It has been reported Theresa May is cancelling next year's queen speech, which made me wonder what significance the queen's speech actually has, what is the purpose of it, if the prime minister can just cancel anyway?
It's a speech delivered from the throne in the House of Lords chamber that outlines the government's proposed policies and laws that they want to get passed for the new parliamentary session.
From the official UK Parliament's site:
The Queen's Speech
The Queen's Speech is delivered by the Queen from the Throne in the House of Lords. Although the Queen reads the Speech, it is written by the government. It contains an outline of its policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.
Despite the name, it's not actually written by the Queen but rather by government ministers and civil servants, and approved by the Prime Minister.
As for the reason why it can be cancelled, basically, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the next parliamentary session, starting on June 21, is doubled to 2 years, instead of the usual 1 year.
So, the government will not put forward a new legislative programme in 2018 and there's basically no state opening of parliament next year which means there's won't be a Queen's speech.
It means the Government will not put forward a new legislative programme next year and extends the next session until after the March 2019 leave date.
Cancelling the speech is unusual but not unprecedented as it was also cancelled under the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government in 2011.
It's also worth noting that there needs to be a vote on the Queen's speech in the House of Commons before it'll take place.
Since the Conservatives formed a minority government now, they have to rely on the DUP to get legislations passed and should the Queen's speech fail to pass, the Prime Minister must resign.
So, by cancelling the 2018 Queen's speech, the parliamentary session will be extended to 2019, which is after the Brexit talks conclude.
As seen, the Queen's speech has been defeated before in the past:
The Queen's Speech is thought of as the first test of a minority or coalition government. If any amendments to the Queen's Speech are passed by the House of Commons, or if the vote on the speech itself is lost, the Prime Minister must resign.
Tory Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin's 1924 King's Speech was defeated by 72 votes - he resigned the next morning and Ramsay MacDonald formed the first Labour government...which itself only lasted nine months.
The Queen's Speech marks the start of a session of Parliament, which usually lasts one year. Any legislation which has not completed its passage through Parliament within a session is lost at the end (though there is now an occasionally-used procedure for carrying over a bill from one session to the next).
Because of the complexity of the proposed Brexit legislation, and the loss of the Government's majority, the Government feels that extra time will be needed to properly scrutinise these new laws while also seeking cross-party consensus (since the Government doesn't have the numbers in the House of Commons to force changes through).
Hence it is having a double-length session in order to avoid running out of time. Since the Queen's Speech only occurs at the start of a session, and the next session will start in 2 years' time, there will be no Queen's Speech next year.