unfortunately I did not hear any reforms regarding the improvement and the rise of living wage. They said that this government is here to reward those who work hard? Guess what, I work over 36 hours a week for £6.50 per hour as a carer worker. By the end of the month I can not even afford to go and have a hair cut as the cost of living has gone sky-high!


    The Bulgarian ambassador to the UK tells the BBC Bulgarians already in the UK have contributed to the UK's economy and he doesn't expect a "major rise" in people coming to the UK when temporary work restrictions end in 2014.

    MPs line up in the Lords The party leaders and Speaker Bercow listen to the Queen in the Lords

    More union reaction, this time from Unite's Len McCluskey. He says the speech was "more about trying to head off UKIP and quell a backbench revolt than deliver a legislative programme to get Britain back on track".


    The National Pensioners' Convention is not happy about the level of the proposed cap on the cost of social care. General secretary Dot Gibson says: "The government intends to ask anyone with assets or income above £118,000 to pay £72,000 in care costs before they receive any help from the state. This plan will help around one in 10 people - whilst the rest will never get any help at all."


    Development charity ActionAid has criticised the lack of a bill on overseas aid: "The coalition agreement contains a promise to enshrine the aid budget of 0.7% of national income in law. By leaving it out of the Queen's Speech today the coalition government appears to have broken that promise."


    Business Secretary Vince Cable says there are some "big long-term reforms" in the speech like social care and pension reform, as well as some "urgent measures to stimulate employment".

    1219: Iain, Edinburgh

    emails: I'm a private landlord. I let out a house I couldn't sell. I'm now supposed to check if my tenants are illegal immigrants. How? If they show me paperwork how do I know its genuine? And if I was a criminal this is the perfect way to gather information about IDs so I can use them or sell them to others for fraud.


    The Earl Marshal, a hereditary royal office holder who officiates at the State Opening, says the public love the pomp and ceremony of the day. "It's part of our British tradition," he says. "But we're always tinkering with it to make sure it goes with the times."


    Conservative minister Michael Fallon says the Queen's Speech shows that the coalition government has "plenty of energy" left, with serious reforms to tackle long-term issues and people's concerns. But Labour's Caroline Flint is unimpressed, she says it lacked action on jobs and housing.


    Composer Lord Berkeley of Knighton admits he had to watch his first Queen's Speech on TV, after forgetting to fill in a form to get his red robes. He's yet to make his maiden speech in the chamber, as he was only made a peer in March, but he says it will be about the arts.

    1207: Callum Leslie

    tweets: #QueensSpeech not as bad as it could have been, but restrictions to welfare and NHS for EU migrants is surely not legal?

    1205: NOCN

    tweets: Good to hear the Govt aims to make it typical for young people to start a traineeship, an apprenticeship or go to University. #QueensSpeech


    Some union reaction, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis says: "There is little comfort in this programme for the young, the unemployed, the working poor, the sick, the vulnerable or the millions who have seen their living standards fall drastically since this coalition government came to power."


    Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall leave Parliament in their own carriage - known as the bridal coach - for the 12 minute journey back to Buckingham Palace.

    1159: Cliff Veitch

    tweets: #Queensspeech promises the government will change the law so the elderly do not need to sell their homes to pay for care. We'll soon see!


    The national anthem is played again as the Queen's carriage passes in front of the Palace of Westminster.


    The Royal trumpeters sound the Royal salute as the Queen enters her carriage to depart for Buckingham Palace.


    The Queen has taken off her full ceremonial robes and is preparing to leave Parliament.


    Labour's Caroline Flint says there is nothing in the Queen's Speech on youth unemployment and getting the long-term unemployed back to work.


    Lib Dem Jeremy Browne says the reason the coalition parties came together, to get the economy back on its feet, is as strong today as it was in 2010, when the government was formed.


    The BBC's Nick Robinson says the economic difficulties will be the big issue in the run-up to the next election, which won't necessarily be affected by new laws announced today. But some, like high-speed rail, are likely to have long-term economic impact.

    1149: Mark Pack

    tweets: Good balance in the anti-crime measures in #QueensSpeech - heavy on rehabilitation and light on tokenistic crackdowns


    MPs are returning to the House of Commons, whose plain green benches are a "stark contrast" from the red and gold of the Lords, says the BBC's Huw Edwards.

    1146: Andy McSmith, The Independent

    tweets: A wigless Grayling turned his back on the Monarch. Wouldn't have happened in the old days

    1146: Kevin Chapman, Chichester

    texts: When are we actually have a bill that will encourage business to invest a percentage of their pre tax profits into staff training, research and development? This would encourage our businesses to develop rather than just assemble, and make us world leaders again.


    BBC political correspondent Robin Brant says the speech lasted 7 minutes and 38 seconds.


    Holding Prince Philip's hand, the Queen makes her way back through the Royal Gallery, leading Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall behind her.


    The speech is over within 10 minutes. After announcing efforts the government will make to prevent conflict and reduce terrorism, as well as tackling sexual violence in conflict, the Queen finishes up and returns to the Robing Room.


    The way defence equipment is bought is set to be reformed and there will be a strengthening of the Reserve Forces, the Queen says.


    An Immigration Bill will make sure the UK "attracts people who will contribute and deter those who will not", the Queen says. Other plans include tackling anti-social behaviour, helping some people with asbestos-related cancer and reforming rehabilitation of offenders in England and Wales.


    As expected, the Queen announces a bill on social care and a new "simpler" state pension.


    There will be new arrangements to help more people own their own homes, with government support for mortgages and deposits and more help with childcare for working parents.


    There will also be a bill to establish a "simple set of consumer rights to promote competitive markets and growth". Other plans include a bill to make way for the High Speed Two rail link.


    The Queen says there will be a bill to reduce excessive regulation on business. Another bill will make it easier for businesses to protect their intellectual property.


    The Queen says the government's focus will be on building a stronger economy so the UK "can compete and succeed in the world". It will also work "to promote a fairer society that rewards people who work hard," she says.


    The Queen has received the speech and begins speaking.


    The BBC's Nick Robinson says Ed Miliband and David Cameron are having an "animated chat" for the cameras as they make their way to the Lords, although there is no suggestion the two don't get on and are perfectly capable of having a "good gossip".


    David Cameron and Ed Miliband are leading MPs to the Lords Chamber, followed by Deputy PM Nick Clegg and Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman.


    Black Rod requests that MPs attend Her Majesty in the Lords. Labour's Dennis Skinner makes his traditional heckle: "Royal Mail for sale. Queen's head privatised."


    Black Rod reaches the door of the Commons, only to have the door slammed in his face. He knocks three times to be let in.


    Black Rod has received the signal from the Lords and is on his way to summon MPs, but there's a slight delay before he arrives.


    The Queen and Prince Philip enter the Lords, followed by the "Pages of Honour" and the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

    The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive in Parliament

    In the Lords, all eyes are on the door to the Robing Room. Meanwhile, over at the Commons, the Speaker is on his way, to the familiar shout of "hats off strangers" in Central Lobby.

    1122: Mari Jaarsma, Maidenhead

    emails: We've been here for five years now, moved from South Africa as a Dutch/EU citizens. My husband, son and me is making this our home and we adding to national life by getting involved with voluntary work. I love this country and I'll even love it more when it becomes clear that this country loves the people who add to national life.

    The Queen arriving in her carriage at the Sovereign's Entrance The Queen arriving in her carriage at the Sovereign's Entrance

    The BBC's Nick Robinson says the door being shut in Black Rod's face is a powerful symbolism of democracy, demonstrating that MPs, the elected face of the people, cannot simply be summoned by the monarch.

    Baroness Joan Bakewell Broadcaster Baroness Joan Bakewell is in the Lords chamber in her full red robes

    The national anthem plays as the Queen's carriage pulls up at the Palace of Westminster. Once past the Sovereign's Entrance the royal couple disembark before making their way to the Robing Room.

    1113: Grant Buckley, Bradford

    emails: This event exemplifies why there is still so much inequality in the UK. It shows that the upper end of society is not built upon merit, but is built upon recommendation from friends, colleagues and peers (an example being members of the House of Lords). Until this level of UK society is drawn from people who have reached their position solely on merit, that will make them more accountable and dependant on the will of the population.

    The Royal Gallery The Royal Gallery is full of invited guests and dignitaries awaiting the Queen

    The Gentlemen at Arms - more Royal bodyguards - are in the Lords chamber preparing for the Queen's arrival.

    1110: BBC's Emily Maitlis

    tweets: Am just counting how many avid ManU fans have found themselves locked into reporting Queens Speech today...

    House of Lords The House of Lords is packed with peers, ahead of the Queen's arrival

    Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza is joined by Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling - ahead of him is the pursebearer, who is carrying the Queen's Speech. Mr Grayling has a quick check to make sure it's there.


    BBC political editor Nick Robinson says there is huge symbolism in Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arriving in their own carriage, it is a way of saying to the country "here's what comes next". Some smiles as Nick, a Manchester United supporter, contrasts the idea of slow change with the resignation of Man U boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

    The Queen leaving Buckingham Palace The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving Buckingham Palace on their way to Parliament

    The Royal couple are off to prepare in the Robing Room, where the Queen will shortly put on the crown and her ceremonial robes before making her way to the House of Lords.


    Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have arrived at the Palace of Westminster. It's the first time the Duchess has attended the State Opening of Parliament.


    Conservative Michael Fallon says it is not new for Prince Charles to attend the State Opening but expects him to take over more "arduous" duties from the Queen. There's much talk about the process of "transition" as Prince Charles is also to attend the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in her place later this year.

    1057: Tony Grew

    tweets: In the press gallery of the Lords. There are some seriously impressive tiaras on show here

    Chairs for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall There are two extra chairs in the Lords chamber today - next to the Queen - for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall

    The Imperial State Crown has its own carriage and has arrived at Parliament ahead of the Queen.


    They have similar uniforms but the "cross belt" sported by the Yeomen of the Guard differentiates them from the Yeomen Warders of the Tower of London - best known as the Beefeaters.


    In Central Lobby, between the Commons and the Lords, the BBC's Sian Williams is chatting to passing MPs. Tory Penny Mordaunt wants to see anomalies in the pensions system tackled. Labour's Heidi Alexander wants action to create jobs - and the return of the top 50p income tax rate, although she isn't expecting to see that.

    Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall leave Buckingham Palace Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall leaving Buckingham Palace on their way to Parliament

    The Queen's throne is fractionally higher than the Duke of Edinburgh's throne in the Lords' chamber, a small nod to "who's boss", says the BBC's Huw Edwards.


    Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are leaving Buckingham Palace, the first time the heir to the throne has been at the Queen's Speech since 1996.


    Black Rod, who will shortly be summoning MPs to hear the Queen's Speech, tells the BBC his job is not "part-time and ceremonial" - most of the time he's responsible for security in the House of Lords.


    In the Lords, peers are packing the benches in their ceremonial red robes.

    1039: Peter Chapman, Silsden

    emails: I don't think anyone is expecting the government to put forward the bill that the whole of the UK wants - that is a bill outlining an in/out referendum on Europe.


    For the Lib Dems, Jeremy Browne says the main focus will be on the economy - but he adds the Queen's Speech will make "bold" long-term decisions on elderly care and pensions.


    The BBC's Nick Robinson says the striking thing about the Queen's Speech is what's been removed before the Queen gets to read it - minimum alcohol pricing, plain cigarette packaging and plans for a "snooper's charter" have gone. Expect measures on the economy and immigration, he adds.


    Labour leader Ed Miliband is also en route to Parliament. The Labour leader will respond formally to the Queen's Speech later on.


    Two Royal carriage processions will be making their way to the Sovereign's Entrance at Parliament this year as Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will be joining the Queen.


    Conservative MP and former Queen's Speech "hostage" Mark Francois tells the BBC Greg Knight will be held "pleasantly captive" until the Queen returns safely to Buckingham Palace. He said it was all "quite civilised" and you could watch the ceremony on TV. "Ceremony is still one of the things we're world class at in this country. I think it would be a shame to give that up," he says.

    1027: Katy Buchanan

    tweets: Landlords unsure whether a tenant is an immigrant will decline all foreigners as not worth the risk. So. More discrimination. #queens-speech

    1025: Rafael, London

    emails: I am an immigrant and I have been here for 12 years. I never worked or lived illegally. I am not a private landlord and I agree with the legislation. Illegal immigrants bring a series of issues (cash paid jobs, homelessness and many other issues related to not being able to work under the law).


    Deputy PM Nick Clegg has already left Downing Street for Parliament and David Cameron is expected to do so shortly, says BBC News Channel chief political correspondent Norman Smith. They'll head to the Commons to await the Queen, who is expected to leave Buckingham Palace at 11:00 BST.

    1017: Tony Grew

    tweets: In central lobby. There is such a buzz in the air. Some peers hanging about in their robes. Doorkeepers are wearing their medals. Lovely.


    Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant says the government has "grabbed the stick of immigration by the wrong end" because it has not tackled illegal immigration.

    1014: The British Monarchy

    tweets: The Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard have carried out their traditional search of the cellars of the Houses of Parliament.

    1013: Greg Knight, Conservative MP for East Yorkshire

    tweets: Today is the State Opening of Parliament - and I am the only MP not able to see it as I am about to be taken hostage at Buckingham Palace!


    Traditionally an MP from the Government Whip's Office is "held hostage" at Buckingham Palace until the Queen returns. Today's hostage is the Conservative MP for East Yorkshire Greg Knight, who holds the post of Vice Chamberlain.

    1002: Martin James

    tweets: Bet Cameron not too happy with Fergie his retirement announcement likely to overshadow the #Tories Queens speech today


    Speaking to the BBC, Labour leader Ed Miliband says he wants the Queen's Speech to tackle the country's "deep problems" like youth unemployment, the availability of loans for small businesses and the "cost of living crisis".


    Lib Dem Simon Hughes says Britain is "a country built on immigration and very successful because of it" but adds that the government needs to make sure there aren't abuses of the system and "it's right to get our house in order".


    Deputy Lib Dem leader Simon Hughes says the measures in the Queen's Speech that will lead to a fairer society and boost the economy are from the "core" of the Lib Dem manifesto.


    The Spectator's James Forsyth says David Cameron is under pressure from UKIP ahead of next year's European elections. He needs to "put the issue to bed before 2015," he says.

    0951: Chris Wathan, Liverpool

    emails: For us and many people we know immigration, pensions, social care, Europe, while all important issues, are not the priority. The main issues for us are lack of affordable housing, reducing unemployment to below 1m and more stimuli for the manufacturing sector.


    The Mirror's Kevin Maguire expects the Queen's Speech to be a "defensive set of measures" with little in it to boost the economy.


    This will be David Cameron's third Queen's speech since he became prime minister in 2010, but the Queen has been leading the State Opening of Parliament since 1952. Since then she has only missed the occasion twice - in 1959 and in 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.


    It's roughly two hours to go before the Queen is due to start speaking. But before her arrival in Parliament, the Yeoman of the Guard must search the cellars, a tradition started after the Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot in 1605.

    0934: Dr Sarah Wollaston, Conservative MP for Totnes

    tweets: We shouldn't compete with Farage by looking like a Party which promotes beer & fags.


    Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper says expected immigration measures "don't tackle important issues on exploitation and illegal immigration". "The government is still not tackling the exploitation of foreign workers leading to the undercutting of local workers," she says.


    Constitutional expert Robert Hazell says the presence of Prince Charles at today's ceremony is another indication of a "gradual transition" as the Queen "sheds some of her more onerous roles".

    0918: Pankaj

    tweets: Many immigrants come to this country to set up "hard working families", just the kind who repeatedly get pedestalled by #Tories.


    John Cridland of the CBI doesn't think more legislation will bring economic growth. He tells the BBC: "Business doesn't have big expectations for the Queen's Speech... what we need is action on existing initiatives rather than new initiatives."

    0914: Labour leader Ed Miliband

    tweets: Today's Queen's Speech should respond to the deep problems the country faces. On the evidence so far, it is not up to the scale of the task.


    The BBC's Norman Smith says the Queen's Speech is designed to give the government a bit of "oomph". He says there will be two themes linking all the bills together: the global economics race and hard working families.

    0912: A. Carter, Atherstone

    emails: The UK is a haven for all types of immigration legal and illegal - we should stop immigration for at least 10 years while we sort our country and out.


    Following UKIP's success in the local elections, Jeremy Hunt has also been defending his party on the issue of Europe: "(David) Cameron is the only party leader who is saying that he will give the country a choice on that relationship with Europe."

    0907: David Grant, London

    emails: The appointment by ministers of the civil servants in their department represents a major constitutional change without public consultation. It should be resisted. An independent civil service is a check on ministers' power.


    On measures aimed at curbing problem drinking and smoking - expected to be left out of the speech - Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tells the BBC: "Just because something is not in the Queen's Speech does not mean the government can't bring it forward as law. But we have not made a decision."

    0905: Jonathan Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South

    tweets: Lots of politicos obsessing about Queen's Speech today- I suspect most people more interested in the Ferguson Man U story


    Prime Minister David Cameron has already been tweeting about today's announcements. He says: "Bills on growth, immigration, pensions, consumer rights & social care - today's Queen's Speech is for people who work hard and want to get on."


    BBC political editor Nick Robinson says often the most life-changing parts of a Queen's Speech are the ones that get the least attention, such as expected announcements on a flat rate pension and changes to carers' rights which could make the most difference to people's lives.


    The BBC's economics editor Stephanie Flanders says the expected "paving bill" for the HS2 high speed rail link could cause a lot of controversy, particularly among MPs with constituencies that will be affected.


    Prince Charles will accompany the Queen at the State Opening for the first time since 1996 and it will be the first time the Duchess of Cornwall has been part of the proceedings. The couple's appearance comes a day after it was announced Prince Charles would represent the monarch at the Commonwealth heads of government summit in Sri Lanka in November.


    If you're not sure what the Queen's Speech is, it's basically a speech written by the government setting out all the bills they hope to put to Parliament over the next year. Here's a bit more explanation.


    There's been plenty of speculation about what is likely to be in the Queen's Speech - here's our bill-by-bill guide to what we know is likely to be in it (and not in it).


    Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the 2013 Queen's Speech. You'll be able to follow all the action here in video and text, with reaction and analysis to the government's plans for the year ahead.


The Queen's Speech 2013

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