Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:29 pm on 18th December 2008.

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Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Deputy Chief Whip, Spokesperson in the Lords (Sport), Culture, Media & Sport, Spokesperson in the Lords, Defence 5:29 pm, 18th December 2008

My Lords, I join both noble Lords in wishing the staff who run this building a happy festive season, and thank them for all their support. I always like to say something about the Hansard staff before I turn to individuals, for the simple reason that I am not sure whether I am a hindrance or a help to them because I do not use notes. But the fact is that they usually manage to make sense of what I say and apparently people read my speeches and enjoy them, so full credit to them.

I also pay tribute to the doorkeepers. On one occasion last year I forgot that I had some visitors coming to the House. I received the most polite but thorough reprimand that I have ever experienced in my life. I thank that sterling body of men and women who help us so much, and of course I thank all the rest of the staff.

I want to thank in particular Yvonne Williams, who started work in the catering department on 29 September 1973. If an army marches on its stomach, Parliament, shall we say, pontificates on its stomach. Anyone who has kept the people in this building fed for that many years has given sterling service. Yvonne was known universally as "Mum", and someone who could generate that degree of affection deserves the respect of all. I hope that she enjoys her retirement, that she has a particularly good festive season, and that she goes on to do many interesting things in her retirement.