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Lord Speaker’s Statement

Volume 808: debated on Thursday 17 December 2020

My Lords, before we begin Oral Questions, I would just like to say a few words. During Oral Questions, I will leave the Woolsack and hand over to the excellent Senior Deputy Speaker. The reason is that I have been called in to receive a coronavirus vaccination.

There are perhaps some advantages to being 82, going on 83, and it is not an appointment that I wish to miss. Vaccinations save lives and I would urge anyone called forward to respond. This month marks a new chapter in the fight against the virus and I applaud the work of all those who have been working night and day in our health service and those who have moved heaven and earth to make this vaccine possible.

Secondly, I would like to wish everyone here in the Chamber, all those taking part virtually and those who have been and are watching our proceedings from outside, a very happy Christmas indeed. Tributes to staff come later in the day but, for my part, I thank everyone concerned for responding so magnificently to the crisis.

Oral Questions will now begin. Please can those asking supplementary questions keep them reasonably short and confined to two points. I ask that Ministers’ answers are also brief.