HC Deb 04 April 1979 vol 965 cc1315-6
Mr. Speaker

As there is to be no Prorogation, I shall not have the opportunity to sit in the Lower Chair and to shake hands with right hon. and hon. Members at the close of this Parliament. I therefore take this opportunity to extend good wishes to those who are not seeking re-election to the House, to thank them all for their service in this House, and to wish them a happy retirement. They will always be proud to have served in this place.

I wish to place on record my deep gratitude to the Deputy Speakers, who have placed us all in their debt. The House will, I know, allow me to make personal reference to the fact that the First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, and the Second Deputy Speaker, who is also First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means, are both retiring from the service of the House. They have earned the deep gratitude of the High Court of Parliament and will be sadly missed.

On behalf of the House, I wish to express sincere thanks to Sir Richard Barlas and his colleagues in the Clerk's Department, to Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Thorne, Serjeant at Arms, and his colleagues, to my Chaplain, the Rev. Canon Baker, and to the entire staff of the House, including the security staff, who have made it possible for us to function freely as Members of Parliament.

Finally, I express my personal gratitude to you all for the help that I have received ever since I was given your trust and elected Speaker. God bless you all.

Mr. Strauss

In response to what you have said, Mr. Speaker, I should like to thank you, on behalf of all those who are retiring—and, indeed, on behalf of all those who are not—for the magnificent way, with skill, patience, firmness and humour, in which you have conducted the affairs of the House during recent years.

It gives me particular pleasure to say that on this occasion, Mr. Speaker, because I moved you into the Chair by a motion that was enthusiastically supported by the whole House. I then expressed my confidence that you would prove to be an admirable Speaker, fully maintaining the high standards of your distinguished predecessors.

We shall all leave the House with great regret and many memories. Among those memories will be gratitude to you, Mr. Speaker, for your behaviour in the Chair, and particularly for the kindness that you have extended to all of us, and the way in which you have not only maintained but enhanced the prestige of the Chair in this House. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for all you have done.