Prime minister Boris Johnson to welcome new parliament
Newly re-elected prime minister Boris Johnson is set to address new Conservative MPs on Monday as they gather in Westminster to take up their parliamentary seats.
Last week’s general election culminated in the Conservatives winning an 80-seat majority, with a number of the new 109 MPs elected in constituencies traditionally held by the Labour party.
Johnson will have to fill the posts of culture and Welsh secretaries as part of a cabinet reshuffle, but the first order of business in Parliament will be to formally elect the new Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who took over from the departing John Bercow in November.
The new MPs will then be sworn in before the formal state opening of Parliament occurs on Thursday with a new Queen’s Speech.
The Queen's Speech, outlining the programme for the new parliamentary term, is likely to include legislation linked to promises made during the election campaign, with Johnson having indicated that a pledge for NHS funding could be enshrined in law.
MPs will debate on approving the Queen’s Speech after it has been delivered, but with Johnson determined to bring his Withdrawal Agreement Bill back to parliament before Christmas, this may be interrupted. A vote on the bill could come as early as Friday.
According to the BBC, a source from Downing Street said: "The prime minister has been very clear that we have a responsibility to deliver a better future for our country and that we must repay the public's trust by getting Brexit done.
"That's why the first piece of legislation new MPs will vote on will be the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.”
The Conservative majority means that it is now highly likely that the bill will pass through Parliament in time to meet the prime minister’s pledge to leave the EU on January 31.
This will then trigger an 11-month window for the UK and EU to negotiate a new free-trade agreement which must be ratified before the end of the post-Brexit transitional period on December 31 2020, when the UK’s access to the single market will cease.