§ 1.4 pm
§ The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Phil Woolas)
I beg to move,That Mr Barry Gardiner be discharged as a Managing Trustee of the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund and Mr Tony Colman be appointed as a Managing Trustee in pursuance of section 1 of the Parliamentary and other Pensions Act 1987.
§ Mr. Speaker
With this it will be convenient to consider the following motion:That Mr Barry Gardiner be discharged as a Managing Trustee of the House of Commons Members' Fund and Mr Tony Colman be appointed as a Managing Trustee in pursuance of section 2 of the House of Commons Members' Fund Act 1939.
§ Mr. Woolas
The motions are tightly drawn and neither is a Government motion. Although I do not wish to detain the House, let me briefly set out some of the background to the trustees and the funds.
The parliamentary contributory pension fund is managed by a board of nine trustees—eight serving Members of Parliament and one pensioner trustee, currently the right hon. Lord Stewartby—all of whom are volunteers. By convention, the chairman is an Opposition Member, and I am delighted to see that the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir John Butterfill) is present. I put on the record the House's thanks to him and his colleagues for their work, to which they bring considerable expertise.
I hope that the House will join me in thanking my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Mr. Gardiner) for his service on the board of managing trustees, and my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Colman) for kindly agreeing to serve. Like his predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Putney brings direct professional experience to the board of trustees, and I am sure that it will prove invaluable. He is a successful private sector business man turned local authority leader turned Member of Parliament. His biography lists his other achievements to date, including his membership of the Treasury Committee. In addition, he is a former member of the Price Commission and, until May 1998, he was chair of the UK steering committee on local government superannuation and the local authorities mutual investment trust.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate some of the trustees on recent examination successes. I am delighted to report to the House that the chairman of the trustees of the fund, in addition to being a qualified chartered surveyor and property expert, has recently gained the Pensions Management Institute's certificate of essential trustee knowledge, as have his fellow trustees my hon. Friends the Members for Brent, North and for Dartford (Dr. Stoate) and the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley). Congratulations and thanks are due.
Routine administration of the fund falls to its secretary, the director of operations of the Department of Finance and Administration, Mr. Archie Cameron, 1352 CBE. Mr. Cameron who has also recently gained the PMI certificate, is to retire from the service of the House at the end of September, after 16 years' service. He will be much missed.
Let me now explain the background to the second motion. The Members' fund is managed by a board of six trustees, all of whom are serving Members. Some, but not all, are also trustees of the parliamentary contributory pension fund. Again, by convention the chairman is an Opposition Member, in this case the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden. The fund's trustees are, of course, accountable to the House. We are grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North for his service on the fund and to my hon. Friend the Member for Putney for agreeing to serve. Again, administration is carried out by Mr. Cameron and his colleagues. I out on the record the thanks of the House to the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden and his colleagues as managing trustees of the fund. The fund i inspected by the internal review service of the House and by the National Audit Office, both of which scrutinise the accounts and the general running of the fund. The Government Actuary's Department provide. relevant professional assistance. In conclusion, the House of Commons Members' fund provides a valuable service and is well managed by the managing trustees. I believe that my hon. Friend the Member for Putney will bring useful experience to the board, so I commend the motions to the House.
§ Mr. Oliver Heald (North-East Hertfordshire) (Con)
May I associate myself with the remarks of the Deputy Leader of the House' We are fortunate that right hon. and hon. Members are prepared to take on those duties. The hon. Member for Brent, North (Mr. Gardiner) has acquitted himself well in his role, and we look forward to the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Colman) taking up his position. He has main board experience, and has taken an interest in pensions for many years, so we have confidence in his abilities.
I congratulate my noble Friend Lord Stewartby on his work for the fund. He is my constituency predecessor, representing Hertfordshire North as it then was, and is a former Treasury Minister who is very knowledgeable in this area. My hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir John Butterfill) has gained great knowledge of pensions over the years, and has attained the new qualification, on which I congratulate him. I pay tribute to the work of all the other trustees, including my right hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley). He is my neighbour and a distinguished former Secretary of State for Social Security with a demonstrable knowledge of pensions. I, too, pay tribute to the work of Archie Cameron, who has retired after performing sterling service for all of us. We do not wish to divide the House, and I support the tributes to the trustees.
§ Sir John Butterfill (Bournemouth, West) (Con)
May I say how much the other trustees and I value the contribution over several years of the hon. Member for Brent, North (Mr. Gardiner), who has been an 1353 assiduous and dedicated member of the board of trustees? We are sorry to lose him, but we wish him well in his future career. I welcome to the board the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Colman), who has considerable expertise in the field and has demonstrated significant business acumen, so we look forward to his contributions to our discussions. Finally, I pay tribute to Archie Cameron, to whom I ow e a personal debt of gratitude. He has been a rock for the trustees in supporting our activities and, while we shall sorely miss him, we wish him a very happy retirement.
§ Mr. John Burnett (Torridge and West Devon) (LD)
I wish to say a few words as chairman of the pension fund and a member of the Members' fund. The hon. Member for Brent, North (Mr. Gardiner) has performed valuable work for both funds, as he is extremely conscientious and pays great attention to detail. The whole House should be grateful to the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir John Butterfill), whose chairmanship of the pension fund is superb, and the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley), who is an outstanding chairman of the charitable fund. We work together very well, and we look forward to the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Colman) joining us. He has a distinguished record in the private sector, and we look forward to having the benefit of his knowledge and expertise.
Finally, as a member of both funds, I believe that we owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Archie Cameron, and it is a matter of great regret that he is leaving us. He has guided us through difficult times, and has advised us extremely soundly. The whole House should be immensely grateful to him for all his fantastic work.
§ Question put and agreed to.