London

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:45 am on 1st July 1983.

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Photo of Hon. Anthony Berry Hon. Anthony Berry , Enfield, Southgate 11:45 am, 1st July 1983

One reason I am pleased to be participating in the debate is to compliment my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) on a remarkable maiden speech. Those who have known my hon. Friend for some years as I have will not be surprised by his maiden speech. Some of us came to know him well during the Lambeth, Central by-election, which he fought so outstandingly a few years ago on behalf of the Conservative party. It is one of the odd quirks of fate of political life that John Tilley, who beat my hon. Friend and became the hon. Member for Lambeth, Central, lost his seat, having done good service for the Labour party, while my hon. Friend is here representing his new constituency.

My hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes rightly paid tribute to his predecessor, Sir Anthony Royle. I join him in paying a tribute to Sir Anthony. He was a most distinguised Member of the House. We should not forget the part that he played in establishing new relations with China. He was the first Minister to go to China in the Conservative Government led by my right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath). He paved the way for the good relations that we now have with that great country.

Although I was not in the higher echelons to which my hon. Friend referred, I had plenty of opportunity during the election campaign to visit his constituency and to savour the beauties of upper Richmond road west as I moved on shop by shop for about three quarters of an hour. I warmly support his wish for road improvements. He rightly paid tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel), who has frequently reminded us over the years of the problem of aircraft noise in his constituency. No doubt we shall hear even more about it. We look forward to welcoming my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes to our debates on many occasions. I believe that his constituents will soon find that, in making him their Member in place of Sir Anthony, they made an extremely good choice.

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State reminded us that we now have 56 Conservative Members in London, more than twice the number of Members of the other parties representing London put together. A reference was made during the election campaign to the possible size of a Conservative Government's majority in the new Parliament. As I was only the deputy Chief Whip, I was not a special person, so I can say that I welcome the size of our majority. I have in mind especialy my constituency and the borough of Enfield. My hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, North (Mr. Eggar), having won the seat from Labour in 1979, now has a five-figure majority. My hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Dr. Twinn) won his seat deservedly, in what had been a Labour stronghold for 50 or 100 years. I welcome him warmly to the House.

We like it when our party wins seats, but this involves losing friends, even on the Labour Benches. I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton will remain in this place representing Edmonton for as long as he wishes to be a Member. However, I must regret the absence of a real friend, Ted Graham. He was a neighbour for many years. He did great service on behalf of the community. I suppose that as elections take place, some London constituencies will be misguided enough to continue to elect Labour Members. I should very much like to see Ted Graham return to represent a constituency other than Edmonton and to become a colleague again.

Ted Graham and I were Whips together, although in different parties, for some years. I remember a London debate in about 1977. It was rather like this debate. There came a time when we both realised that there was no possible chance for every Member to participate in the debate if speeches continued at the length which was then prevailing.