PORTSMOUTH will take centre stage when MP Penny Mordaunt becomes the first woman for 57 years to address her peers following the Queen’s Speech tomorrow.
Ms Mordaunt, the Conservative MP for Portsmouth North, has been given the honour of proposing the ‘Loyal Address’.
Her speech will follow the State Opening of Parliament when the Queen will set out the agenda for the government for the forthcoming session.
In a parliamentary tradition, two MPs are chosen every session to propose and second the speech made by the Queen.
The task is regarded as a huge honour and is given to two government backbenchers.
Ms Mordaunt is not allowed to outline what her speech is about, but told The News of her pride in being asked to make the address.
By convention, the speeches are not contentious and contain both humour and flattering references to the MPs’ constituencies.
Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I have been asked to do it – it’s a real privilege.
‘It gives me a chance to speak about Portsmouth and all aspects of the city and the people that live there.
‘It’s a fantastic opportunity to champion the place. I am really looking forward to it.’
The last Portsmouth politician to be given the honour was Sir Hedworth Meux, who attained Admiral of Fleet in the Royal Navy.
He seconded the Loyal Address in 1917.
Ms Mordaunt said the historical significance of Portsmouth during this commemorative year for D-Day was probably one of the reasons she was chosen.
She said: ‘I suspect a lot of it has to do with Portsmouth and what’s happening in Portsmouth.
‘I am going to be talking about D-Day, the navy and all sorts of other things.
‘It’s a great honour. I am going to do my best.
‘I have spoken in the House many times but clearly this is a really important speech.’
Following the opening speeches, the leader of the opposition comments on the contents of the legislative programme, followed by the prime minister, and after this backbenchers may speak.