HL Deb 14 January 1964 vol 254 cc511-3

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move, That this House do approve the appointment by me, pursuant to the Clerk of the Parliaments Act, 1824, of Robert Westby Perceval, Esquire, to be Clerk Assistant of the House in the place of Henry Montagu Burrows, Esquire, C.B., C.B.E., who has retired.

I am not sure whether it is usual for a Lord Chancellor to say something on an occasion such as this about our former Clerk Assistant. Many of your Lordships have known him for a long time. I cannot claim to have done that, for I have not been a Member of your Lordships' House for so very long. But I should like to express my thanks to him for the way in which he helped me, and I know in what high esteem he was—and is—held by all your Lordships. He was a valued servant of this House, with great knowledge of its traditions and its customs.

He served through both world wars in the Royal Navy; was at the battle of Jutland; and took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk. He also served in the Royal Air Force. Of that record alone there is no man who would not be proud. To that he has added service to this House since 1925.

My Lords, I know that it was with great regret that your Lordships learnt of his retirement. My noble friend the Leader of the House wanted to be here to-day to pay his tribute to Commander Burrows. Unfortunately he is unavoidably prevented from doing so. He has asked me to say that he joins with me in expressing thanks to Commander Bur- rows for all he has done and in hoping he will enjoy many happy years of retirement.

Moved, That this House do approve the appointment by the Lord Chancellor, pursuant to the Clerk of the Parliaments Act, 1824, of Robert Westby Perceval, Esquire, to be Clerk Assistant of the House in the place of Henry Montagu Burrows, Esquire, C.B., C.B.E., who has retired.—(The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, the Opposition desires to assent to the Motion before the House and is grateful to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for his references to the Clerk Assistant who has retired. We appreciate the sentiments he has expressed, and I myself am very grateful to the Offices Committee of the House of Lords for the resolution they have already passed with regard to the services of Mr. Henry Burrows.

I seem to be becoming almost a veteran for service in an active capacity in the House of Lords, although some are much more veterans than I am. It is now just about fourteen years since I was introduced into your Lordships' House. During the whole of that time I do not remember any occupant of a Chair at the Table who has been of better or more courteous assistance or who has given more wise advice on the procedure of your Lordships' House than the Clerk Assistant who has just retired. I appreciate very highly the references made by the noble and learned Lord to his services to our country, quite apart from his service in the House. Naturally, as he served as a Commander in the Royal Navy—I have a great affection for all present and past members of the Royal Navy—I value very much the service he gave to the country in that respect.

I have been looking again this morning at the paper-covered red book which is available to your Lordships, the Companion to the Standing Orders of your Lordships' House. I know that Mr. Burrows had a very large part to play in the compiling of that Companion, which I am sure will be of great assistance to all Members of your Lordships' House. I wish him very good health, and his family with him, and great enjoyment in his retirement. I hope it may not be the end of his public services in some capacity or other to the country he loves so dearly. I would also express my best wishes to the new occupant of the post.


My Lords, if I may, I would express from these Benches—and I hope it is the opinion of all quarters of the House—my regret at the resignation of Mr. Burrows, coming as it does rather suddenly, and our appreciation of the great services he has rendered not only to the House as an institution but, as I think all will agree, to almost every active Member who has sought his help. The noble Earl who leads the Opposition spoke of knowing him for fourteen years. That is a short time—I have known him for fifteen years. During that time he has invariably been kind, friendly, humorous and extremely expert on the work in which he specialised. I should therefore like to add from these Benches, and, as I have said, from, I hope, all quarters of the House, our best wishes to him and our self-congratulation that his post is to be filled by another whom we all respect and like so much.

On Question, Motion agreed to, nemine dissentiente.

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