HIV and World AIDS Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:49 pm on 29th November 2018.

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Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 3:49 pm, 29th November 2018

That was an unexpected but lovely thing for Emma Dent Coad to say at the end of her speech. I believe “Give HIV the finger” is the expression that Thangam Debbonaire was looking for. Wow! Madam Deputy Speaker, you have just taken over in the Chair, and you have missed a treat. I suggest that you watch it back later. Let me, as it says in my brief, congratulate Lloyd Russell-Moyle on securing the debate. Obviously, I share his passion for the topic, but I did not know what he was going to say until we spoke just before the debate, and even then I did not know how he was going to say it and the extent to which he was going to put so much of the personal into it.

The turnout of the hon. Gentleman’s friends and colleagues around him for his speech was a testament to its power and to how much they obviously think of him. Clapping is not right in the Chamber, but even I did clap after his speech. I do not like to clap in the Chamber or in church, but I have done one of them. The look on his face when his colleagues were all standing up and clapping him was wonderful. If I had thought to do so, I would have stood up and taken a photo for him, because it will be a nice moment for him. [Interruption.] No, Madam Deputy Speaker, you are not at all happy about that. I have gone too far. Edit that bit out, Hansard.

It was an incredible speech and it was a very brave thing to do. Following the debate that had just taken place on education—we were here for the winding-up speeches—which got a little political at times, the Adjournment debate has once again shown that it is Parliament’s best kept secret. It is where all the good things go on, and this was certainly a good thing.

As the hon. Gentleman reminded us, World AIDS Day is 30 years old this year. We had a wonderful reception in Speaker’s House on Tuesday night, with the Terrence Higgins Trust, and some really good friends were there. It is the second time I have done that now. As I said then, this week and Saturday will be about remembering loved ones who lost their challenge against and their battle to HIV. However, it will be a celebration, as he said. I note that he said that he will be at the Brighton AIDS memorial at the weekend, and I wish him well with that, as I do everybody who will be with him from his constituency and, I am sure, from much further afield. This is also a chance to say to say how much has changed since the late ’80s.