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Clerk of the Parliaments

Volume 810: debated on Monday 22 February 2021

Announcement of Successor

My Lords, on 30 September I informed the House of Ed Ollard’s intention to retire from the office of Clerk of the Parliaments, with effect from 1 April. The recruitment process for his successor has now concluded.

The unanimous recommendation of the board was that Simon Burton should succeed Ed as Clerk of the Parliaments. His appointment follows an open and external competition, supported by employment consultants Saxton Bampfylde, which attracted a wide field of high-calibre candidates. A number of internal and external applicants were interviewed by a board consisting of me, the Lord Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, the Convenor of the Cross Benches, and Dame Sue Owen—a former Permanent Secretary at the DCMS and Civil Service diversity and inclusion champion. I am sure that all noble Lords will join me in congratulating Simon on his appointment, and I very much look forward to working with him.

We will have an opportunity to pay tribute to Ed’s career in the House nearer the point of his retirement, when I will table a Motion in the usual way, enabling us to record our appreciation for his distinguished service. With Simon’s appointment, the post of Clerk Assistant will fall vacant, so an open recruitment process will now begin.

My Lords, it is a particular pleasure to welcome in due course and to congratulate Simon Burton on his appointment as Clerk of the Parliaments, which, as the current incumbent knows, is a demanding job. All of us who have worked with Simon over the years know of his calm sense, tolerance of our foibles, expertise in the ways and means of this unique Chamber, knowledge of legislation and procedure, and wisdom in his advice. But it is not just us who think this: as the noble Baroness has said, those attributes were tested, for the first time, against external, and I gather very impressive, candidates. It was a challenging hurdle for our new Clerk of the Parliaments to jump, but he did so with flying colours.

We welcome him to his new role and wish him well. Life is always challenging in this place, but with Covid, R&R and no doubt other surprises to come, he will never be bored.