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11 Dec 2002 : Column 285—continued

Municipal Waste Recycling

Joan Ruddock, supported by Norman Baker, Gregory Barker, Peter Bottomley, Malcolm Bruce, Mr. Frank Doran, Sue Doughty, Ms Julia Drown, Glenda Jackson, Julie Morgan, Mr. Simon Thomas and Ms Joan Walley, presented a Bill to make further provision regarding the collection, composting, minimisation and recycling of municipal waste; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 14 March, and to be printed [Bill 19].

Sustainable Energy

Brian White, supported by Dr. Desmond Turner, Ms Debra Shipley, Sir Sydney Chapman, Alan Simpson, Ms Joan Walley, Gregory Barker, Mr. Gareth Thomas, Mr. Simon Thomas, Mr. David Amess, Sue Doughty and Mr. Don Foster, presented a Bill to make provision about the development and promotion of a sustainable energy policy; to amend the Utilities Act 2000; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 28 March, and to be printed [Bill 20].

Female Genital Mutilation

Ann Clwyd, supported by Chris McCafferty, Dr. Jenny Tonge, Mrs. Alice Mahon, Mr. Frank Dobson, Mrs. Marion Roe, Mr. Brian Sedgemore, Ms Diane Abbott, Julie Morgan, Mrs. Ann Cryer, Joan Ruddock and Ms Debra Shipley presented a Bill to restate and amend the law relating to female genital mutilation; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 21 March, and to be printed [Bill 21].

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Company Directors' Performance And Compensation

Mr. Archie Norman, supported by Mr. John Bercow, Mr. Martin O'Neill and Mr. Mark Lazarowicz presented a Bill to amend the law in relation to payment of a company director by way of compensation for loss of office so as to require boards to take the respective director's performance into account in setting the amount of any such payment, notwithstanding anything contained in his service contract; to require the board to disclose the amount of any such payment upon request by any shareholder; to require the insertion into the company's annual report of an explanation for the amount of any such payment, should it exceed the equivalent of the basic salary payable by contract to the respective employee in the previous 12 months; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 31 January, and to be printed [Bill 22].

Aviation (Offences)

Mr. Frank Roy, supported by David Taylor, Mr. David Marshall, Siobhain McDonagh, Sandra Osborne, Paul Goggins, Sir Robert Smith, Miss Anne Begg, Patrick Mercer, Syd Rapson, Rosemary McKenna and Mr. David Stewart presented a Bill to make provision about the enforcement of certain offences connected with aviation: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 7 February, and to be printed [Bill 23].

National Lottery (Funding Of Endowments)

Mr. Keith Simpson, supported by Dr. Ian Gibson, Mrs. Gillian Shephard, Mr. Henry Bellingham, Mr. Richard Bacon, Norman Lamb and Mr. Anthony D. Wright introduced a Bill to make provision about the funding of endowments from distributions of money out of the National Lottery Distribution Fund; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 28 February, and to be printed [Bill 24].

Human Fertilisation And Embryology (Deceased Fathers)

Mr. Stephen McCabe, supported by Mr. Tony Clarke, Ms Debra Shipley, Ms Gisela Stuart, Mr. Ivan Henderson, Peter Bottomley, Sue Doughty, Mr. Anthony D. Wright, Dr. Jenny Tonge, Mr. David Amess, Miss Julie Kirkbride and Mr. Stephen Hepburn presented a Bill to make provision about the circumstances in which, and the extent to which, a man is to be treated in law as the father of a child where the child has resulted from certain fertility treatment undertaken after the man's death; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 28 March, and to be printed [Bill 25].

Legal Deposit Libraries

Mr. Chris Mole, supported by David Wright, Ms Meg Munn, Jim Knight, Mr. Stephen Pound, John Robertson, Mr. Chris Bryant, Dr. Ian Gibson, Brian White and Mr. Clive Betts presented a Bill to make provision in place of section 15 of the Copyright Act 1911 relating to the deposit of printed and similar publications, including on- and off-line publications; to

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make provision about the use and preservation of material deposited; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 14 March, and to be printed [Bill 26].

Equine Welfare (Ragwort Control)

Mr. John Greenway, supported by Mr. Peter Atkinson, Mr. Henry Bellingham, Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Jeff Ennis, Mr. James Gray, Mr. Alan Meale, Mr. Richard Page, Mr. James Paice, Mr. Owen Paterson and Mr. Richard Spring presented a Bill to make provision for the protection of horses from ragwort poisoning; to amend the Weeds Act 1959; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 21 March, and to be printed [Bill 27].

High Hedges

Mr. Stephen Pound, supported by Mr. Martin Salter, Mr. Tony Clarke, Paul Clark, Mr. Andrew Dismore, Mr. Jim Cunningham, Mr. John Randall, Mrs. Cheryl Gillan, Richard Younger-Ross, Matthew Green, James Purnell and Ms Meg Munn presented a Bill to make provision for dealing with complaints about high hedges; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 28 March, and to be printed [Bill 28].

Government Powers (Limitations)

Dr. Julian Lewis, on behalf of Mr. John Bercow, presented a Bill to amend the law in relation to the permitted number of Ministers of the Crown; to limit the powers of Ministers to make certain appointments; to make provision with respect to the parliamentary scrutiny of European Union proposals and other subordinate legislation; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 14 March, and to be printed [Bill 29].

Dealing In Cultural Objects (Offences)

Mr. Richard Allan, supported by Mr. Mark Fisher, Mr. Edward Garnier, Shona McIsaac, Mr. Alistair Carmichael, Ross Cranston and Mr. Robert Key presented a Bill to provide for an offence of acquiring, disposing of, importing or exporting tainted cultural objects, or agreeing or arranging to do so; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 7 February, and to be printed [Bill 30].

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Marine Safety

Dr. Brian Iddon, supported by Mr. Edward O'Hara, Mrs. Louise Ellman, Mr. Graham Brady, Ms Candy Atherton, Mr. Gwyn Prosser, Andrew George, Mr. Ivan Henderson, Syd Rapson, Dr. Ian Gibson, Dr. Desmond Turner and Mr. Joe Benton presented a Bill to make provision about the giving of directions in respect of ships for purposes relating to safety or pollution and about the taking of action to enforce, in connection with, or in lieu of, directions; to make provision about fire-fighting in connection with marine incidents; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 28 February, and to be printed [Bill 31].

Disabled People (Duties Of Public Authorities)

Ms Bridget Prentice, supported by Mr. Roger Berry, Angela Eagle, Helen Jones, Mr. Greg Pope and Mr. Tom Watson presented a Bill to make provision in relation to public authorities for the elimination of discrimination against disabled persons and for the promotion of equality of opportunity for such persons: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 28 March, and to be printed [Bill 32].

Food Labelling

Mr. Stephen O'Brien, supported by Mr. Eric Pickles, Mr. David Curry, Mr. Owen Paterson, Mrs. Eleanor Laing, Mr. Jonathan Djanogly, Alistair Burt, Mr. Robert Syms, Sir Sydney Chapman, Mr. Henry Bellingham, Mr. Bill Wiggin and Ann Winterton presented a Bill to make further provision for relevant information about food, including information about the country of origin and standards of production of that food, to be made available to consumers, by labelling, marking or in other ways; and for connected purposes: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 7 March, and to be printed [Bill 33].

Endangered Species (Illegal Trade)

Hugh Robertson, supported by Mr. David Amess and Mr. John Randall presented a Bill to increase the penalties for offences under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 1976: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time on Friday 21 March, and to be printed [Bill 34].

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Sir William McKay KCB

5.13 pm

The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Robin Cook): I beg to move,


As the Leader of the House, I have become wearily familiar with the fact that not every motion that I move is a focus of unity within the Chamber, but I anticipate full support for the one that I put before the House on this occasion. By convention, the Clerk of the House is not present to hear these tributes, but I hope that he has found some instrument of modern technology in order that he may observe them, and that he may hear the warmth of Members' appreciation for his lifetime of service to this House.

Bill McKay first entered the Clerks Department in 1961. He has therefore been here longer than any serving Member of the House, and for one year longer than the Father of the House. He has served in the Clerks Department through momentous political events—from the Cuban missile crisis to the present day. When he first came, Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister and Hugh Gaitskell Leader of the Opposition. In the intervening period, he has served under eight Prime Ministers, and Leaders of the Opposition—of both parties—too numerous to recount. His record of service reads like a directory of the Clerks Department—Clerk of Journals, Clerk of Public Bills, Secretary to the House of Commons Commission, and Clerk to the Public Accounts Commission. In the past five years, as Clerk of the House, he has presided over momentous changes in the administration of the Commons.

Sir William McKay is the author of the biographical list of Clerks since 1363, when the office was first created. In that long list spanning more than six centuries, he is the first Clerk of the House also to hold the title of chief executive of the Commons—a post for which he gained valuable experience in his early years as Clerk to the all-powerful Catering Committee.

Over my three decades in the House, I have always found Bill McKay unfailing in the courtesy with which he responded to my questions, and in the authority with which he provided answers. I have also appreciated his tactful knack of always looking as though one had asked a really interesting question. There is only one recorded occasion on which his patience with an hon. Member failed him. He was Clerk of Public Bills during the passage of the Maastricht Bill, and used to receive a daily visitation from a certain very determined individual. After weeks of circular and fruitless argument with that hon. Gentleman, he took to seeking refugee status at a desk in the Journal Office—taking care not to tell his staff where he was, so that they could truthfully say that they did not know where he could be found.

I do not know the identity of the hon. Member involved, but we can all guess.

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I suspect that Bill McKay will most want to be remembered in this place for his fine legacy of scholarship, and rightly so. He has been the editor of the second volume of Erskine May's journal, the author of a monograph on secretaries to Mr. Speaker, and he is the source of many of the authoritative revisions to Erskine May's guide to procedure. I am therefore delighted that he leaves us to take up a chair at Aberdeen university as professor in the school of law. It is a post and a location convenient to enjoying his retirement with his wife, the Rev. Margaret McKay, who serves as a minister of a parish in the presbytery of Buchan. Characteristically, Bill McKay and Margaret have already written the authoritative historical account of the parish.

Sir William leaves with the gratitude of hon. Members, with the respect of the House for having fulfilled the great tradition of Clerks, and with the admiration of every hon. Member for a great parliamentarian.


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