THE QUEEN’S SPEECH LIVE ON THE BBC – AS IT HAPPENS
The Queen’s Speech is going to be delayed because it has to be written on goatskin paper and the ink takes days to dry.
Whitehall sources suggested at a briefing of journalists in Westminster on Monday morning that the state opening of parliament, scheduled for June 19, will be pushed back.
Government sources have now claimed that the reason for the delay is the amount of time it takes to write the legislative agenda onto special archival paper.
However, critics have suggested that the Government is playing for time as it tries to hammer out the terms of a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party.
The difficulty lies in the simple fact that the contents of the Queen’s Speech are yet to be finalised after voters returned a hung Parliament on June 8.
There are reportedly copies of a Conservative majority Queen’s Speech and a Labour majority Queen’s speech written on the goatskin vellum paper and ready to go.
But with the Tories and DUP still negotiating a deal to prop up Theresa May’s minority Government the contents of the Speech are still to be finalised.
Once the details are set in stone they can be committed to the goatskin paper and sent away for binding before being presented to the Queen.
The Cabinet Office has confirmed that the speech is not printed on vellum, which is made of calfskin, but goatskin paper which also takes a few days for ink to dry.
However, despite its name, goatskin paper is not actually made from goatskin.
The material is in fact high-quality archival paper which is guaranteed to last for at least 500 years.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman declined to confirm that the Queen’s Speech would be held on June 19 as previously announced, telling a media briefing in Westminster that Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom will soon be releasing a statement on the date.
The spokesman said: “There will be an update from the Leader of the House about the state opening date shortly.”
Westminster sources confirmed to The Telegraph that the Speech will be delayed by “a few days” to allow the two parties to agree the small print of a confidence and supply agreement.
One source said the delay was understandable given that the date of the Speech had been set before the result of the election was known and that there was “nothing sinister” about the delay.
A Labour spokesman said: “Number 10’s failure to confirm the date of the Queen’s Speech shows that this government is in chaos, as it struggles to agree a backroom deal with a party with abhorrent views on LGBT and women’s rights.”