State Opening of Parliament 2023
26 October 2023
The State Opening of Parliament took place on Tuesday 7 November marking the formal start of the parliamentary year and setting out the government’s agenda for the 2023-24 session.
This year, His Majesty the King opened Parliament for the first time as monarch.
The King's Speech
The speech was read in the House of Lords chamber by King Charles. The speech is written by the government and contains an outline of its policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.
What is State Opening?
The State Opening of Parliament starts with a ceremonial search of the cellars in the Houses of Parliament. This commemorates Guy Fawkes' ‘gunpowder plot' of 1605.
The ceremony begins in the Prince’s Chamber in the House of Lords. The search is conducted by the Yeomen of the Guard, the King’s Bodyguard.
Down to work
After the speech, a new parliamentary session starts and Parliament gets down to work. Members of both Houses debate the content of the speech.
House of Commons debate
Members of the House of Commons debate the planned legislative programme for several days, looking at different subject areas. The King's Speech is voted on by the Commons.
Wednesday 8 November: breaking down barriers to opportunity
Thursday 9 November: making Britain a clean energy superpower
Monday 13 November: building an NHS fit for the future
Tuesday 14 November: securing high, sustained economic growth in every part of the country
Wednesday 15 November: reducing violent crime and raising confidence in policing and the criminal justice system
House of Lords debate
The House of Lords debates the different subject areas of the speech over five days. After which, bills are introduced and the Lords returns to work shaping laws, holding the government to account and investigating important issues of the day.
Wednesday 8 November: home affairs, crime and justice, and devolution
Thursday 9 November: housing, health, local communities and public services
Monday 13 November: economy, transport, energy and the environment
Tuesday 14 November: science, technology, media and culture
Wednesday 15 November: foreign affairs and defence.