Before we proceed with the debate, I will now announce the result of the ballot held today for the election of a new Chair of the Treasury Committee. Five hundred and twelve votes were cast, with one spoiled ballot paper. The counting went to two rounds—505 valid votes were cast in the second round, excluding those ballot papers whose preferences had been exhausted. The quota to be reached was, therefore, 253 votes. Elected Chair of the Treasury Committee, with 263 votes, was Mr Mel Stride. The right hon. Gentleman will take up his post immediately.
Perhaps I can be the first very warmly to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his appointment. He and I have interacted regularly over the years, both, of course, during his service as a Minister, notably as a Treasury Minister, when he was unfailingly courteous both to the House and to the Chair, and during his short, but distinguished, period as Leader of the House in which capacity, of course, he sat on the House of Commons Commission under my chairmanship. He was punctilious, co-operative and every inch the public servant, and it was a pleasure for me to interact with him.
The results of the count under the alternative vote system will be made available as soon as possible in the Vote Office and published on the internet for public viewing, but, meanwhile, once again I say to the right hon. Gentleman: congratulations and good luck.