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Election of Speaker

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:33 pm on 4th November 2019.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Leader of the Liberal Democrats 8:33 pm, 4th November 2019

I thank the Father of the House for the way in which he conducted this election. Congratulations from the Liberal Democrat Benches on your new role, Mr Speaker-Elect. You have been clear that you want to be a strong champion for Back Benchers in this place, and have always conducted yourself with good humour and taken great care of Members in this place. The focus that you placed on the importance of health and wellbeing—particularly mental health—in your election campaign is very welcome indeed for those who work here, including Members and others in different roles.

Mr Speaker-Elect, you take the Chair at a time of great challenge for our democracy. The issues of security that you have championed as Deputy Speaker are more important than ever, with increasing threats. The focus on stamping out the unacceptable culture of bullying and harassment is hugely important. I hope you will also continue the work of modernisation of this place that we have seen in the past decade. I welcome your pledge on outreach to make sure that we reach out to disadvantaged groups. We should none of us be happy until this place properly represents the communities that we serve.

I wish you well in your new role. It is not one that will necessarily be a popularity contest where you will find yourself welcomed by everybody, but I may at least hope that you will frustrate the various parts of this House equally.