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The State Opening of Parliament 

The UK general election took place on Thursday 4 July 2024. The new Parliament met on Tuesday 9 July 2024 for the election of the Speaker and swearing-in of MPs and Lords. The State Opening of Parliament and The King’s Speech will take place on Wednesday 17 July 2024.

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The hydrogen bomb: Churchill's last major speech in Parliament

The 1951 General Election saw Churchill as the victorious leader of the Conservative Party for the first time, at nearly 77 years of age. In this period, apart from domestic politics, Churchill focused his attentions on the significance of the atomic weapons arms race for East-West relations.  Under his chairmanship of the Defence Committee he decided in June 1954 to recommend that Britain must build its own hydrogen bomb. By this time Churchill's participation and presence within Parliament was restricted by continuing ill health. In his last major speech to the House of Commons in March 1955 he spoke pragmatically about the threat of nuclear holocaust but ended with a note of optimism: 'we shall by a process of sublime irony have reached a stage in this story where safety will be the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihilation'. The following month Churchill tendered his resignation as Prime Minister. The Queen offered him a dukedom which he declined, and he remained an MP until 1964.


The Hydrogen Bomb: Churchill's last major speech in Parliament


1st March 1955

Catalogue number

Hansard, 5th Series, Volume 537, cc 1893