HC Deb 12 May 1987 vol 116 c177 3.30 pm
Mr. Speaker

I have a brief statement to make. I have to inform the House that I have received the following letter from the Clerk of the House : After forty years in the service of the House, of which fifteen have been spent at the Table, may I let you know formally of my wish to retire on my 65th birthday, 1 September next. I count it a privilege to have held for the last four years the highest permanent position in the service of the House. To yourself as Speaker and to the other occupants of the Chair; to the Members of all parties in the twelve Parliaments I have known; and to the staff of the six Departments of the House, I tender my warmest thanks for the courtesy, kindness and consideration that has been shown me. Nor shall I quickly forget the warm welcome which, as a servant of this House, I have received from Members and officials of foreign and Commonwealth Parliaments. For all that, and for much else in the unique experience of serving this House, I am, and will remain, most grateful.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Biffen)

The House will have heard your announcement with a mixture of emotions, Mr. Speaker. In a few months' time, we shall see the departure of a distinguished servant of the House, and on that account the whole House will have heard your announcement with regret. However, in the new Parliament and before the summer recess we shall have a welcome opportunity to express our appreciation. In accordance with custom, therefore, I suggest that we defer our fuller comments for that later day.