Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:50 pm on 23 May 2024.

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2.25 pm

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. When I spoke earlier, you had not yet announced that you will standing down, so I did not have the opportunity to thank you enormously for being such a wonderful Deputy Speaker. You are formidable, you are fair, and you offer this House a great deal of humour and good interjection. You will not have heard me say earlier that I very much respect your style; you, me, the Leader of the House and the other Madam Deputy Speaker all share a love for getting our hair done nicely, so thank you very much for that inspiration.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I, too, wish to pay tribute to you and offer you immense thanks for being such a wonderful colleague. People know you for many things: you are formidable in the Chair, and you are an incredibly stylish and generous individual. I will share just one instance with hon. Members. In the week of the late Queen’s death, I had arrived on Monday as a junior Trade Minister with enough clothes for four days. I do not have a home in London and was unable to go back to Portsmouth, so I had no clothes to wear, let alone anything black. It was thanks to your initiative and kindness that I was dressed for the Accession Council—your hairband, in particular, became a global viral sensation. It is just one example of your care for all of us. Thank you also for being a role model for women in this place. I wish you well.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, Chair, Standing Orders Committee (Commons), Chair, Standing Orders Committee (Commons), Chair, Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission, Chair, Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission

Thank you very much indeed—the tears are definitely coming now. Who would have known of our skills in millinery, but it is amazing what one has to turn one’s hand to in this place, especially in an emergency. People see the tip of the iceberg; they have no idea how much is going on underneath the surface.

It is very difficult to leave a job that one loves. For me, being Chairman of Ways and Means is the tip of my iceberg, or the summit of my Everest—something like that. As far as I am concerned, it is the best job in the world, and it is very difficult to leave. I am also honoured to have served the people of Epping Forest for 27 years. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”] Thank you. I would like it to be thought that I was 20 when I started, but that is not quite correct. But 27 years has flashed by and this is very difficult; I guess that is why it took me until 1 o’clock today to tell people I will not be coming back after the election. But the time comes when the right thing to do is stand aside and give others the opportunities that I have been so fortunate to have. I am very touched by everything that everyone has said today—and I will stop now in case the tears come. Thank you.