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Live blog of the opening of the Queen's Speech debate

I will be covering the opening proceedings of the new Parliament here.

Picture 16 2.35pm The proposing of the Loyal Address is being done by Peter Lilley, the former Cabinet Minister, who is doing so with suitable humour. I have been wondering whether Conservatives should call Lib Dems their honourable "friends" in the chamber and he has touched on the issue. He shuns the idea of calling them honourable partners on the grounds that implies even more intimacy, but settles on "honourable allies". I wonder if it will stick?

2.45pm Don Foster for the Lib Dems seconds the Loyal Address from the government backbenches - although he refers to Peter Lilley as an honourable member rather than an honourable ally...

Picture 20 2.55pm Harriet Harman rises as Leader of the Opposition and beings by paying tribute to those killed in Afghanistan since the House last met.She also pays tribute to the two MPs who died during the last session - David Taylor and Ashok Kumar. She congratulates Peter Lilley for his speech and thanks him for not singing to the House (as he did during Tory conferences in the 1990s). She also paid tribute to him for his work on International Development issues.  

Harman congratulates David Cameron on becoming PM and thanks him for the kind words he spoke about the outgoing Labour Government on the steps of Number Ten on taking office. She says Labour will be an effective opposition and not oppose the Government for the sake of it. She attacks cuts in university places and cuts to the future jobs fund and wants cuts introduced in a fair way and not in way that will affect future growth.

On Cameron and Clegg as a couple, she says that the in-laws are saying they are just not right for each other. Labour say you can't pay couples to stay together, she adds, and it will take more than a £3 a week to keep this couple together.

She attacks the Government for announcing the cuts yesterday to a press conference and not to the chamber.She also questions the Government approach to the EU, contrasting the different positions taken by the Conservatives and the Lib Dems.

She says she supports some of the Government's proposed constitutional changes, but wants 4-year fixed terms and opposes the 55% rule, which she compares to a pre-nup. She also opposes the Lib Dems having access to Short Money - they're trying to cling on to the trappings of Opposition, she says to much merriment across the House.

Picture 23 3.10pm David Cameron rises to speak - and asks why there was no apology from her for the state of th country Labour has left. Until they learn what they got so badly wrong, I'm not sure whether people are going to listen to them again. Across the House, we've been sent here to renew faith in our democracy, he says, before paying tribute to the soldiers who have been killed in Afghanistan. He also pays tribute to the two MPs who died at the end of the session and congratulates Peter Lilley on his speech proposing the Loyal Address. Referring to the fact that Lilley's wife is a former European Movement member, he said he might be asking him for advice on how to keep his relationship with Nick Clegg going, when he explained that he had just got into bed with a Europhile. He also talk about Don Foster's speech, referring to him as an honourable member.

He teases Harriet Harman about why she is not standing fo rthe Labour leadership, pointing out that her husband, Jack Dromey, could secure her 2 million votes from Unite.

He talks about the fact that British troops remain overseas in Afghanistan and that a stable Afghanistan is vital for our security. He also says that Iran must not be able to acquire nuclear weapons and that pressure on Iran must be ratcheted up.

The Government is driven by the national interest, not party interest, he says, driven by freedom, fairness and responsibility.

David Blunkett intervenes to attack the "asset-rich" Cabinet for stopping Child Trust Funds. Cameron responds by reminding him that in the words of Liam Byrne, "we've run out of money".

Labour MP Tom Harris wants to know when MPs can vote on the Hunting Act. Cameron says there will be a free vote on the issue on the floor of the Commons. Another Labour MP David Winnick attacks the 55% rule; Cameron says that in the Scottish Parliament Labour voted for a 66% rule.

Labour MP Denis Macshane quotes Nick Clegg calling Tory European allies "nutters" and David Cameron responds by citing some of the allies Labour have in the European Parliament.

Lib Dem Simon Hughes intervenes to seek reassurances on building affordable housing. Cameron says he will prioritise social housing.

He commends other aspects of the Queen's Speech, and says that all Labour's economic claims were wrong, as they leave an economic mess. No more spending beyond our means and no more reckless borrowing - this Government has done more for the economy in two weeks than Labour did in the last two years. Having found a variety of savings, Labour's jobs tax can be stopped.

This Queen's speech marks a decisive break from the past and promises real changes. He says the Acadmies Bill will pass before the summer. This Government will give power back to people.

Maria Eagle for Labour presses Cameron on the 55% rule and the House of Lords. Cameron says that Labour thirteen years to reform the Lords and failed - and that this government will succeed on that front.

Here begin the years of responsibility, good government and a new start for Britain, he concludes.

Jonathan Isaby


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