The eagerly anticipated Queen’s Speech will open the new Parliament by announcing the Government’s plans for new laws for the coming year.
The speech is scheduled to take place on June 19 – but the Prime Minister’s official spokesman declined to confirm it would go ahead on that date as planned.
Here’s a quick look at the key issues surrounding the set-piece event:
Should we expect measures on controversial areas = such as winter fuel allowance cuts – to be laid out?
With the Government being in the unwanted position it’s in following the general election, Theresa May is facing the prospect of securing a deal with the DUP to make sure the Queen’s Speech passes.
That means the Conservatives will have to make some concessions, which might actually turn out to be a good thing by giving her party cover to drop some of the most electorally toxic policies.
Brexit Secretary David Davis has said it is expected that “some elements of the manifesto will be pruned away” and it’s likely that will include the plans to drop the triple lock on pensions and to introduce means-testing for the winter fuel allowance.
May could also avoid time-consuming divisive issues such as a vote on repealing the fox hunting ban. The PM’s pet project of introducing a new wave of grammar schools, which has provoked anger among some of her own backbenchers, may also fall by the wayside.
So what is likely to make it into the speech?
The slimmed-down agenda is expected to focus on the most pressing issues facing the country – Brexit, of course, and new measures to tackle the wave of terror the UK has suffered.
Could the Government be defeated when MPs vote on the Queen’s Speech?
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn certainly hopes so. He has insisted his fight to take the keys to No 10 “is still on” and has said he will push it “all the way”.
Once Sinn Fein’s seven non-sitting MPs and the Speaker and deputy speakers have been taken out of the mix, May needs to secure 320 votes for the programme to pass. With the support of the DUP’s 10 MPs and all of her MPs, the PM would have 326 votes.
Has a government ever lost such a vote before?
You have to go back to January 1924 when the Conservative Party, led by Stanley Baldwin, lost a vote on the King’s Speech.
If May loses the vote, does that bring down the Government?
Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, an early general election can only be held if more than two-thirds of the whole House backs such a move or a motion of no confidence is passed.
In reality, the political implications of failing to pass the programme for government would make it almost impossible to cling on to power.
Will the speech and the vote that follows be accompanied by the usual pomp and ceremony?
No. The Queen will deliver the speech wearing a day dress and hat and not the traditional Imperial state crown and ceremonial robes. The spectacular carriage procession to and from the Palace of Westminster carrying the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh has also been replaced with a car journey.
But the changes reflect logistical concerns, rather than the political situation. As the State Opening of Parliament is being held two days after the Trooping the Colour ceremony, it was deemed infeasible for the military and the Royal Mews to stage two major events in such a short period.
The Queen’s procession to the Chamber of the House of Lords, where she takes the throne and delivers her speech, will also be reduced with no heralds present.
The last time the ceremonial elements of a State Opening of Parliament were reduced by a similar scale was in March 1974 after Labour leader Harold Wilson defeated Edward Heath.