§ 3.7 p.m.
§ Lord Falconer of Thoroton
My Lords, I should like to say how sorry I am that Lord McConnell died yesterday. Had he not died, I am sure that he would have been with us today in his customary place on the Cross Benches, taking a close interest in all Northern Ireland matters and contributing to public life as he has done for the past 50 years.
§ Lord Glentoran
My Lords, I am grateful to have this opportunity to pay a short tribute to Lord McConnell, who was known as Brian to his friends. It is particularly pertinent for me because he was a link with the old past. He was a friend of my grandfather; he served in the Stormont Parliament with my father; and ever since I have been in the House he was of unfailing good company, help and assistance in trying to keep me "on the right way of it", as we would say in Northern Ireland affairs. He will be remembered by his 328 friends as a man of great warmth with his own special brand of humour; a man who gave his life to the service of the people of Northern Ireland.
§ Lord Smith of Clifton
My Lords, the Liberal Democrats associate themselves with the tribute paid by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, to the late Lord McConnell. When I entered the House three years ago, I got to know him well while flying across from Belfast to London. I appreciated both his initial welcome and his companionship thereafter. He was a diligent Member of your Lordships' House right up to the end of his life. He will be missed by many on all sides of the Chamber.
§ The Lord Bishop of Lincoln
My Lords, I had the privilege of sitting next to Lord McConnell at lunch in the Members' Dining Room yesterday. We had a gracious and perceptive talk not only about the place of bishops in your Lordships' House but about the situation in Northern Ireland. We on the Bishops' Benches associate ourselves with the remarks and tribute of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer.
§ Lord Molyneaux of Killead
My Lords, may I, on behalf of what one might call the Northern Ireland contingent, express sincere thanks to those noble Lords who have paid tribute to our late colleague. As we all know, he showed great courage in fighting a battle against ill health. He will be sadly missed by all of us.