The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1995Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Text of the Queen’s Speech – 15 November 1995

Below is the text of the Queen’s Speech, held on 15th November 1995.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

The Duke of Edinburgh and I look forward to receiving the State Visit of His Excellency the President of France and of His Excellency the President of South Africa next year. We also look forward to our State Visits to Poland and the Czech Republic in March and to Thailand in October next year.

National security remains of the highest importance to my Government. They will continue to support the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and to promote Britain’s wider security interests by contributing to the maintenance of international peace and stability. The United Kingdom’s minimum nuclear deterrent will be maintained.

My Government will encourage a co-operative relationship between NATO and Russia, and will offer further help to countries in Central and Eastern Europe to consolidate democratic reforms and build stability and prosperity in the region.

A Bill will be introduced to bring up to date the legislation governing the Reserve Forces. My Government will also continue to work to preserve and modernise the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. During their Presidency of the Western European Union next year, they will work to enhance that organisation’s effectiveness.

Preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains a priority. My Government will introduce legislation to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention. They will pursue negotiations on a verifiable Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and a Convention to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other explosive purposes.

The fight against terrorism, organised crime, and drug misuse and trafficking, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, will remain a priority.

My Government will continue to pursue the objective of transatlantic free trade in the context of world trade liberalisation.

In the European Union, my Government will participate in the 1996 Inter-Governmental Conference and contribute to preparing the Union for further enlargement. They will work for the continued implementation of the principle of subsidiarity and maintain their efforts to combat fraud. They will promote flexible labour markets and reduced social costs as the best means to improve the competitiveness of the European economy and create a climate for job creation.

A substantial aid programme will be maintained, focused on the poorest countries, to promote sustainable development and good government, including respect for human rights.

Reform of the United Nations, and efforts to enhance the organisation’s effectiveness in peace-keeping, will remain an important objective. My Government will work to develop the capacity of the United Nations and regional organisations in the prevention of conflict. They will continue to promote a negotiated settlement in the former Yugoslavia.

My Government will continue working to strengthen ties between members of the Commonwealth.

My Government will work for the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. In the interests of the Hong Kong people, they will seek to co-operate with China on the basis of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, in order to promote a smooth transition in 1997.

My Government will maintain support for the Middle East Peace Process.

In Northern Ireland my Government will continue to build on the present peace and to create the conditions for political progress through inclusive talks. They will facilitate economic development and promote fair and equitable treatment for all people in Northern Ireland. They will maintain close and friendly relations with the Government of the Republic of Ireland. Legislation will be introduced to continue special provisions required for preserving the peace and maintaining order.

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 continue with firm financial policies designed to support economic growth and rising employment, based on permanently low inflation. Fiscal policy will continue to be set to bring the public sector borrowing requirement back towards balance over the medium term. The share of national income taken by the public sector will be reduced.

My Government will improve the performance of the economy, by encouraging enterprise and competitiveness and offering support for small businesses. They will promote further deregulation. They will introduce a Bill to extend choice and competition in broadcasting by providing for new digital services and easing restrictions on media ownership. Legislation will again be brought before you to authorise the construction and operation of a high speed rail link between London and the Channel Tunnel.

Increased competitiveness will be encouraged by raising educational and skill levels, advancing knowledge, and promoting an efficient and flexible labour market. Legislation will be laid before you to expand nursery education for four-year-olds and to allow grant-maintained schools to borrow on the commercial market. Legislation will be introduced to enable students to choose between private and public suppliers of subsidised loans. In Scotland, legislation will be introduced to reform education and training.

My Government will continue to improve the quality of public services, through the Citizen’s Charter programme and by other means.

A Bill will be introduced to streamline further the handling of asylum applications and to strengthen enforcement of immigration controls.

Legislation will be laid before you to enable the Security Service to assist the law enforcement agencies in their work against organised crime; and to reform the procedures in criminal cases, including those for prosecution and defence disclosure.

My Government will bring forward legislation to make better provision for housing and to promote the smooth running of construction contracts.

Legislation will be introduced to extend the Parliamentary Health Service Commissioner’s jurisdiction, and to enable local authorities to make payments to particular groups of people who want to purchase their own community care.

My Government will introduce legislation to reform the law governing divorce and other aspects of family law.

Other measures, including other measures of law reform, 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.