My Lords, your Lordships’ House may recall that on
My Lords, the Leader of the Opposition is quite right: on
I am grateful to the Chief Whip for that response—probably. I can tell him that I had a letter from one of the candidates in the Conservative Party leadership election who was not very happy about the idea of a Joint Committee, but that was Jeremy Hunt and he lost, so I was rather hoping that the new Prime Minister might be a little more sympathetic. In his final hours as Chief Whip, might the noble Lord find the opportunity to take the new Prime Minister to task on this issue?
While I raise that, perhaps I may thank him on behalf of the whole House for his service as Chief Whip and in other ministries.
He will have heard the response. We are very grateful to him.
My Lords, I echo the probing question asked by the noble Baroness in respect of the Joint Committee. I also echo her comments about the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, with whom I have worked in both government and opposition. Views differ across the House about the achievements or faults of the coalition, but they were a strong and stable Government. In this House, that was possible in no small measure because of the efforts of the noble Lord and the collaborative spirit in which he worked with me and my colleagues. In opposition, he was always extremely affable—almost always—and, more importantly, absolutely straight to deal with. Far removed from the stereotype of the scheming, unreliable Chief Whip, he would certainly not form a model character for one of his noble friend Lord Dobbs’ novels. With those positive sentiments, could I also say: could he just have a word with his colleagues in the Commons and ask them to get a move on?
My Lords, I am a latecomer to these engagements, but I want on behalf of these Benches to pay my own tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, for his time working with me as Chief Whip. We have had a very straightforward relationship and a position of mutual trust which has been of great benefit to me. As a newcomer to the political scene in this House, it has been of enormous encouragement to me to deal with him and I am most grateful.