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Sport, Recreation and the Arts - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:54 pm on 19th December 2018.

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Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative 6:54 pm, 19th December 2018

My Lords, once again sport and the arts have united the House. I thank my noble friend the Minister for stepping in at short notice for my noble friend Lord Ashton of Hyde, whose daughter is unwell at the moment but on the road to recovery. I know the whole House will offer them both our best wishes. I thank noble Lords for their contributions and in particular say how moved I was by the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, which was a classic of its kind—and I say that as a Monmouth-educated boy.

It would be invidious to pick out other speeches, but perhaps I may pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Mawson. We worked very closely together. I may have done a whole range of activities during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but none reached the persistence, the commitment and the devotion of time over a very long period—both before and after the Games—that the noble Lord has given to the legacy of the London Olympic Games. It is a privilege to pay tribute to him for all his hard work.

One issue resonated through the debate: the Paralympic Games. I was pleased, because the Olympic Village grew in size; the whole nation became an Olympic village, and when the Paralympics was on, the nation recognised for the first time in my lifetime that we could concentrate on the abilities of the Paralympians and not their disabilities. That resonated throughout society. I think two of the great misnomers are “able-bodied” and “disabled”—but the reality was that, at last, across society there was great recognition and respect for people for their abilities rather than their disabilities, which has lasted to this day.

I thank noble Lords for contributing to this debate, and conclude by reflecting on the powerful and evocative speech on music given by the noble Baroness, Lady Bull. It made me reflect on how many times I have listened to Verdi’s “Nabucco” and hoped there would be a call for an encore to the “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves”. This was a debate where an encore would indeed be a valuable use of parliamentary time—and with those words I wish all noble Lords who participated a very happy Christmas, and my heartfelt thanks for participating in an extremely useful and insightful two and a half hours.

Motion agreed.