I have a short statement to make. Under the chairmanship of the right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr Straw), the Select Committee on the Governance of the House of Commons recommended, and the House agreed on 22 January, that the roles of Clerk of the House and Chief Executive should henceforth be split. It invited the House of Commons Commission to make arrangements to select a new Clerk and thereafter to begin to recruit for a separate role of Director General of the House of Commons. Accordingly, a trawl for the vacant post of Clerk of the House of Commons was held. Four applicants were interviewed by a panel chaired by me and also including the Leader of the House, the shadow Leader of the House, the Chairman of the Finance and Services Committee and Liz McMeikan, an independent assessor. The unanimous recommendation of the panel was that Mr David Natzler, at present acting Clerk of the House, should be recommended for appointment. I am glad to be able to tell the House that Her Majesty the Queen has approved the appointment. I am sure that the House will join me in warmly congratulating David.
I have further to report to the House that the deadline for applications for the separate position of Director General of the House of Commons has passed and that the selection process is under way. In keeping with the recommendation of the Straw Committee, it is expected that this recruitment process will be completed very early in the next Parliament.