Good morning. There will be very little normal politics this week. Britain is focused on the events taking place to mourn and commemorate Queen Elizabeth, and prepare for her funeral next week, and to mark the accession of King Charles III to the throne, and the main coverage of all this is on a seperate live blog. It’s here.
But parliament, and Westminster, have a huge role to play, and in the politics blog I will be focusing in particular on those aspects of the ceremonial events. I will also be covering any non-royal politics news that may be around. There won’t be much, but we are getting a Downing Street lobby briefing this morning.
At Westminster the main focus will be on Charles’s first visit to the Houses of Parliament as King. He will be in Westminster Hall (the oldest surviving part of the palace) to received addresses of condolence from the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, on behalf of the Commons, and the Lord Speaker, Lord McFall, on behalf of the Lords. After that the King will reply. As I came into the office a few minutes ago MPs and peers were queuing up to get into Westminster Hall for the event, which is due to start after 10am. My colleague Jessica Elgot has a preview here.
It all sounds quite formal and routine. But it all underlines quite how firmly embedded the monarchy is into the political life of the national. Britain is a constitutional monarchy, and one where the King is more visible and influential than other democracies with royal families. “If Liz Truss had been a Swedish political leader, she would have travelled to see the speaker of the Riksdag this week to be appointed as prime minister, not the monarch,” my colleague Martin Kettle pointed out, in a very good column on this last week. In the past it was common to hear people say that, after the Queen died, there would be a public debate about whether the reach of the royal family should be scale back. But since Thursday there has been no evidence to suggest that will happen at all, and events like this morning’s suggest this is a moment for continuity, not change.
The King will then travel to Scotland where early this evening he will received a similar motion of condolence from MSPs in the Scottish parliament.
Here are tweets from some parliamentarians at Westminster waiting to hear from the new King.
From the Conservative MP Greg Hands
From Labour’s Darren Jones
From the Conservative MP Robert Halfon
From the Labour MP Christian Wakeford
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