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Housing Succession Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:00 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 5:00 pm, 31st October 2019

I thank the hon. Lady for her speech, including the very kind remarks that she made at the start.

I referenced a constituent and a former constituent earlier, whom I am absolutely thrilled to see in the Gallery. As we approach the end of the day and just before I call the Minister, whom I regard as a personal friend, I want to reference three other people in Gallery, because I regard their presence as being of great significance. First of all, Stephen Benn is in this place more often that he is out of it, and he has forged a magnificent link between the science community and Parliament. As a result of his prodigious efforts, boundless energy, personal charm and obvious commitment, those links are stronger now—I say this almost as much for the benefit of members of the public as I do for Members of the House—than they have been in the past. That is an enormous tribute to you, Stephen. Of course, you know that our bond is also strengthened by the fact that I came to know you through your late father, Tony, who was, without question, one of the great parliamentarians of the 20th century. I came to know Tony well and benefited from his counsel and support. I think of him pretty much every day and often regale audiences with anecdotes flowing from my friendship with and benefit gained from him.

I also want to mention Tim Hames, who has worked as an adviser to me for the last decade and who is as near to being a polymath as I know. He is one of these people who is incredibly accomplished at a very large number of different things—at writing and speaking, as an academic, as a journalist and as somebody who ran the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association very successfully for a very long period—but who, in particular, has been a wonderful counsellor to me, of which I am enormously appreciative, as I think he knows. Tim, it is great to see you, and to see you accompanied by your wife Julia, and to have you in the Gallery as we approach the end of the day—my last day in the Chair—has a very special significance for me.