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Civil Partnership

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:10 pm on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee 4:10 pm, 31st October 2019

Just before I put the Question, I want to say, by way of response to the Minister, a big thank you. That was a very generous and gracious tribute from her. If I may return the compliment—and I think it is relevant to the whole question of the language of discourse—let me say that the hon. Lady has perfected the art of disagreeing agreeably. She is a brilliant advocate of her case, and a very highly respected and rising member of the Government. It is obvious that, in conducting debates in the Chamber, she relishes the political argument, the analysis of policy, the competing claims and so on, but in my experience—and I have heard her speak many times at that Dispatch Box—when engaging in debate, she always plays the ball rather than the man or the woman, and that is to her enduring credit. I reciprocate her very warm wishes: I wish her all the best.