I have a brief statement to make to the House. I must inform Members that I have received the following letter from the Clerk of the House:
“Dear Mr Speaker,
As I have previously indicated to you, I would wish to retire on 30th September this year, on the 41st anniversary of my first joining the service of the House.
The procedural and management responsibilities which are now combined in the post of Clerk of the House present a formidable challenge. But I have been able to rely on the high quality and commitment of the staff at every level in the House and on the strengths of my fellow members of the Board of Management, who bring a richly diverse range of skills and experience to their work for Parliament. I have also been greatly assisted by the moral and practical support which I have received from you, from the Deputy Speakers, and from your colleagues on the House of Commons Commission.
The House of Commons is a much criticised institution; and its own Members are often as critical as anyone. But whatever its perceived failings, the House remains at the centre of political and public life and is the envy of most other countries in the world. Its durability and occasional bloody-mindedness have made, and continue to make, a crucial contribution to the country’s stability and prosperity. I have never for a moment regretted making my career in the House, and I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to serve as its Clerk.
Members on both sides of the House who have benefited from the sound and impartial advice of the Clerk, Sir Roger Sands, will be sorry to learn from your announcement, Mr. Speaker, that he is due to retire. As I have no doubt that Members on both sides of the House will wish to express their appreciation of his service to the House, I shall table a motion relating to his retirement before the House rises for the summer recess, to give them an opportunity to pay an appropriate tribute to him.