The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1991Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Text of the Queen’s Speech – 31 October 1991

Below is the text of the Queen’s Speech, held on 31st October 1991.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons.

I look forward to visiting Australia in February, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and Malta next May, France in June and Germany in October.

My Government attach the highest importance to maintaining our security. For nearly half a century NATO has formed the cornerstone of our defences. It will continue to be the principal focus, but the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the other welcome developments in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe permit changes to NATO’s strategy and will enable us to maintain our security with smaller forces. Nevertheless instability and other risks remain in Europe and elsewhere, and substantial and effective nuclear and conventional forces will be maintained.

The United Kingdom will work for balanced and verifiable arms control agreements including early ratification of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. Efforts will continue to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to encourage greater international responsibility in the transfer of conventional weapons. The completion of multilateral negotiations on the abolition of chemical weapons will be pursued.

My Government will require full, unconditional compliance by Iraq with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions, including the disposal of its missiles and weapons of mass destruction. They will press for long-term peace in the Middle East, including a settlement of the Palestinian problem. They will continue their efforts to secure the release of hostages in the Middle East.

They will continue to work for a stronger, more effective United Nations.

My Government will, with our Community partners, pursue the successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. Within the Community, they will continue to play a constructive role in the two Inter-Governmental Conferences on Political Union and Economic and Monetary Union; and will work to complete the Single European Market, to promote budgetary discipline, and to reform the Common Agricultural Policy. They will prepare for the United Kingdom’s Presidency of the Community beginning on 1st July 1992.

The United Kingdom will continue to develop our good relations with the Soviet Union and its republics, and to encourage their integration into the world economy; and will work to help Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania re- establish themselves in the international community.

My Government will further encourage the development of democratic institutions and market economies in central and eastern Europe; and pursue the completion of Association Agreements with Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia. They hope for a peaceful settlement in Yugoslavia. They will contribute constructively to the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

My Government will encourage all sides in South Africa to pursue peaceful means of constructing a democratic, non-racial society. A substantial aid programme aimed at promoting sustainable economic and social progress and good government in developing countries will be maintained.

My Government will continue to support the Commonwealth. My Government will continue to administer Hong Kong in the interests of its people and to cooperate in implementing the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

My Government will continue their fight against terrorism in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. They will vigorously pursue their policies to combat drug trafficking and misuse of drugs, nationally and internationally.

The United Kingdom will work for a successful United Nations Conference on Environment and Development next June.

Members of the House of Commons,

Estimates for the Public Service will be laid before you.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

My Government will pursue, within the framework of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, firm financial policies designed to reduce inflation further and maintain the conditions necessary for sustained growth. They will promote enterprise and training and improve the working of the economy. They will continue to prepare for the privatisation of the British Railways Board and the British Coal Corporation. They will maintain firm control of public spending with the aim of keeping its share of national income on a downward trend over time. My Government attach the highest priority to improving public services. They will implement the programme of reform in the White Paper on the Citizen’s Charter, including bringing forward Charters for individual public services.

Legislation will be introduced to reinforce the regulation of privatised utilities.

Legislation will be introduced to provide for a new council tax, to establish a review of local government structure in England, and to enhance competitive tendering for local authority services. Action will be taken to improve quality and choice in education. Legislation will be introduced to reform funding of further education and sixth form colleges and to reform higher education in England and Wales, and to make information available about the performance of individual schools.

My Government will continue to develop policies to enhance the nation’s health and to improve the effectiveness of the health and social services, and the social security system.

Work for the regeneration of our cities will continue.

A Bill will be introduced to enable applications for asylum in the United Kingdom to be dealt with quickly and effectively.

A Bill will be presented to create an offence of prison mutiny and to increase the maximum penalty for aiding prisoners to escape. Legislation will be introduced to revise health and safety arrangements for offshore installations.

A Bill will be introduced to replace private legislation as the means for authorising transport development schemes.

A Bill will be introduced to provide for a Cardiff Bay Barrage. For Scotland, legislation will be introduced to reform further and higher education.

In Northern Ireland, my Government will resolutely seek to defeat terrorism through the even-handed and energetic enforcement of the law; to promote political progress; to strengthen the economy; and to create equality of opportunity and equity of treatment for all sections of the community. They will maintain positive relations with the Republic of Ireland.

Legislation will be introduced to improve the supervision of charities.

Other measures will be laid before you.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.