My Lords, I am sure the whole House will join me in congratulating the noble Baroness on becoming our next Speaker. I am sure that everybody will wish to join in supporting her and encouraging her not just in this transition period but throughout her term of office.
My purpose in rising now is to inform the House that there will be an opportunity to pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, the Lord Speaker, for her distinguished work as Speaker of this House and for being the first holder of the office of Lord Speaker. That occasion will take place at the start of business on Monday 5 September.
My Lords, I rise briefly as I realise that now is not the time for tributes. However, as Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition in this House, I just want to convey the very warm congratulations of our Benches to the noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza. This is another step in the evolution of our House. We have had another successful election for a Lord Speaker. It is extraordinary that we have had two women. I know that the noble Baroness will have the confidence of the whole House and that she will do a splendid job for the Lords, inside and outside Parliament, and for Parliament as a whole.
My Lords, I intend to follow the example of others and not be present for first business on 5 September. Therefore, I trespass on the patience of the House for a single moment to add my congratulations to the noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza. She has been an effective and distinguished Convenor of the Cross-Bench Peers and I am certain that she will be an effective and distinguished Lord Speaker. I wish her well in those responsibilities. I express my deepest gratitude to the House for the honour that it gave to me in entrusting me with the responsibility of being first Lord Speaker for the past five years. It has been an extraordinary experience and I owe a debt of gratitude to many people in the House for their support during that time.