HL Deb 28 February 1946 vol 139 cc965-8

VISCOUNT ADDISON moved to resolve: That the Earl of Drogheda be appointed Chairman of Committees of this House for the remainder of this Session. The noble Viscount said: My Lords, in moving the first Motion which stands on the Paper in my name, I am sure that it would meet with the desire of the House if I were to recall what we owe to Lord Stanmore, who is resigning the Chairmanship. Your Lordships will remember that he undertook the duties at a very difficult time, and saw us through the Committee stage of the Education Bill, which occupied a good many days in this House, with singular acceptance in all parts of the House. Nor will you forget that we owe a great deal to Lord Stanmore for his 32 years of service in this House. For many years he had been a Whip, and he was Acting Chairman of Committees before he was appointed Chairman of Committees. I am sure that he has in the records of this House an exceptionally long continuous period of service. The noble Lord must have, amongst other noble Lords, a very special place in our records, as I see that his grandfather was a Prime Minister, that another grandfather was Clerk of the Parliaments, whilst a great-uncle was Speaker of the House of Commons. That must be a unique assembly of distinguished services by his forbears. We shall wish to place on record our appreciation of all we owe to him.

I pass now to deal with the Motion which stands in my name. I think that the selection of the noble Earl, Lord Drogheda, is one which will appeal to all sections of the House. We recollect his distinguished services in Government Departments, particularly under the noble Earl opposite, and I feel sure that he has the experience and qualities which will commend themselves to your Lordships. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Earl of Drogheda be appointed Chairman of Committees of this House for the remainder of this Session.—(Viscount Addison.)


My Lords, on behalf of those who sit on these Benches, and particularly, if I may say so, on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition, who has asked me to deputize for him, I. should like to associate myself with the words of the noble Viscount who leads the House. Those of us who have had experience of Lord Stanmore during the last few years, have indeed been indebted to him for his courtesy and consideration. I am sure that all your Lordships remember his services and regret that he finds it necessary to leave this position. As regards the proposition immediately before you, I am sure that your Lordships will find in the noble Earl, Lord Drogheda, a most excellent successor to Lord Stanmore. I had some experience of the work of the noble Earl when I was a member of the Government and I am sure that the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, who has had much more intimate experience of his work, would like to speak of him. Meanwhile I would like to assure the noble Earl, Lord Drogheda, that from these Benches he will have not only a welcome but every support in the position to which we shall elect him.


My Lords, we on these Benches would desire to associate ourselves with the tribute that has been paid to the noble Lord, Lord, Stanmore. He has added even to the illustrious record of his family in public service, to which reference has been made. He has now held the highest post in the gift of this House; but for many years before that, in less conspicuous but indispensable work, he has served this House faithfully and long for a period covering no less than a third of a century. Now that he retires from its service I feel sure the whole House would wish to place on record its deep gratitude. What is a loss to the Chair will be a gain to these Benches, and we shall be pleased to have him again associated with us, as he was previously for several decades. I would also like to support the Motion that the noble Earl, Lord Drogheda, be appointed to the Chair. His great abilities and wide experience and, by House of Lords standards, relatively youthful age, will make him an efficient and active servant of the House.


My Lords, I should like to support the Motion of the Leader of the House, not in an official capacity but in a personal capacity. Throughout my tenure of office as Minister of Economic Warfare I had the great privilege and good fortune of having as the Director-General of the Ministry the noble Earl, Lord Drogheda, and I should like to tell your Lordships that in that capacity he was a tower of strength to me and to the whole Department. He brought to the work a ripe experience in many fields of life, the Foreign Office, the Army, business and the law—a very rare combination of experience in different fields, in all of which he served with great distinction. Therefore your Lordships will not be surprised when I tell you that his wisdom and his judgment on the many questions that present themselves to Ministers was of the utmost value and of never-failing sagacity.

I think almost the biggest contribution the noble Earl made to the work of the Department was that of infusing a team spirit among the many men and women who laboured there. He had a wonderful charm of manner, and took a personal interest in every worker, no matter how young or how old, no matter how long or how short a time they had served in the Department. His familiarity with their work and sympathy with their problems made the whole Department a happy family and united in their respect and in their affection for the Director-General. As the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, has said, Lord Stanmore is a difficult man to follow. I especially have great reason to know that because I was privileged to pilot the Education Bill through your Lordships' House when he was in the Chair, and I am quite certain we should not have made the progress we did if it had not been for his very experienced and wise chairmanship. In selecting the noble Earl, Lord Drogheda, as his successor, I am sure your Lordships will make a very wise decision.

On Question, Motion agreed to, nemine contradicente, and ordered accordingly.


My Lords, I beg to move the two other Motions that stand in my name on the Paper.


That the Earl of Drogheda do take the Chair in all Committees of the Whole House, unless where it shall have been otherwise directed by the House.

That the Earl of Drogheda do also take the Chair in all Committees upon Private Bills and other matters, unless where it shall have been otherwise directed by the House.—(Viscount Addison.)

On Question, Motions agreed to, nemine contradicente, and ordered accordingly.