Before I call the shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, I have a very short statement to make. Having secured the necessary formal royal approval, I am very pleased to announce to the House the appointment of our new Serjeant at Arms, Ugbana Oyet. Ugbana is well known already to many Members of the House because of his role as Parliament’s principal electrical engineer and as programme director for the £143 million estate-wide engineering, infrastructure and resilience programme, which aims to make the parliamentary estate carbon-neutral by 2050. A chartered engineer and fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Ugbana has a strong track record of delivering multi-billion-pound projects, from a £1.8 billion village complex and gated community in Abu Dhabi—in time for the first grand prix there in 2009—to a new city in Saudi Arabia, including a power station and desalination plant, worth tens of billions of pounds.
Born in Nigeria, Ugbana moved to the UK with his family in 1991 and was at school in Chichester when he met Claire, his childhood sweetheart, who later became his wife. The couple have four children, three sons and a daughter, aged between 14 and 23. Ugbana is extremely personable and is well known across the parliamentary estate for helping people. His efforts were recognised recently when he won a diversity and inclusion award for being “an inspiring role model”. In his spare time, Ugbana plays basketball with his sons in their local team and sings with the St Mary Undercroft choir at one of the staff carol services in Speaker’s House.
The intention is that Ugbana will take up his role and duties as Serjeant at Arms next week—I very much expect and anticipate on Monday next week. I am sure colleagues and those who work in the service of the House will join me in warmly welcoming him to his role, congratulating him on all that he has achieved and wishing him well in the important and challenging period that lies ahead.