London: This time, the British Queen’s speech is going to be delayed because it has to be written on goatskin paper and the ink takes days to dry, media reports said on Monday quoted government sources as saying.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesperson suggested at a briefing of journalists today that the state opening of parliament, scheduled for June 19, will be pushed back.
The Telegraph, quoting 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.
The Queen’s speech is written by the government and presents an outline of its planned legislation for the next Parliamentary session.
It is read by the Queen from the Throne in the House of Lords at the State Opening of Parliament.
Also known as the gracious speech, the Queen’s speech was historically written on vellum with ink that takes three days to dry.
Although it is now written on thick goatskin parchment paper, this also needs several days to dry, meaning a speech cannot be amended at the last minute.
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 parchment paper and ready to go, the paper said.
But with the Tories and DUP still negotiating a deal to prop up May’s minority Government the contents of the Speech are still to be finalised.
The ruling Conservatives went from 331 seats to 318 in the general election, while Labour increased its number of MPs from 232 to 262.
Once the details are set in stone they can be committed to the goatskin paper and sent away for binding before being presented to Queen Elizabeth II.
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.