Election of Speaker

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1 March 1950.

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Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford 12:00, 1 March 1950

Mr. Speaker-Elect, I have much pleasure in associating myself fully with the words which the Prime Minister has used in offering you the congratulations of the House of Commons. I had the honour at the beginning of the last Parliament of fulfilling the same task as I do now. We have moved on into a new Assembly, very narrowly balanced—an Assembly which has not yet had an opportunity of showing what its essential characteristics are; but we must always remember that the character of every House of Commons is not measured simply by adding up the numbers of the different Members in the different parties, that personality develops, and that although we have been absorbed in our own affairs lately we are living in a world full of anxiety and storm. I hope and trust that this Parliament, in spite of its even and also profound divisions, will, nevertheless, not lose its consciousness of the vast world that has grown up about us or of our own immense difficulties of maintaining the standard of life of our people.

Sir, I feel quite sure that whatever liveliness our Debates may develop—and I agree with the Prime Minister that one cannot predict an indefinite "set fair" in these affairs—your experience, not only as Speaker but as Chairman of Committees, will be of immense value to us all. We all admire your qualities of courtesy, kindness and humour, and the deep sense of and desire for justice which animates your actions, and I gladly join with the Prime Minister in offering you, on behalf of all those who sit on this side of the House, our most sincere congratulations on having once again received what is the highest honour a British commoner can be given, namely, election as Speaker of the House of Commons. I wish and trust that you will have a happy and successful period, and that your health may be equal to the strain and burden of the long Debates. We feel quite sure that the liberties of Parliament will be safely guarded in your hands.