Two MPs Have To Be Funny After The Queen's Speech, Here Are Some That Have Gone Before

Two MPs Have To Be Funny After The Queen's Speech, Here Are Some That Have Gone Before

One of the highlights of Queen's Speech day is the two speeches from backbench MPs that open the Commons debate on the government's legislative programme.

The job of proposing and seconding a 'Loyal Address', thanking the Queen, is given to two government backbenchers. One of the MPs picked to speak is usually a parliamentary veteran, the other a promising newcomer. Jokes are a must. It is a chance to spot rising stars, or see them fall

This year the honour falls to veteran Tory Simon Burns, who is likely to sneak in some jokes at the expense of the Speaker. It will be seconded by South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray.

Last year, the then backbencher Penny Mordaunt brought the House down with a speech that managed to crowbar in the words "penis" and "testicles". She is now minster of state for the Armed Forces - the first woman to hold that job.

In 2012, Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi peppered his speech with references to Shakespeare. He also took a pop at Speaker John Bercow by noting that his constituency, which is 90% white, was not a "kaleidoscope" county. Adopting a phrase Bercow had used to describe the country under the Queen - much to the irritation of some. Zahawi now sits as a member of David Cameron's Number 10 Policy Unit.

The list of bright young upstarts given the job includes many familiar names. In 2009, the Loyal Address was seconded by Emily Thornberry. The Islington South and Finsbury MP made her way up the ranks and became Ed Miliband's shadow Attorney General. But then she sent a tweet about a van and a flag.

In 2001, David Lammy was picked by Tony Blair to deliver a speech. He told MPs how, having been summoned to the chief whip's office to be told he was being given the job, he misheard and thought he had been told to "take your clothes off". Lammy ended up as a culture minister and a business minister. And is now running for London mayor.

In 1992, the job fell to Conservative Andrew Mitchell. He climbed his way through the shadow cabinet and into Cameron's first government as international development secretary and then chief whip. But then he had a run in with the police at the gates of Downing Street.

In 1974, a new MP called Neil Kinnock was asked to give one of the speeches. It was also his maiden speech in the Commons - to add to the pressure. Kinnock went onto lead Labour.

And in 1971, Ken Clarke was given the job. The Rushcliffe MP ended up holding almost every big office of state including chancellor. He remains an MP.


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