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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 561: debated on Monday 15 April 2013

I would like to make a short statement about the arrangements for Lady Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday. I have received a number of representations—direct and indirect, formal and informal—concerning how the House and Parliament as an institution might best mark this occasion. I have considered all of these, but concluded that the most appropriate means of indicating our sentiments would be for the chimes of Big Ben and the chimes of the Great Clock to be silent for the duration of the funeral proceedings. I have, therefore, made the necessary arrangements to achieve this. I believe that there can be a profound dignity and deep respect expressed in, and through, silence and I am sure that the House will agree.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. As you know, Lady Thatcher held Parliament in great reverence in her time both in this House and in the other place. I am confident that this will be seen as a dignified and respectful gesture on the part of Parliament. I am grateful to you, Mr Speaker, and I am confident that Lady Thatcher’s family will take it very much in that spirit and be hugely appreciative of what you have decided.

No, I am not taking further points of order at this stage. We have an urgent question and a statement, and there will no doubt be other points of order.