HL Deb 12 November 1986 vol 482 cc19-22
Viscount Whitelaw

My Lords, I beg to move that the noble Baroness, Lady Serota, be appointed Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees for this Session.

It gives me great pleasure to move this Motion, but I do so with some regret, which I know will be felt widely in your Lordships House, in that this marks the retirement of the noble Baroness, Lady LlewelynDavies. She has rendered the House very great service and has held a succession of offices continuously since 1973; as Opposition Chief Whip from 1973 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1982, and as Government Chief Whip from 1974 to 1979. As noble Lords will be aware, the noble Baroness was the first woman to become Captain of the Gentlemen at Arms. Since 1982 she has held the position from which she now retires.

Under the four-year stewardship, of the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies, itself a record, I understand that the Select Committee on the European Communities has produced 78 reports, including major studies of the CAP, the EMS, air fares and youth training. More recently, her committee's study of the European union has proved of invaluable assistance during the House's consideration of the European Communities (Amendment) Bill. I hope very much that we shall continue to have the benefit of her guidance from the Woolsack or the Chair and that we shall continue to see her very regularly indeed.

Her successor, the noble Baroness, Lady Serota, is also well known to us and we are most fortunate that she has consented to serve in the onerous post of Principal Deputy Chairman. Her record in public life is most distinguished—as a member of numerous advisory committees and Royal Commissions, as a Government Whip, as a Minister of State and, latterly, as a local government ombudsman. The noble Baroness was briefly a member of the Select Committee on the European Communities in 1974 when it was first set up and she was re-appointed to that committee in 1982. Since 1984 she has chaired its social affairs sub-committee. I have every confidence that under her chairmanship the Select Committee will continue to uphold the high standards we have all come to expect from it and, indeed, to earn the widespread regard which it certainly does in many different quarters. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the noble Baroness, Lady Scrota, be appointed Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees for this Session.-(Viscount Whitelaw.)

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos

My Lords, perhaps I may be allowed briefly to endorse what the noble Viscount has said and to welcome my noble friend Lady Serota to the Chair of the European Communities Select Committee and to the Deputy Chairmanship of Committees. My noble friend has the qualities and the experience to fill these important posts with distinction.

It is also a pleasure to support everything that the noble Viscount has said about my noble friend Lady Llewelyn-Davies. I have known her for many years, more recently as Government Chief Whip, Opposition Chief Whip and Deputy Chairman of Committees. In all these offices my noble friend has made an outstanding contribution to the affairs of this House. I have discovered that she not only knows all the rules of the House, but she has a perception of the atmosphere of the House, and this is perhaps at times rather more important. I have approached her many times for advice and she has always responded readily and wisely. My noble friend will of course continue to attend the House to give the House the benefit of her experience and the advice and help that I know she is always prepared to give to individual Peers. We are extremely grateful to her and wish her well in the future.

Baroness Seear

My Lords, I am well aware that the House wishes to adjourn very quickly, but I must say from these Benches how glad we are that the noble Baroness, Lady Serota, has agreed to take on this post. I cannot resist pointing out that this will be the fifth appointment to the chairmanship of the Select Committee on the European Communities and that four of the incumbents have been women. It may well be, though there might be other views, that that is why the reputation of your Lordships' Select Committee on the European Communities stands as high as it does. But it has been agreed on all sides that it stands extremely high, and it would be very difficult to explain it in any other way. So we are glad that yet another very distinguished woman is to fill this role.

We must also say how much we appreciate the work that the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies, has done. We greatly appreciated her work previously when she was Opposition Chief Whip and also when she was Government Chief Whip. It was a great encouragement to the other women in this House and it was a great example to the men in this House in showing how expertly women can fill these jobs.

On Question, Motion agreed to nemine dissentiente.

Stoppages in the Streets—Ordered, That the Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis do take care that during the Session of Parliament the passages through the streets leading to this House be kept free and open; and that no obstruction be permitted to hinder the passage of the Lords to and from this House; and that no disorder be allowed in Westminster Hall, or in the passages leading to this House, during sitting of Parliament; and that there be no annoyance therein or thereabouts; and that the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod attending this House do communicate this order to the Commissioner aforesaid.

Appeal Committees—Two Appeal Committees were appointed pursuant to Standing Order.

Appellate Committees—Two Appellate Committees were appointed pursuant to Standing Order.

House adjourned at ten minutes before five o'clock.