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Election of Lord Speaker

Volume 811: debated on Wednesday 21 April 2021

My Lords, on behalf of the whole House I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord McFall of Alcluith, on being elected Lord Speaker, and I look forward to working with him in his new role. I also offer our thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter of Kentish Town, and the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, for standing in this election. As with everything else over the last year, this election was impacted by Covid, but all three candidates rose admirably to the challenge of remote campaigning.

I also take the opportunity on behalf of the House to thank all members of staff, and the Hansard Society, who made the election possible and ran the process so smoothly. There will be a proper occasion for tributes to be made to the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, after he retires as Lord Speaker, so I will save mine until that time. But on behalf of the House, I would like to thank him for all his service to this House.

My Lords, I concur with the comments of the Lord Privy Seal and offer our congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord McFall, on his election as the next Lord Speaker of your Lordships’ House.

Noble Lords including the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, may recall that, when he was newly elected, we congratulated the Lord Speaker on breaking through the glass ceiling as the first male occupant of that post —there are very few times that us women can say that. There will be time later to pay proper tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, but at this stage I want to thank him for his service to this House. We look forward to the opportunity to pay tribute to his work.

This was an unusual election and I think that, as the noble Baroness, Lady Evans, said, the whole House will want to thank the officials of the House, the Hansard Society, and Mark D’Arcy and Jackie Ashley for hosting the hustings. I also want to thank the other candidates; I am sure the noble Lord, Lord McFall, will join me in this and has probably been in touch already. It was a difficult election and all the candidates showed the best of your Lordships’ House. As those of us who have done so in other lives know, standing for election is always difficult; you want to win and need to be prepared to lose. They all showed this House at its best and showed themselves at their best. They gave us an excellent and difficult choice, but from these Benches we send our warm congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord McFall. I have worked with him for many years already, but look forward to working with him in his new role.

My Lords, if I may add this briefly, I first met the noble Lord, Lord McFall, in the House of Commons when he came up to congratulate me on a political book that I had written. I of course immediately recognised him as a man of sound judgment and discernment. But over almost the last five years, I have recognised him as a man of action who brings forward his plans to completion and success. No Lord Speaker could have had a better or more loyal deputy, and no Lord Speaker has ever had a better preparation for the Woolsack as the noble Lord, Lord McFall. I congratulate all three candidates on the way that they have conducted their campaigns but, today, I congratulate him most sincerely and wish him the very best of luck for the future.