What is the Queen’s Speech — and can the Queen say no?

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked the Queen to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament. While he has to request the monarch to do this, the Queen’s role in the process is formal.

Can the Queen refuse?

Kings and queens in the past used their power of prorogation to suit their own purposes, but the Queen’s role nowadays is purely ceremonial.

While the UK doesn’t have a written constitution, the Queen’s powers are commanded by conventions that give her very little room to manoeuver.

As Head of State, the Queen must remain strictly neutral when it comes to politics. The Queen formally prorogues on the advice of the Privy Council, a group of the most senior lawmakers.

In other words, the likelihood is zero.

The Queen's role in the process is purely formal.
The Queen’s role in the process is purely formal. Photo: Getty Images

What is the Queen’s Speech?

The Queen’s Speech lays out the government’s future plans and the bills it plans to introduce. While its timing is flexible, it usually happens in the spring, marking the beginning of a new parliamentary session.

Queen Elizabeth II reads out the speech, written by the government, during a special ceremony in the House of Lords.

The Parliament is typically suspended for a short period of time before the new session starts. However, the timing of this suspension is controversial — because it effectively cuts short the time lawmakers have to stop a potential no-deal Brexit.

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