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State Opening of Parliament 2023

What is the State Opening of Parliament?

The State Opening of Parliament is a key ceremonial event and marks the start of the UK parliamentary year. The ceremony itself is steeped in history and serves as a reminder of the unity of Parliament’s three parts: the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Indeed, it is the only time that all three parts of Parliament meet together.

The State Opening happens on the first day of a new parliamentary session or shortly after a general election.

This year is the first ‘Kings’ Speech for over 70 years, as the previous speeches were delivered of course by the Late Queen, Queen Elizabeth II. The King acknowledged this in his opening words

It is mindful of the legacy of service and devotion to this country set by My beloved Mother, The late Queen, that I deliver this, the first King’s Speech in over 70 years.

What is the Kings Speech?

The Kings Speech at the State Opening of Parliament is an opportunity for the King to outline the intended business of the Government. In 2023, the Government has laid out proposals to bring Bills (potential future legislation) on a number of items across three main themes:

  • Growing the Economy
  • Strengthening Society
  • Keeping People Safe

With particular regard to business and commerce, the Bills the Government is intending to bring are:

  • Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
  • Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill
  • Automated Vehicles Bill
  • Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill
  • Data Protection and Digital Information Bill
  • Media Bill
  • Arbitration Bill
  • Draft Rail Reform Bill

What is behind these Bills?

These Bills set out some key actions that will be debated by the House of Commons and the House of Lords before they are passed. The Kings Speech, and the supporting background sets out the following, which may be some of the most impactful on ISO Management systems.

(please note, these notes are published by the UK Government and can be accessed here)

Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill

The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill will make the UK more energy independent by increasing investor and industry confidence with regular annual oil and gas licensing. The Bill’s emissions tests will ensure that future licensing supports the transition to net zero.

Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill

The UK is the first European member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the first new member since the partnership was created. Joining as an independent member would have been impossible had the UK remained in the European Union.

The Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill will ensure the UK can meet international commitments under the CPTPP when the UK accedes.

Automated Vehicles Bill

The Automated Vehicles Bill will unlock a transport revolution by enabling the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles. It will cement the UK’s position as a global leader in this high tech and high growth industry and deliver one of the world’s most comprehensive legal frameworks for self-driving vehicles, with safety at its core.

Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill

The Bill will look to fix long-term problems in digital markets and tackling consumer rip-offs and bad business practices. The Bill will:

  • Empower consumers to help them get the deal that is right for them and increase their confidence in the products they buy and services they use.
  • Give the Competition and Markets Authority new powers to enable it to tackle anti-competitive activity swiftly and effectively.
  • Grant new powers to the Competition and Markets Authority to address the far-reaching power of a small number of tech companies

Data Protection and Digital Information Bill

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill seeks to create a new UK data rights regime, while taking tangible steps to harness the benefits of secure data use for everyone through innovation and technology.

The Bill reduces burdens on businesses (especially SMEs) by removing unnecessary barriers placed on scientific researchers, boosts the economy by £4.7 billion over 10 years, and enables innovations that advance the strength and prosperity of society. It does this through a combination of:

  • Allowing businesses to protect personal data in more proportionate and practical ways than under the EU’s GDPR
  • Clarifying and improving rules around using personal data for scientific research
  • Establishing a framework for secure digital verification services
  • Enabling “Smart Data” schemes across the economy
  • Ensuring the better use of data in delivery of health and adult social care, law enforcement, security, and other government services

In addition, additional powers will be given to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), to ensure it has the capabilities and powers to tackle organisations that breach data rules.

Media Bill

The Media Bill will make long-term changes to ensure viewers and listeners across the UK can continue to access public service television and radio content as technology changes.