Harpenden MP opens new session of Parliament

THE HONOUR of opening a new Parliament was bestowed on local MP Peter Lilley this week.

Mr Lilley, MP for Harpenden and Hitchin, addressed a full Chamber on Tuesday afternoon when he was asked to move the motion to accept the Queen’s speech.

Mr Lilley’s speech, which was hailed by both the Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Leader Harriet Harman as a “superb speech”, highlighted current issue such as immigration, the situation in Afganistan and the peculiarity of opening the first peacetime coalition government for 80 years.

Mr Lilley said that it was an honour to his constituency to read the opening speech, a task specifically bestowed on him by Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin.

Tory MP Mr Lilley, who referred to his Lib Dem colleagues as his “honourable ally”, began his speech by applauding the Prime Minsiter’s dedication to tackling the deficit as soon as possible. “Tackling a deficit is like treating an illness,” he said. “The longer we put it off, the more drastic the surgery we need.”

He also commended the government’s decision to make Afghanistan its top foreign priority: “I know that we cannot overnight abandon commitments to allies and the Afghans themselves, but I urge my right hon. friends to scale back our aims realistically and bring our young soldiers home with all due speed. Mr Lilley, who also celebrated his wedding anniversary on Tuesday, concluded his speech with a discussion on an issue that the coalition government has yet to agree on - whether or not to support marriage with tax breaks.