HL Deb 12 May 1983 vol 442 cc549-50
The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Young)

My Lords, it is my duty to notify your Lordships that I have received the following letter from the Clerk of the Parliaments, Sir Peter Henderson. It reads as follows: Dear Leader of the House, It is my duty to request you to announce to the House that after consultation with yourself and the Lord Chancellor I have asked the Prime Minister to submit to Her Majesty The Queen my resignation from the office of Clerk of the Parliaments with effect from the beginning of the Summer Recess; and that Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to accept my resignation. I was appointed Clerk of the Parliaments in July 1974 and have now served nearly 9 years in that office. My appointment is not due to end till July 1987 but I should now like to retire and I am confident that the House will be well served by the Parliament Office after my retirement. I shall leave the House with regret. It has been a privilege to serve as Clerk of the Parliaments and I should be obliged if you would convey to the House my gratitude for the kindness and friendship which I have received from all sides of the House during my period of office. Yours sincerely, Peter Henderson." My Lords, it is my further duty to notify your Lordships that The Queen has been pleased to appoint Mr. John Christopher Sainty to succeed Sir Peter Henderson from the beginning of the Summer Recess.

Following that announcement it will, I am sure, be your Lordships' wish in due course to pay tributes to the services of Sir Peter Henderson in this House.

Noble Lords

Hear! Hear!

Baroness Young

My Lords, I am advised that the proper manner of doing this is for the Leader of the House to table a Motion recording the House's appreciation of Sir Peter Henderson's services; but, happily, he will be with us until the House rises in the first Session of the next Parliament for the Summer Recess and that Motion will not therefore be tabled until nearer the Summer Recess when Sir Peter will hand over and the new Clerk will be sworn in.

In the ordinary course of events, I would have communicated this information to the Offices Committee before notifying the House but, due to the Dissolution of this Parliament, that has not proved to be possible and it has been agreed through the "usual channels" that I should make this announcement to the House at the earliest opportunity rather than waiting until the Offices Committee can be set up and a meeting arranged in the new Parliament, which would not be until some time early in July.

The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, immediately following me, will announce his appointment to the vacancy at the Table consequential on Sir Peter's retirement, and I should like to say for myself and on the Lord Chancellor's behalf that extensive consultations have been held with representatives of all sides of the House over these important appointments. This is in accordance with undertakings given by my predecessors as Leader of the House and previous Lord Chancellors that appointments to the Table should be the subject of wide consultations, and these undertakings have on this occasion been honoured to the full. I should also report to the House that the result of those consultations was unanimous.

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