Seafarers’ Wages Bill [HL] - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:56 pm on 20th July 2022.

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Photo of Lord Howard of Lympne Lord Howard of Lympne Conservative 4:56 pm, 20th July 2022

My Lords, I begin by discussing the Bill. For 27 years, I had the great privilege of representing in the other place the constituency of Folkestone and Hythe. That constituency contains many seafarers, many of whom suffered grievously from the deplorable action of P&O. I very much hope that the provisions in the Bill will ensure that action of that kind is not repeated, and I very much welcome its provisions.

The main reason for my brief intervention in your Lordships’ debate this afternoon is to pay tribute to my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern. I had the privilege of serving with him in Cabinet. My noble friend Lord Strathclyde has described his presence, quoting Lord Howe of Aberavon, as a “looming presence” —although that is not quite my recollection. His interventions were always calm and judicious and, as your Lordships would expect, they were always listened to and heeded with respect.

When I entered your Lordships’ House, I watched my noble and learned friend’s contributions to your Lordships’ deliberations with admiration and awe. Not only did he frequently intervene in and influence your Lordships’ debates but he very often shaped those debates, and so often his contribution was decisive in the outcome of those debates and the votes which followed them. No greater tribute can be paid to a Member of your Lordships’ House than to say that. It can be said of perhaps no other. Your Lordships’ House will be much diminished by the absence of my noble and learned friend, and I speak for all of us when I wish him and Lady Mackay a long and happy retirement.