Before the House adjourns for the Easter recess, there are a number of points that I wish to raise. I thank Keith Vaz, who is not in his place at the moment, for his best wishes for my birthday on Monday. I am not a national figure, so it was hardly a significant event, unlike his 50th birthday celebrations.
Just to show the Deputy Leader of the House how things have changed, when I first became a Member, mine was the only birthday of an hon. Member on
Is it really six years since the Deputy Leader of the House occupied that position? As he can see, I am still here. His predecessor, Nigel Griffiths, did a splendid job. The whole House respects and understands his decision to resign from the Government, but, like my hon. Friend Angela Browning and my right hon. Friend Mr. McLoughlin, we all welcome back Paddy Tipping. When we were a little more pressed than we appear to be this afternoon to cover all the subjects, he diligently used to write to us to give us some real responses to the issues that we raised. May I gently say to him, and through him to his officials, that they need not faint at the number of issues that I intend to raise today. I will raise them quickly and perhaps in due course he could write to me about them.
This is the first occasion on which I am able to address the House as a member of the Westminster Lions club. Last night, there was an historic dinner and the Palace of Westminster Lions club was formed. It is the first parliamentary Lions club to be formed in the northern hemisphere. We have 22 members so far, and Mr. Speaker will be given an illuminated address. I hope that other colleagues will join, and we intend to have a charity event.