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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 in the Lords following the Queen's Speech in December 2019 took place over three days, early in the new year. The subjects were as follows:

  • Foreign Affairs, Defence, International Development, Trade, Climate Change and the Environment
  • Home affairs, Justice, Constitutional Affairs and Devolved Affairs 
  • Economic Affairs, Business and Public Services

The subjects of the five days of Commons debates following the 2019 Queen's Speech were:

  • Britain in the world
  • Education and Local Government
  • A Green Industrial Revolution
  • Health and Social Care
  • The economy and jobs

Parliamentary programme

After these 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:


State Opening explained

State Opening explained

Read more about the history of the State Opening of Parliament

State Opening of Parliament