Archbishop of Canterbury pays tribute to departing Lord Speaker

abc-mcfall-2On 5th September 2016, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Hon. and Rt Rev. Justin Welby, paid tribute to the outgoing Lord Speaker and Deputy Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza and Lord Laming. Archbishop Justin also welcomed the new Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, and the new Senior Deputy Lord Speaker, Lord McFall, to their roles.


Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, on behalf of the Lords spiritual I join in the tributes to the noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, and to the noble Lord, Lord Laming. The noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, has been a great friend to the Lords spiritual, who normally arrive with even more trepidation and less familiarity with the processes of a House such as this than anyone else coming here. She has been assiduous in seeing new bishops and advising them, and then advising them later when they did not quite make it—something that I appreciated on more than one occasion. She always did it with the greatest tact and courtesy and I think that we would all say that she was an encourager of great aptitude.

I associate these Benches with the tributes to her for her work in publicising the work of the House in schools and further afield, and for her work in bringing forward the place of faith in public life. I remember well her hosting the visit of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar in her state rooms in 2015. It was a challenging and difficult meeting which, as always, she handled with extraordinary skill. She was also continually prodding us to make sure that the presence of women on these Benches became both a possibility and then, through the women bishops Bill, which she supported, a reality.

The noble Baroness has been a regular attender at parliamentary events at Lambeth, for which we are very grateful. One of the things that she seems to have brought to the role—from which we on these Benches have much to learn—is not so much the exercise of direct power as the effective use of influence and her capacity to be a unifying figurehead. Perhaps I could learn something from that.

The noble Lord, Lord Laming, has also quite rightly had the strongest tributes paid to him. That is as it should be and I will not take up the House’s time in repeating them but will merely associate myself with them. However, I will add one thing to what has been said about his unfailing courtesy, fairness, assiduous communication and determination to make the House work smoothly, which he continues to demonstrate in the Services Committee. That is his pastoral skills: the way in which he draws alongside people who may have been struggling, to support and encourage them personally and quietly—for which many of us in this House are profoundly grateful. It is wonderful that both the noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, and the noble Lord, Lord Laming, will continue to serve the House from the Cross Benches.

I would also like to associate these Benches with the words of welcome to the new Lord Speaker, the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, with whom we look forward to working very much indeed, and to the senior Deputy Speaker, the not-actually-bishop, the noble Lord, Lord McFall. He finds himself in a slightly unfamiliar seat normally occupied by the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of York. I had the pleasure of working with the noble Lord on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards and know the qualities that he will bring to this House, together with the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, which can only increase our capacity in this place.

My Lords, on behalf of the Lords spiritual I join in the tributes to the noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, and to the noble Lord, Lord Laming. The noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, has been a great friend to the Lords spiritual, who normally arrive with even more trepidation and less familiarity with the processes of a House such as this than anyone else coming here. She has been assiduous in seeing new bishops and advising them, and then advising them later when they did not quite make it—something that I appreciated on more than one occasion. She always did it with the greatest tact and courtesy and I think that we would all say that she was an encourager of great aptitude.

I associate these Benches with the tributes to her for her work in publicising the work of the House in schools and further afield, and for her work in bringing forward the place of faith in public life. I remember well her hosting the visit of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar in her state rooms in 2015. It was a challenging and difficult meeting which, as always, she handled with extraordinary skill. She was also continually prodding us to make sure that the presence of women on these Benches became both a possibility and then, through the women bishops Bill, which she supported, a reality.

The noble Baroness has been a regular attender at parliamentary events at Lambeth, for which we are very grateful. One of the things that she seems to have brought to the role—from which we on these Benches have much to learn—is not so much the exercise of direct power as the effective use of influence and her capacity to be a unifying figurehead. Perhaps I could learn something from that.

The noble Lord, Lord Laming, has also quite rightly had the strongest tributes paid to him. That is as it should be and I will not take up the House’s time in repeating them but will merely associate myself with them. However, I will add one thing to what has been said about his unfailing courtesy, fairness, assiduous communication and determination to make the House work smoothly, which he continues to demonstrate in the Services Committee. That is his pastoral skills: the way in which he draws alongside people who may have been struggling to support and encourage them personally and quietly—for which many of us in this House are profoundly grateful. It is wonderful that both the noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, and the noble Lord, Lord Laming, will continue to serve the House from the Cross Benches.

I would also like to associate these Benches with the words of welcome to the new Lord Speaker, the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, with whom we look forward to working very much indeed, and to the senior Deputy Speaker, the not-actually-bishop, the noble Lord, Lord McFall. abc-mcfallHe finds himself in a slightly unfamiliar seat normally occupied by the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of York. I had the pleasure of working with the noble Lord on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards and know the qualities that he will bring to this House, together with the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, which can only increase our capacity in this place.


(via Parliament.uk)