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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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State Opening of Parliament 2024

4 July 2024

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The State Opening of Parliament takes place on Wednesday 17 July marking the formal start of the parliamentary year and setting out the government’s agenda for the 2024-25 session.

The King's Speech 

The speech is read in the House of Lords chamber by the King. 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? 

TheState Opening of Parliamentis the main ceremonial event in the parliamentary calendar. It marks the start of aparliamentary year.  

State Opening: how it happens

Ceremonial search 

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 

What is a session of Parliament?

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 Lords debate 

The House of Lords debates the different subject areas of the speech over six days, starting on Thursday 18 July. 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. 

Debate topics 

Thursday 18 July: energy, the environment and housing.

Friday 19 July: education, early years and health care.

Monday 22 July: economic growth, infrastructure and employment.

Tuesday 23 July: constitution and devolution.

Wednesday 24 July: justice and home affairs.

Thursday 25 July: foreign affairs and defence.

House of Commons debate  

Members of the House of Commons debate the planned legislative programme for several days, starting on Thursday 18 July, looking at different subject areas. The King's Speech is voted on by the Commons. 

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State Opening of Parliament

The State Opening of Parliament marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and the Monarch's Speech sets out the government's agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.

Find out more