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(standing on the upper step): No clapping. [Laughter.]
Mr Clarke, thank you for the way you have chaired our proceedings. We have kept you longer than expected and I really appreciate it. You have been steadfast in the job you have done and it really is appreciated.
May I say thank you to all the candidates? Whoever was selected would have made a great Speaker. We thank those who withdrew—Sir Henry Bellingham and Mr Shailesh Vara—for the way they wanted to ensure that we did not have to stay for another two rounds.
As I have discussed, it is about the campaign and the challenges ahead for me and this Chamber. I stand by what I have said and stand firm. I hope that this House will be once again a great, respected House, not just in here but around the world. I hope that once again it is the envy of the world. We have to make sure that that tarnish is polished away and that the respect and tolerance that we expect from everyone who works here will be shown, and we will keep that in order.
I also want to say something to my family. [Applause] There is one difficult part that I want to get over. There is one person who is not here: my daughter Natalie. I wish she had been here. We all miss her, as a family, and none more so than her mum Miriam. I have to say that she was everything to all of us. She will always be missed but she will always be in our thoughts. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”]
I hope to show that the experience I have shown previously will continue. As I have promised, I will be neutral. I will be transparent. I think that this House can do more to ensure that that transparency continues, and nowhere more than in respect of the Commission. I have never served on the Commission—I have never even seen the minutes of the Commission—but I do believe there is a need for a little bit of transparency once again.
I have to say thank you to my family, but also to the staff from my office who are also with me tonight. They have been with me for a long time. In fact, Bev, who is up there and who will get all embarrassed, has been with me for 21 years. She left university and said, “I’m never going to get married. I’m never going to have children. I don’t want any of that in my life.” Guess what? She is married, she has children and she is still with me. The same with Peter and Mike. They have done a fantastic job. They have been really good.
I want to thank everybody. It has been a long night. I do not want to keep you any longer, but I do stand by what I have said. This House will change, but it will change for the better. Thank you, everybody.
The Speaker-Elect sat down in the Chair and the Mace was placed upon the Table.