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Tributes to the Speaker’s Chaplain

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:02 pm on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet 3:02 pm, 31st October 2019

I have always thought that the job of the Speaker’s Chaplain is rather like the job of the person known as “the bish” on one of Her Majesty’s warships. That person prowls around the lower decks, surrounded by heathens and heretics, waiting for somebody to call upon him. I guess that this place, particularly in the last few months, has been just a little bit like that. But the wonderful thing about Rose is that she has always been there to be called on when she is needed, and through some very stressful times for everyone on both sides of the House she has been a tower of strength.

You guys and girls have come to say goodbye to Rose. I have come to say hello. As my hon. Friend Sir Peter Bottomley said, the Bishop of Dover is the Bishop in Canterbury. Let me also say, just as an aside, that earlier today, during questions to the Church Commissioner, it was asked, “How does the Archbishop of Canterbury manage when he has so much to do, not only at home but overseas?” The answer is, of course, that he is not the Bishop in Canterbury. That will be Rose, and I know that she will be a tower of strength to Archbishop Justin, as she has been to this place.

But Rose is coming to east Kent, and I have warned the lady who is going to become Bishop Rose that one of her first duties will be to visit the wonderful constituency of North Thanet, and to spend a couple of hours on Margate’s seafront—in January, when the rain and the wind and the snow will almost certainly be horizontal. That is when we in Margate celebrate the Blessing of the Seas. That is the occasion, on the feast of the Epiphany, when we throw a small Greek Cypriot boy into the freezing waters of the North sea and—so far without success—try to drown him. The Bishop of Dover—the Bishop in Canterbury—plays a key role in that event. Rose, we are looking forward enormously to welcoming you to east Kent.