HC Deb 24 May 1979 vol 967 cc1231-2
Mr. Speaker

I have a brief statement to make to the House. I have to inform the House that I have received a letter from the Clerk of the House in the following terms: It is with considerable sorrow that I must tell you that the time has come when I think I ought to retire as Clerk of the House, and that it would seem best if I should do so on July 31 of this year, when I will have spent 20 years at the Table of the House. To serve the House is one of the greatest privileges that can be given to anyone in the service of the State. To have served under your Speakership has added the greatest possible pleasure to privilege. I shall leave the service of the House and my friends with much regret.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas)

I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that the House has heard with great regret your announcement this afternoon of the retirement of a most distinguished servant of the House of Commons, who has done so much for Members of Parliament, but according to the normal practice we shall table a motion on which we can express our views more fully on this matter. I suggest that we reserve any comments that we may have until then.