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Volume 689: debated on Monday 22 February 2021

[Mr Speaker in the Chair]

Virtual participation in proceedings commenced (Orders, 4 June and 30 December 2020). [NB: [V] denotes a Member participating virtually.]

Before we come to questions, I would like to pay tribute to our friend and colleague from Catering Services, Julia Clifford, who passed away last week having contracted covid just after bravely fighting cancer.

Julia joined the House of Commons on 28 October 1985, having worked first in the old Westminster Cafeteria off Westminster Hall and then in the Members’ Tea Room. She was a very hard-working and popular member of our parliamentary family who always had a smile and time for everybody. I will personally remember her for her sense of humour and in particular her love of animals —we often talked about her family and her pets. She will be greatly missed. I have asked the House authorities to consider renaming the Members’ Tea Room to Julia’s Tea Room.

Our condolences go to her husband John, to her sons Ben and Jack, and to the rest of the family. In time, when we are able, we will hold a service to commemorate the lives of colleagues who have sadly passed away from covid. As I say, the Tea Room will never be the same: that smiling face, somebody who was happy, somebody who used to speak to us, somebody who was always there. No matter how down this House was, Julia was always there for all of us. She is sadly missed by us and by her colleagues in the Tea Room, but she will never ever be forgotten. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”]