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Tributes to the Speaker

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:51 pm on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford 12:51 pm, 31st October 2019

I can exclusively reveal that the tactic of kicking the Bench in order to be called works, Mr Speaker. I start by echoing the opening words of the Leader of the House about what you have done to revolutionise the work of the education service. The way that it now brings children of all ages through this place and introduces them to Parliament is phenomenal. I also pay tribute to what you did with the Youth Parliament. I was lucky enough to be the Minister with responsibility for the Youth Parliament, and I stood at the Dispatch Box, with the shadow Leader of the House opposite me, to make the opening statement. I found it really quite intimidating, and the quality of debate in the Youth Parliament was incredible, so I thank you for bringing that through here.

I want to make my own personal tribute to Ann Clwyd. I do not know her particularly well, but I hold her in great esteem and shall miss her and, indeed, the many experienced colleagues who are leaving this place. Young whippersnappers like myself need wise counsel from those who have been here for many years. I am grateful that we in Kent have my right hon. Friend Sir Roger Gale, who gave all new MPs elected in 2010 templates for what he does to help us in dealing with our constituents. I know full well that, if I have a difficult piece of casework, there are Members across the House who have seen it all before and to whom we can go for advice.

I have known you for what I thought was a long time, Mr Speaker, but we have never been for a curry, so perhaps we do not know each other as well as I thought. However, a few weeks ago, I said to Mr Speaker that I had fallen out of love with the Chamber in recent months. It has been an incredibly challenging time in Parliament, and I just was not feeling like I was here or that I really valued what we do. Mr Speaker has been kind enough to call me on a regular basis over the past couple of weeks for questions and interventions and so on, and I have fallen back in love with this Chamber. I thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the confidence to move from the Front Bench to the Back Benches and feel like I can make a positive contribution in a debate. I am genuinely grateful to you.

I do not know whether colleagues are aware of this, but in all good bookstores there is now a book called “Be More Bercow”. It is an excellent book—