HC Deb 29 April 1976 vol 910 cc574-5
Mr. Speaker

I have to make a statement to the House on an entirely different matter.

I have to inform the House that I have received letters from the Clerk of the House and from the Librarian about their forthcoming retirement. The letter from the Clerk of the House is in the following terms: Dear Mr. Speaker, I write in accordance with custom to let you know that I wish, at the end of June, to resign the patent of Clerk of the House of Commons which I have been honoured to hold since 1st January 1974, and to conclude more than forty-one years in the service of the House, in peace and war. During this time I have served in twelve Parliaments and under seven Speakers. I have also been so fortunate as to visit a number of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth and to meet a large number of their Members and Clerks at Westminster. Throughout my service I have deeply appreciated the courtesy, kindness and consideration which I have always received from the Chair and from Members of all parties. For this I am deeply grateful. I would also like to express my warmest thanks for all the help I have received from those colleagues in all Departments with whom I have shared the unique privilege of working for the House of Commons. The letter from the Librarian reads as follows: Dear Mr. Speaker, I write to inform you of my wish, at the end of June, to retire from the office of Librarian of the House of Commons which I have had the honour to hold since 3rd September 1967. I have had the great privilege of working in the Library for the last thirty years, and of watching its services grow as the use made of them by Members has grown. This growth could not have taken place without the support of Members in general, and of your Library Committee in particular, coupled with the tolerance and understanding of colleagues both inside and outside the Department of the Library. For that, and for much else, I am and will remain deeply grateful.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Michael Foot)

I am sure that the House will have learned with regret the news of the retirement of two of the most distinguished servants who have ever served this House of Commons. According to the normal practice, we shall have a motion on which we can express our views fully on this matter and I suggest that we should reserve our comments until then.

Mrs. Thatcher

I am very happy that we should reserve our main comments until then. Naturally, we are sorry that they are both retiring. Perhaps I might just say a preliminary "thank you" to both of them for their service and for their kindness and wish them well in their retirement.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Speaker

Naturally I, too, should like to reserve some comments for the proper occasion.