What happens after State Opening

After the Queen has delivered her speech to Parliament. 

After the Queen has delivered the speech, setting out the government's agenda for the new session, the representatives of the state, including members of both Houses of Parliament, the Church, the judiciary and invited guests, leave the Lords chamber.

Parliament's work begins

Once the Queen leaves, it's back to business as usual for the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

Debating the Queen's Speech

Each House meets separately, in the afternoon, to begin debating the government's programme of legislation and policies and to consider an 'Address in Reply to Her Majesty's Gracious Speech’.

The Lords meets slightly later than the Commons. The additional time allows the chamber of the House of Lords to be rearranged - returning it to its usual format.

In both Houses, different subject areas are debated for several days following the ceremony. The debates following the Queen's Speech in 2014 took place over four days in the Lords. The subjects were as follows:

  • The economy, national infrastructure, transport policy, energy supplies and local government
  • Home affairs, law and justice, health and education 
  • Employment, pensions, welfare, agriculture and the environment
  • Constitutional and devolved affairs, foreign affairs, defence, international development and culture.

In 2014 the subjects of Commons debates following the Queen's Speech were:

  • Cost of living, energy and housing
  • Health
  • Home affairs
  • Jobs and work
  • The economy and living standards.

Parliamentary programme

After the five days of general debates, the programme of work to turn what is outlined in the Queen's Speech into legislation begins. Bills start to be introduced in both Houses as Parliament gets back to business.

Find out more about the role and work of the House of Lords and House of Commons:

Image: House of Lords / Photography by Roger Harris

State Opening explained

State Opening explained

Read more about how State Opening of Parliament works

State Opening of Parliament (PDF PDF 646 KB)

Related information

State Opening explained on YouTube

Watch the former Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman, explain State Opening on Parliament's YouTube channel:

What's on after State Opening?

Parliament will begin work on the content of the Queen's Speech and the Government's agenda:


Find out answers to more of your State Opening queries: