Valedictory Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:54 pm on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin Chair, European Statutory Instruments Committee, Chair, European Statutory Instruments Committee 2:54 pm, 5th November 2019

I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. I think, with the problems we inherited, that there was a lot the coalition Government did of which we can rightly be proud.

I was Chief Whip for a considerable time, and I have to say that I was greatly assisted at the time by two people in the Whips Office to whom I want to refer—Sir Roy Stone and Mark Kelly. Roy Stone is basically the usual channels, as you well know, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is true that there have been only four people to hold the position of principal private secretary to the Chief Whip in the last 100 years, and Roy himself has been doing it since November 2000. The House, the Government and the Opposition have a great servant in Roy, and I really want to say a big thank you to him for the work he does. I think he would say that there is never a dull moment in what he does.

I would like to say a few things about the Whips Office, which I think is quite often misunderstood both inside and outside this place. Contrary to some of the wilder stories, it is the personnel department of any parliamentary party, dealing with a wide range of issues both personal and political.