European Affairs

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 5:28 pm on 3rd June 2010.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Shadow Minister (Europe) 5:28 pm, 3rd June 2010

I am glad that my hon. Friend is piping up, because we always have Private Frazer, "We're doomed, Captain Mainwaring! We're doomed!", and he is always played by my hon. Friend.

Then, of course, we always have someone who is immensely sanctimonious- [ Interruption. ] And lo and behold, Simon Hughes has arrived in the Chamber. Such sanctimony, I hope, will be a thing of the past from the Liberal Democrats. If there is one thing that they must have learned on becoming members of the coalition, it is that sanctimony must be a thing of the past for the Liberal Democrats. I can see that several Conservatives who were Members in the previous Parliament agree, and the hon. Gentleman is surely the vicar from "Dad's Army".

At this point I should like to welcome the Minister for Europe, Mr Lidington to his post. He is a splendid man; I know him well; and he has very good intentions. Again, doubtless, he is about to show us that he has ludicrous politics, but he is a nice man. He is sometimes perhaps a little too precise in his politics, and that might render him the verger from "Dad's Army", who was just always a little too precise for his own good. However, the hon. Gentleman is an extremely intelligent man, who I think has led the most winning teams on "University Challenge", and we look forward to his intelligence, which I am sure he will deploy throughout Europe over the coming months.

We heard a great number of maiden speeches, and that makes this debate rather different from any other, because remarkably few Members said anything about Europe. But, that is in the way of things, and there have been some excellent speeches. It is a shame-

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