Residents of Brecon and Radnorshire played a historic role in the Queen’s Speech after local MP Fay Jones was invited to ‘second’ the Loyal Address.
Each year, the State Opening of Parliament sets out the government agenda for Parliament’s new session. For 59 years, Her Majesty The Queen has visited Parliament to deliver what’s known as the ‘Gracious Address’ but mobility problems prevented the Queen from taking part. The speech was read instead by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
Following the speech, MPs gathered to debate the contents – known as the Loyal Address. The Government selects a veteran MP to propose the Address, and a junior MP, thought to be a rising star, to speak next. By tradition, the speech is meant to be light-hearted, often detailing constituency matters. Being selected by the Government is thought to be a great privilege.
During the speech, Fay described the role as an ‘honour’ – especially in the year that Her Majesty celebrates the Platinum Jubilee. She told a packed House of Commons that her constituents had previously proposed the Loyal Address, when the Labour MP Caerwyn Rodrick performed the role in 1975. She drew laughs from across the chamber by recounting entertaining and amusing anecdotes from her experience as a Member of Parliament, gently poking fun at Parliamentary colleagues, including the Leader of the Opposition.
Ms Jones used the speech to talk about the importance of farming and food production to her constituency. She said: “My constituency is kept thriving by thousands of farmers, not trustafarian farmers who inherit their wealth, but the ordinary, mud-under-the-fingernail grafting farmer, who works year round to put food on our plates and give their kids a future.” She also highlighted the constituency’s military veterans – welcoming the Government’s plans to table legislation to end vexatious prosecutions of Northern Ireland veterans.
Her speech was met with great reception from across the Chamber, including the Prime Minister who said: “She may only have been an MP for only a few short years, but she has already established herself as a fantastic campaigner - changing the law to ban cyber-flashing, saving Brecon barracks, and—with 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards—securing the return of a permanent Welsh regiment in Wales. She is a tireless advocate for Welsh veterans and the armed services generally, an issue that is personal as well as political for her.”
Even the Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer praised the speech – suggesting Fay was ‘ Maybe she is an iron lady in the making”.
Speaking after the speech, Fay said: “To carry out this honour on behalf of people in Brecon and Radnorshire was simply incredible. There is no finer constituency to represent and to talk about it during the Loyal Address will remain one of the greatest privileges of my career.”
To watch Fay’s speech please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_Dqv97hm3Y
To read in full please visit Hansard: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2022-05-10/debates/CBAB1589-5432-4E81-B923-4AC59B611F67/DebateOnTheAddress#contribution-1C173C5E-D24E-4F56-8035-FB5B142E7572