King Charles III will set out Rishi Sunak’s legislative programme ahead of the next general election in the first King’s Speech in seven decades today.
The speech will include legislation so Britain can formally join a bumper Indo-Pacific trade bloc.
The UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) marks the biggest post-Brexit trade deal to date.
But the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic is to stage its first major protest in London since its members were arrested on the day of the King’s coronation.
The State Opening of Parliament marks the start of a new parliamentary session and is known for its traditions, pomp and ceremony.
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Anti-monarchy group to stage protest
Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, is set to stage a protest during Charles’s first State Opening of Parliament as King.
A few hundred people are expected to gather near the House of Parliament.
It will be the group’s first major demonstration in London since its members were arrested on the day of the King’s coronation.
Charles’s first State Opening of Parliament as King
It will be the first State Opening of Parliament by Charles as King, although he delivered the Queen’s Speech in place of Elizabeth II last year.
Due to the late Queen’s long reign, it will be the first King’s Speech since George VI opened Parliament in 1950.
State Opening of Parliament timings
King Charles will preside over his first State Opening of Parliament as monarch later today.
All the key timings are rounded up here.
What to expect from Sunak’s last roll of dice before general election – analysis
King Charles will be giving his first King’s Speech today but Rishi Sunak might be writing his last unless he delivers something game-changing, writes political editor David Maddox in his analysis.
What will be in the King’s Speech?
Sentencing reforms, a smoking crackdown and a move to phase out leaseholds could all be included in the King’s Speech.
Rishi Sunak has promised it will offer long-term decisions rather than “short-term gimmicks”.
This year there will also be seven bills carried over from the last session to complete their passage in the next.
What is the State Opening of Parliament?
The State Opening of Parliament marks the start of a new parliamentary session.
It normally takes place annually with MPs, peers and the monarch all in attendance at the Palace of Westminster.
A key part of the ceremony is the King’s Speech, where he sets out the legislative programme for the coming session.
The King has no role in setting the legislative agenda, but reads out the list on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Government.
The event is known for its traditions such as the sight of Black Road banging on the door of the Commons and the taking of one MP as “hostage” to secure the safe return of the monarch.
But beyond the fanfare, it will offer an insight into the key priorities for Rishi Sunak.
This year’s ceremony will also make history, with Charles set to give the first King’s Speech in seven decades to mark the start of the next session of Parliament.
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