Tuesday 9th July 2024

(4 days, 8 hours ago)

Commons Chamber
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Edward Leigh Portrait Sir Edward Leigh (in the Chair)
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Under the terms of Standing Order No. 1A, I am now required to ascertain whether Sir Lindsay Hoyle is willing to be chosen as Speaker.

14:45
Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley) (Ind)
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First, I thank my constituents of Chorley for returning me to this House and allowing me to put myself forward again as Speaker. It is an honour to serve the people of Chorley, as I have done steadfastly for the last 44 years, as a councillor on the local authority and then as their Member of Parliament for the past 27 years. I also thank my wife Catherine and daughter Emma, and the staff in the constituency office in Chorley, for all their support.

Of course, it was the first time in my political career that I campaigned without hearing the wise words of my late father Doug, giving me his opinions on how to campaign—he was always going to give me that, whatever the polls were doing and whatever needed to be said. I can still hear him now, saying, “Don’t stop now. You have to keep going.” I must say, after 25,000 steps a day during the campaign, I certainly did that.

I want to give a warm welcome to all the new Members of the House. I also welcome Sir Edward Leigh to his new role as Father of the House, and Diane Abbott to her place as Mother of the House. Sir Edward, you have served this place and your constituents for 41 years. Diane, you have served for 37 years, and broken many glass ceilings along the way. I thank the former Father of the House, Sir Peter Bottomley, and of course the former Mother of the House, Baroness Harriet Harman, for the support they gave me during my speakership.

Sir Edward, I know you are a man who respects traditions. Indeed, when you ran for Speaker in 2019, you were keen to bring back the use of the wig by the Speaker. Hopefully, though, you will look kindly on me and agree that I still have a decent enough head of hair, although not quite as luscious as that of the former Member for Lichfield—[Laughter.] You know I am only joking, Michael! I was thinking just the other day, Sir Edward, that you must be the only person who went to bed last Thursday evening as a father of six children, and woke up the father of 649.

On a serious note, it has been an absolute privilege to serve this House as the 158th Speaker. I must say that four and a half years have flown. With the authority of the Chair comes great responsibility, which is something I have never taken lightly or for granted.

I know from experience that decisions have consequences, but with experience comes wisdom, and if re-elected, I will be guided by that experience as I continue to be fair, impartial and independent.

To say that I had the most unusual speakership in the last Parliament is an understatement, from ensuring that the House could function during the covid pandemic —new Members might want to google the Rees-Mogg conga—to adapting technology developed during covid to allow President Zelensky to be the first world leader to broadcast to MPs in this Chamber. It was, of course, an honour to represent this House at the lying in state of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, to present the address to the new King in Westminster Hall, and to attend his coronation. Needless to say, in this role, you need staying power. I have already been Speaker during the tenure of three Prime Ministers, two monarchs—and one Jim Shannon! [Laughter.]

There has never been a dull moment; it is an incredible job, which I want to continue. There is so much more still to do, because I care about the reputation and the standards of this House. I care about enabling the Government to do their job in this Chamber, and about enabling the Opposition to hold the Government to account. I care about supporting Back Benchers to pursue issues that are important to their constituencies— as someone who was a Back-Bench Member for many years, I know how important that is—and I care about you individually, both as Members who have a job to do in this building and as people trying to do those jobs with constituents, staff and families to consider. I have worked tirelessly, and will continue to do so, to keep Members safe, which is the fundamental part of protecting democracy. On that basis, I submit myself to the House as your Speaker, seeking to be your champion.

14:51
Cat Smith Portrait Cat Smith (Lancaster and Wyre) (Lab)
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I beg to move, That Sir Lindsay Hoyle do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.

As far as I am concerned, the best thing about having Lindsay as Speaker is how good it is to have someone in the Chair who does not have an accent. I have been talking to lots of my constituents over the past six weeks, and they agree with me! So I have figured it out, Lindsay. We are not the ones with the accents; it is everyone else.

But seriously, Lindsay is a great champion for Lancashire, just as he is for this House of Commons. None of us in Lancashire could have imagined that Nancy Pelosi would walk those famous cobbles of Coronation Street, but Lindsay, you did it. It seems that no part of Lancashire’s cultural reputation is out of bounds for Lindsay when hosting international speakers—indeed, having a pint of mild in the Rovers Return with Nancy Pelosi.

It is a great pleasure today to be able to speak about my good friend from Chorley. I have several friends from Chorley, including my office manager Steven, who often regales my Lancaster constituency office with tales of his childhood in Lancashire’s second town. One of my favourite anecdotes is of Chorley zoo—I did not know that Chorley had a zoo. Apparently, it is known as Chog zoo; that might be the first reference in Hansard to Chog, which is the slang for Chorley. Upon further investigation, the zoo was in fact Pets Corner in Astley Park. However, to this day, I suspect that a young Steven was mistaking the Hoyle household menagerie for an actual zoo. With cats, dogs, parrots and tortoises, Lindsay Hoyle really does live out the truism that we are a nation of animal lovers.

If you head three hours south from Lancashire, you will find yourself here. Arriving in this grand building as a newly elected Member is daunting—the weight of pressure that you feel to deliver for your constituents, using parliamentary procedures that seem so confusing to bring about the change you have promised, can be immense. It can be difficult to know where to start, but a good place to start is by electing a good Speaker of the House of Commons, one with experience of eventualities that could not be foreseen. Lindsay recalled in his remarks the covid restrictions we needed to adapt to at speed during the pandemic. Indeed, he is the Speaker who steered us through that pandemic and steered us through those Rees-Mogg congas. He adapted procedures for the times we found ourselves in.

It is also important to know that we have a Speaker who champions the voices of us Back Benchers, and one who ensures that all voices—Government and Opposition—are heard. Our Speaker is fair, impartial and independent. Newly elected Members will find a great friend in our Speaker, and I know I have. Being from Lancashire myself, I had the good fortune of knowing Lindsay before I was elected, and over the years he has been a great source of advice and guidance, some of which I took and some of which I chose to ignore. All I can say is that the advice I ignored I regret ignoring, and live to tell the consequences. Despite being annoyingly right about many things, which is a good Lancashire trait by the way, he will ensure that his door is open to all Members at times of need. I can vouch that he does a good brew—it is Yorkshire Tea though—but for those who prefer something from the right side of the Pennines and from the red rose county, I can say that his is the only place on this estate outside my own office I have managed to get a hot Vimto.

However, we all have our character flaws, and regrettably Lindsay does not support Lancashire’s finest football team, Barrow, instead donning the colours of Bolton Wanderers.

Cat Smith Portrait Cat Smith
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We have a Bolton Wanderers fan.

We should note that that team has both blue and red on its crest, and I think that exemplifies Mr Speaker’s even-handedness. As a proud champion of Lancashire’s rugby league tradition, outside Westminster his favourite place is cheering on Warrington Wolves, and in the summer months Lancashire county cricket club. Like all good sports people, Lindsay knows fair play and hard work. For all those reasons and so many more, I am proud and honoured to propose that Sir Lindsay Hoyle takes the Chair today.

Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 1A), That Sir Lindsay Hoyle do take the Chair of this House as Speaker.

Question agreed to.

Sir Edward Leigh left the Chair, and Sir Lindsay Hoyle was conducted to the Chair by Cat Smith and Sir David Davis.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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(standing on the upper step): Before I take the Chair as Speaker-Elect, I wish to thank the House for the honour it has again bestowed upon me. I am aware that it is the greatest honour it can give any of its Members. I propose to do all within my power to preserve and cherish its best traditions. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”] I also thank both Cat and David.

The Speaker-Elect sat down in the Chair and the Mace was placed upon the Table.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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Before I call the Prime Minister, let me just say that we have a busy day ahead of us, with further ceremony in the House of Lords and the most returning hon. Members to be sworn in. I therefore encourage the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and other leaders to be quite brief today. I hope that Members respect the fact that only leaders will make speeches; I am sorry for other Members who may wish to speak.

I have to say a big thank you to the staff of this House for the way they have brought all new Members in and shown them the way around. I hope that the buddies and everybody involved have made a real difference. I must say it is light years from 1997 when I first came in, and long may we continue that.

I call the Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer.

14:59
Keir Starmer Portrait The Prime Minister (Keir Starmer)
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Mr Speaker-Elect, on behalf of the whole House, may I be the first to congratulate you on your re-election? Those of us who were here in the previous Parliament will always remember the wonderful support you provided to the former Conservative Member, Craig Mackinlay, and his inspiring battle to overcome his injuries from sepsis. All of those returning will remember, as I do, the speech he gave just a few weeks ago, which was inspiring and moving. We wish him well; I had the privilege on that occasion to meet his family and young daughter.

That support, Mr Speaker-Elect, was characteristic of your profound care for the interests and welfare of all Members, especially Back Benchers. I am grateful that new Members will be able to look to you as they begin the great privilege of serving their constituents in this House. May I, too, welcome each and every one of the new Members who is here for the first time, starting their great responsibility?

I also thank the right hon. Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) for presiding over this election, and congratulate him on becoming the new Father of the House. More than 40 years of continuous service is a stunning achievement. Back in the 1970s, Sir Edward wrote a book described as

“a personal collection of quotations dating from 3000 BC to the present day which might be said to cast some light on the workings of the Tory mind”.

After the last six weeks, it might be time for a new edition.

Mr Speaker-Elect, you preside over a new Parliament that is the most diverse by race and gender that this country has ever seen, and I am proud of the part that my party, and every party, has played in that; and this intake includes the largest cohort of LGBT+ MPs of any Parliament in the world. Given all that diversity, Mr Speaker-Elect, I hope that you will not begrudge me a slight departure from convention to pay tribute to the new Mother of the House, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott), who has done so much in her career, over so many years, to fight for a Parliament that truly represents modern Britain. We welcome her back to her place.

As in any new Parliament, we now have the opportunity and responsibility to put an end to a politics that has too often seemed self-serving and self-obsessed, and to replace the politics of performance with the politics of service, because service is a precondition for hope and trust, and the need to restore trust should weigh heavily on every Member here, new and returning alike. We all have a duty to show that politics can be a force for good, so whatever our political differences, it is time to turn the page, unite in a common endeavour of national renewal, and make this new Parliament a Parliament of service.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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I call the Leader of the Opposition, Rishi Sunak.

15:02
Rishi Sunak Portrait Rishi Sunak (Richmond and Northallerton) (Con)
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Mr Speaker-Elect, I am pleased to join the Prime Minister in welcoming you back to the Speaker’s Chair, and may I also praise the wonderful speech from the hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyre (Cat Smith)?

I start by congratulating the Prime Minister on his election victory; as he takes on his formidable task, he and his family deserve the good wishes of all of us in this House. In our politics, we can argue vigorously, as the Prime Minister and I did over the past six weeks, but still respect each other, and whatever disputes we may have in this Parliament, I know that everyone in this House will not lose sight of the fact that we are all motivated by our desire to serve our constituents and our country, and to advance the principles that we honourably believe in.

I welcome to their places every Member, new and old, and congratulate them on their results; to be sent to this place by one’s constituents is the greatest honour, privilege and responsibility. I know that every one of us will try to repay the trust placed in us, and I look forward to continuing to represent the interests of my rural north Yorkshire constituents. One of the great aspects of our system is that no matter how high you rise, you still have that constituency, which keeps you grounded, and my advice to all Members is to appreciate the role that you have, every day that you have it.

For those of us in my party, let me begin with a message to those who are no longer sitting behind me: I am sorry. We have lost too many diligent, community-spirited representatives whose wisdom and expertise will be missed in the debates and discussions ahead. It is important that after 14 years in government, the Conservative party rebuilds, so we will now take up the crucial role of His Majesty’s official Opposition professionally, effectively and humbly. Restoring trust begins with remembering that being here is an opportunity to do what those we serve expect from us. In our case, that means holding the new Government to account.

May I congratulate the Father of the House, my right hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh)? He has given 41 years of remarkable, dedicated service to this House and his constituency. I know full well how ferociously my right hon. Friend fights for the interests of his constituents, and I applaud him for that. He is also testament to the benefits of an early morning dip in the Serpentine. Members may be interested to note that the Bottomleys have had a big influence on my right hon. Friend’s career: in 1974, my right hon. Friend ran against Arthur Bottomley in Middlesbrough in his first effort to enter this place. Today, he takes over from Sir Peter, who will be missed. May I also congratulate the new Mother of the House, the right hon. Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott)? We have our differences on policy, but no one can deny the right hon. Lady’s important role in this House, and the inspiration she has provided for so many young women of colour. The right hon. Lady is truly in every sense of the word a trailblazer.

May I join you, Mr Speaker-Elect, in thanking House staff for their hard work in welcoming our new colleagues to this House and their service over the coming Parliament? Finally, may I congratulate you, Mr Speaker-Elect? When you first ascended to the Speaker’s Chair, you did so with a healthy majority, and that was testament to your wide appeal and the confidence that this House places in you and your judgments.

The last Conservative Prime Minister to speak from the Opposition Benches, the right hon. John Major, said about the role of the Speaker:

“The job specification is pretty daunting: the patience of Job and the wisdom of Solomon are only the basic requirements. We demand also impartiality, independence and fairness.”—[Official Report, 7 May 1997; Vol. 294, c. 9.]

Mr Speaker-Elect, you have shown over the past four and a half years how to protect that careful balance. The past few years in this House have been at times difficult, and you, Sir, have always brought this House together. That was clear when we lost our colleague Sir David Amess. I know your guidance and support for Members then was greatly appreciated.

It is a privilege to be in this House. Our democracy is powerful and, as we have witnessed, it can be definitive, but I know that this House will, true to its best traditions, hold the Executive to account, and that Mr Speaker-Elect will facilitate that. In conclusion, I have no doubt that we will face difficult days together in this place, but I also know that I speak for the whole House when I say that we will all welcome your leadership and guidance in the months and years ahead.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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I call the Father of the House.

15:07
Edward Leigh Portrait Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con)
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As the first Back Bencher to speak in this Parliament, let me say that I seem to remember that almost the very first thing you said in your distinguished career as our Speaker, Mr Speaker-Elect—you said it almost before you arrived in the Chair—was that your primary job was to defend us Back Benchers, and I know that you will do that with enormous spirit and diligence. This place is primarily about great events and the Opposition holding the Government to account, but it is also about the right and duty of all us Back Benchers to have our views and our say, even if some of our views are a bit idiosyncratic. We all welcome the fact that we are such a diverse Parliament in every single way, but above all, we are a Parliament of a diversity of views. We are all equal. To be fair, some are more equal than others, but you, Mr Speaker-Elect, will defend our right to speak our mind and to hold the Government to account.

I pay tribute to my predecessor, Sir Peter Bottomley, who gave such wonderful service to this House. He sent me a lovely little note today. He said, “Have fun, do some good, and make people happy.” You, Mr Speaker-Elect, cannot make all of us happy all the time, but every single day, you try to make most of us happy for most of the time.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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I call the Mother of the House.

15:09
Diane Abbott Portrait Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington) (Lab)
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I congratulate the Speaker-Elect on his election. He has been Speaker through tumultuous times, but he has never failed to serve with grace, expertise and fairness. I also congratulate the 304 new Members entering Parliament after the election, and say to them: it is a great job, and you will never regret coming here. I congratulate the officers of the House, who have organised such a meticulous and careful induction. When I was a new MP, they just gave you a bunch of keys and told you to get on with it.

When I was a new Member in 1987, there were only 40 female Members of Parliament. Today, we have 264. Some of us are glad that we have lived to see this. I cannot speak about the increased number of female Members of Parliament without referencing my predecessor, Baroness Harriet Harman, who did so much work to have an equal and diverse House.

We are going into very tumultuous times. Historically, the House has played a role in events both national and international. I am sure that it will be the same going forward, and that we will be presided over excellently by the Speaker-Elect.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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I call the leader of the Liberal Democrats.

15:11
Ed Davey Portrait Ed Davey (Kingston and Surbiton) (LD)
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Mr Speaker-Elect, it is a real pleasure and privilege to say, on behalf of those on the Liberal Democrat Benches, congratulations on your re-election. You know only too well how tough a task you are taking on, so thank you for agreeing to serve. You have shown time and again your commitment to the vital role that the House plays in holding the Government of the day to account. As the Mother of the House said, the new Government face a difficult task in clearing up the mess they have inherited. We on the Liberal Democrat Benches will hold the Government to account; that is our job. We will focus on the health and care crisis, on ending the sewage scandal, and on helping people with the cost of living crisis.

Mr Speaker-Elect, the new Government have a huge majority, so it will be a particularly difficult job for the Speaker to help the Opposition parties as they do their job of holding the Government to account. I am sure that you will do it with independence and impartiality, as you always have. We want to work constructively with you on that, as the largest third-party force in this Parliament for over 100 years.

For the benefit of new Members, may I say, Mr Speaker-Elect, that you have always been a real champion of the security and safety of all Members and staff, as well as looking after our health and welfare? We are grateful to you for doing that, Sir. Just yesterday, you asked after my health following my active campaign. The House may be interested to know that after I had reassured you about it, you expressed real enthusiasm about bungee jumping. May I congratulate you again, and wish you the very best for this Parliament?

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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I call the leader of the Scottish National party.

15:14
Stephen Flynn Portrait Stephen Flynn (Aberdeen South) (SNP)
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Thank you very much, Mr Speaker-Elect. I wish to begin by welcoming all new Members to the Chamber, in particular those from Scottish constituencies. There are probably a few more new Members from Scottish constituencies than I would have liked, but I look forward to working constructively with them to deliver in the best interests of the people we are all so fortunate to represent.

To you, Mr Speaker-Elect, I think it is safe to say that you and I did not always see eye to eye during the course of the last Parliament. But in politics, and in life, it is important to let bygones be bygones and to focus on the future. Events of that time showed us that we have quite a lot in common, both then and at the general election, because despite the best efforts, and indeed the best intentions, of certain people, we both managed to hang on to the seats that we hold so dear. I look forward to working constructively with you over the coming weeks, months and years, to allow us to best represent the people we respect and the finest traditions of this House.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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I call the leader of the Democratic Unionist party.

15:15
Gavin Robinson Portrait Gavin Robinson (Belfast East) (DUP)
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Congratulations, Mr Speaker-Elect. We are thrilled to see you back in the Chair. Some new Members of Parliament who have yet to understand just how this place works will learn through time that my hon. Friend the Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) needed no further encouragement. While the reference was appreciated, no doubt, by his mother and others, Members will see the consequences.

We have all survived, and some of us even enjoyed an energetic election campaign. All of us will have experienced the odd one who approached us and said, “I’m not voting for you.” I had my fair share, and there is no surprise in that. But in the Guildhall Square in Londonderry— somewhere I would not expect to get too many votes—this man came up and said, “I’m not voting for you; I’m voting for Lindsay Hoyle.” He was a Chorley man, and he impressed upon me the constituency grounding you have, your commitment to the community, and the length of service you have given him, his neighbours and your neighbours. He impressed upon me how fondly you are thought of within your home constituency.

I, in turn, was able to reflect to him how you have risen within the office you hold; how over the last number of years we have seen just how important it is to have a true champion of Back-Bench representatives in Parliament. You have given us that. It was a pleasure for me to reflect to him, and to you and the House today, just how fond we are of you. You bring solemnity to the office you hold, but you never lose the steadfast and chirpy nature of your Lancashire roots. Thank you for putting yourself forward and for being prepared to serve us—this House and democracy—in this way. On behalf of my party colleagues and, I trust, those others representing Northern Ireland constituents, I wish you well and thank you for it.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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I call the leader of Reform UK.

15:17
Nigel Farage Portrait Nigel Farage (Clacton) (Reform)
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Mr Speaker-Elect, thank you very much. We are the new kids on the block. We have no experience in this Parliament whatsoever, even though some of us have tried many times over the years to get here, so we cannot judge you from working in this place, but we can judge you from how the outside world sees you. I mean not just the United Kingdom but the world, because Prime Minister’s question time is global, box office politics. It is pretty clear to everyone that you act with great neutrality and that you have brought tremendous dignity to the role as Speaker, so we absolutely endorse you entirely for this job. That is, I must say, in marked contrast to the little man who was there before you, who besmirched the office so dreadfully in doing his best to overturn the biggest democratic result in the history of the country. We support you fully, Sir.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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I call the leader of Plaid Cymru.

15:19
Liz Saville Roberts Portrait Liz Saville Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) (PC)
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Diolch yn fawr iawn, Llefarydd. I, too, rise to congratulate you on your re-election as Speaker of this House, and to wish you well in presiding over this historic Session of the new Parliament. I am heartened that, for the first time in history, the proportion of women elected here is over 40%. More than half of those are new to this House. It is fantastic to see steady progress towards proper representation.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate not just the incoming Government on their victory, but the smaller parties in this place. All of us here, whether we belong to the largest parties, the smallest parties or no parties at all, were elected in the same way. Whatever the size of our parliamentary grouping, the principle of one vote, one value is the foundation of our democracy. That principle should be cherished and defended for the sake of all our constituents.

I repeat to the House what I said upon your election all those years ago: all those constituents are equal and they all deserve respect. We begin the work of representing and championing our constituents, and I have every confidence, Mr Speaker-Elect, that you will continue to ensure that representatives here are treated fairly, because our constituents should be treated fairly, too. Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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I call the co-leader of the Green party.

15:20
Adrian Ramsay Portrait Adrian Ramsay (Waveney Valley) (Green)
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Thank you very much, Mr Speaker-Elect, and congratulations on the support you have received from across the House today. I can already say, on behalf of the new cohort of Green MPs, that we have been very pleased with the support you have given us. You have shown that you go out of your way to support new Members in this House, and to support MPs from all parties to be able to hold the Government to account and represent our constituents. I know that I speak on behalf of all the Green MPs—and, I am sure, all new MPs—in saying that we are very conscious that we are here first and foremost to be constituency MPs, to represent our residents. We appreciate your support in enabling us to do that.

May I associate myself with the remarks of the Prime Minister about the importance of politics being about public service? I very much hope that in this new Parliament we can all move to a less tribal form of politics, where we work together where we can agree and move things forward in the national interest.

Mr Speaker-Elect, thank you for your support, and congratulations.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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I call the leader of the Social Democratic and Labour party.

15:22
Colum Eastwood Portrait Colum Eastwood (Foyle) (SDLP)
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Thank you, Mr Speaker-Elect. I am very glad to be back and very glad to see the results of the election. Many people in Northern Ireland are delighted with it. We look forward to holding the new Government to account for the promises that they have made to the people of the north of Ireland.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome all the new Members—even the ones I profoundly disagree with. The one piece of advice I would give every new Member is to remember that the Speaker does not just chair the meetings; he is the boss. He is in charge of everything around this place and it would do well for you not to fall out with him. In fact, even a bit of sucking up is sometimes good. I want to take this opportunity, as I say that, Mr Speaker-Elect, to congratulate and thank you for all the fantastic work you did over the last Parliament. You were a champion, as you said yourself, for Back Benchers and for the smaller parties. Even when some of us pushed very close to the line, when we felt that certain things had to be put on the record of this House—he knows what I am talking about—you were there to protect us from some of the legal authorities who would like to get at us. Thank you very much for that.

Mr Speaker-Elect, I wish you all the best in corralling this new House. It is very diverse in terms of representation and in terms of opinion. I look forward to the end of tribal politics—I think that will be a sight to behold. Congratulations.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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I call Sorcha-Lucy Eastwood, on behalf of the Alliance party.

15:23
Sorcha-Lucy Eastwood Portrait Sorcha-Lucy Eastwood (Lagan Valley) (Alliance)
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Thank you, Mr Speaker-Elect. I warmly congratulate you on your re-election.

I am here as the new MP for Lagan Valley and representative for the Alliance party of Northern Ireland. My presence here demonstrates a changing, more shared and more integrated Northern Ireland. Of that, we in Alliance are very proud.

Mr Speaker-Elect, you have managed business smoothly and fairly, including ensuring that smaller parties have had their voices heard. Given the greater diversity of parties in this House, that leadership and precedent becomes even more important. I also want to put on the record how well you represented Parliament on the world stage, and at the time of the passing of our late Queen and the coronation of our new King.

I also want to associate myself with the Prime Minister’s remarks about this job being one of public service. All of us in this House owe a debt of gratitude to our constituents. I will never forget the constituents of Lagan Valley, and I join everyone in the whole House in looking forward to committing myself to public service for all.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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Finally, I call Jim Allister to speak on behalf of Traditional Unionist Voice.

Jim Allister Portrait Jim Allister (North Antrim) (TUV)
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I join in the congratulations and best wishes expressed to you, Mr Speaker-Elect. I have observed your speakership from a distance, and now I will have the benefit of observing it rather more close up. With me on my best behaviour, and with you at your tolerant best, I trust that we will have a mutually cordial relationship. I will certainly draw on your guidance and the experience that you bring to this House.

I come to this House on behalf of my constituents in Northern Ireland with a very clear message: Northern Ireland’s place within this United Kingdom must be restored. We must end the partitioning of our kingdom by a foreign border, and we must end a situation in which 300 areas of law in Northern Ireland are controlled not by this House, and not by Stormont, but by a foreign Parliament. That is an appalling constitutional affront, and my focus in this House will be on playing my part in seeking to redress that gross inequity.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker-Elect
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May I thank all the party representatives for their kind words? It would be remiss of me not to thank the previous Deputy Speakers as well, so I say a big thank you to Nigel, Rosie and Eleanor, and to Sir Roger for stepping in.

Samantha Dixon Portrait Samantha Dixon (Chester North and Neston) (Lab)
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I have to signify to the House the pleasure of His Majesty that the House should present their Speaker this day at 3.45 pm in the House of Peers for His Majesty’s Royal Approbation.

Sitting suspended.

14:31
On resuming—