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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 662: debated on Wednesday 26 June 2019

Before I take points of order, I have a small number of announcements to make, the first of which draws upon and indirectly relates to something that the Prime Minister said about her good wishes to the England female football team. I think that the House will want to know of the activities of the women’s parliamentary football team, which are regularly communicated to me, not least because I am the president of said team. I hope that the whole House will join me in wishing the women’s parliamentary football team well at the weekend in its Guinness world record attempt for the number of female footballers playing a game, an initiative being undertaken in collaboration with Equal Playing Field, whose mission is to challenge inequality in sport, particularly for girls and women globally.

Secondly, I remind the House that today marks the 40th anniversary of the House’s decision to endorse the proposal from Norman St John-Stevas, an extremely distinguished Leader of the House, to establish the system of departmental Select Committees. Since that momentous decision on 26 June 1979, those Committees have grown and developed into a key—I might almost be tempted to say “the key”—means by which the House holds Ministers to account in detail for their conduct of government. I hope that colleagues will agree that it was a decision that we should all celebrate.

Finally, as I know concern about human rights is widespread in the House, I hope that colleagues will welcome to our proceedings the Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration, Lobsang Sangay. He has been here before and he is here again. In a very important way, he represents the people of Tibet. We identify with you, sir; it is a pleasure to see you again, as colleagues will agree; and I look forward to seeing you later today. Please continue your good and important work, even in the face of considerable pressures.