HC Deb 22 December 1925 vol 189 cc2257-60

I have further to acquaint the House that the Lord High Chancellor, being one of the High Commissioners, delivered His Majesty's Most Gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament in pursuance of His Majesty's Command as followeth:

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

The grievous loss which I and, My family have sustained by the death of My beloved Mother is first in My thought. It has been a solace to Mr. in My grief to have received from all conditions and classes, from all parts of My dominions and from all foreign countries, the touching assurances of their deep sympathy in My sorrow and the expression of their affectionate regard fur One who was enthroned in the fore of My people.

I was happy to welcome home. My Son. the Prince of Wales, on his recent return from his visit to South Africa, West Africa and South America. I hate been deeply touched by the account which he has given Me of the, warm welcome, very where accorded him, and I am proud to think that his visit has served to deepen the affection which. unites My people, and to strengthen the. bonds which link this country with the people of South America.

My relations with Foreign Powers continue to be friendly.

It was a source of great satisfaction to Me to welcome in London the distinguished Plenipotentiaries of Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Poland and Czechoslovakia, who, on the 1st December, signed the diplomatic instruments initialled at Locarno on the 16th October.

It is My belief and My earnest hope-that these instruments, by giving security to the peoples immediately concerned, will prove to be not only the foundation of a true peace between them but the beginning of a friendly co-operation which cannot fail to benefit the whole world.

I rejoice at the part which My Government was able to play in the negotiations leading up to this happy event.

I have given My assent to a Bill for the Confirmation of an Agreement reached between My Ministers and the Governments of the Irish Free State and Northern, Ireland, to amend and supplement the Articles of Agreement of the 6th December, 1921. It is my heartfelt prayer that this measure may advance co-operation and strengthen goodwill in Ireland.

The British Empire. Exhibition at Wembley has now come to a close, and I feel that I should take this opportunity of expressing My gratitude to all those throughout My Empire who have co-operated in this great enterprise; I am, sure that the increased knowledge which it has brought of the resources and activities of My people will have lasting and beneficial results.

Further preferences on goods imported into this country from, other parts of the Empire have been accorded by legislation, and other measures for the development of Empire. Trade are receiving the close consideration of My Government.

An Act has been passed to give effect to certain provisions contained in the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with Germany, and ratifications of that Treaty have since been exchanged.

Members of the House of Commons,

I thank you for the provision you have made for the public service.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

Progressive depression in the coal trade led, at the end of July, to a grave economic crisis, which threatened to result in a disastrous industrial conflict. The danger was averted by the decision to afford temporary financial assistance to the industry. This has made it possible to conduct, under My Commission, a full and impartial inquiry into the economic position of the industry. I am following the course of the inquiry with anxious interest, and I am hopeful that the task of My Commissioners will be lightened by ungrudging and single-hearted effort on the part of all concerned to find a solution for the problems of this great and vital industry.

By the passing of the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act a further important stage has been reached in the process whereby the resources of the State are made available for the encouragement of thrift and self-reliance. Provision has thus been made, through insurance, against those risks which have been a source of anxiety and apprehension to so many of My people.

An Act has been passed to simplify the law of rating, to provide for greater uniformity in valuation, and to improve the local administration of these services in England and Wales.

Acts have been passed for consolidating the laws relating to workmen's compensation in cases of accident, and to real property and conveyancing, and also for consolidating the Judicature Acts and for simplifying and amending the procedure in criminal cases.

During the past year there has been a great increase in the number of houses built in England and Wales, and I hope that this improvement, so important to the health and well-being of My people, may continue. The housing position still gives cause for concern in Scotland, where special measures have, however, been taken by My Ministers.

Encouragement has been given to the establishment of the sugar beet industry in this country by an Act providing for a Government subsidy during a period of 10 years.

An Act has also been passed to amend the law relating to tithe rentcharge and the payment of rates thereon.

In pursuance of the policy announced at the opening of the Session, measures have been enacted for safeguarding by means of Customs duties certain industries which have been proved after inquiry to be suffering from unemployment due to exceptional foreign competition of an unfair nature.

My assent has also been given to an Act establishing a permanent system of superannuation for teacher, to the Church of Scotland (Property and Endowments) Act, and to a measure providing for the institution of a Scottish National Library.

In bidding you farewell I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your labours.

Then a Commission for Proroguing the Parliament was read in the House of Lords.

After which The LORD CHANCELLOR said:

MY LORDS AND MEMBERS,—By virtue oil His Majesty's Commission under the Great Seal, to us and other Lords directed, and now read, we do, in His Majesty's Name and in obedience to His Majesty's Commands. Prorogue this Parliament to Tuesday, the second day of February, One thousand nine hundred and twenty-six, to be then here holden: and this Parliament is accordingly Prorogued until Tuesday, the second day of February, One thousand nine hundred and twenty six.

End of the First Session (opened Tuesday, 2nd December, 1924) of the Thirty-fourth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in the Sixteenth year of the Reign of His Majesty King George the Fifth.