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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 599: debated on Monday 14 September 2015

I have two short statements to make. The first is an announcement in relation to the management of the House.

On 22 January the House agreed to the recommendations of the Governance Committee chaired by Jack Straw. That included the appointment of a new post of director general of the House of Commons reporting to the Clerk of the House but with clearly delineated autonomous responsibilities for the delivery of services and with the task of chairing the Executive Committee. I am pleased to tell the House that, in line with the process of recruitment agreed by the House, Mr Ian Ailles has been appointed as the first director general of the House of Commons and will be joining the House service on 27 October. He brings a wealth of experience in the private and public sectors, notably in the travel industry, and I am sure will enable us to raise our game in the quality of services which we provide.

I also want to make a short statement that is relevant both to today’s debate and much more widely, and which reflects discussions I have had with the other occupants of the Chair.

Colleagues, a very large number of Members have put in to speak in today’s Second Reading debate—the last time I looked no fewer than 62 Members were seeking to catch the eye of the Chair. I shall try to accommodate as many as possible by setting a time limit on Back-Bench speeches, but I am afraid some will inevitably be disappointed.

This may be a good moment to remind Members, and particularly new Members, of the expectation that those called to speak must remain for at least the next two speeches and must return to hear the wind-ups. That is in addition to being here for the opening speeches. This is not just a matter of courtesy, although that is not to be disregarded: it is important to the quality of the debate in this House that Members listen, and respond, to each others’ contributions, rather than merely offering their own opinions in isolation.

It is always very reassuring to have a Government Whip say from a sedentary position, “Very sensible.” [Interruption.] Mr Barclay it is on the record; you can’t retract now, man.