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Dr. William McCrea (South Antrim) (DUP): Mr. Speaker-Elect, on behalf of my right hon. and hon. Friends I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your elevation to the very important office of Speaker of the House of Commons. I thank the Father of the House for the manner in which he carried out the election and I congratulate all the other candidates on the excellent speeches that they gave to this House today. Last week, I thanked Speaker Martin for his defence of the rights of Back Benchers and minority parties. I trust that you, Mr. Speaker-Elect, will continue in that vein. Finally, I simply trust that you will be granted great wisdom as you take this House of Commons through challenging times.
Mr. Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool, Walton) (Lab): Mr. Speaker-Elect, you have heard from the Prime Minister and from the leaders of the various Opposition parties. It is notable that the members of the fourth estate have gone away already, to decide why they got their predictions so wrong and whether you have a fine turn of calf which merits a certain kind of Victorian dresswho knows? To reflect the comments of the hon. Member for South Antrim (Dr. McCrea), I know that you will consider every day when you sit in that Chair that you do not owe the power of your position to Front Benchers. You owe the power of your position to the Back Benchers in this place. I hope, pray and trust that you will look out for the interests of those Back Benchers, because as sure as night follows day those Back Benchers will look out for your interests, too.
Dr. Richard Taylor (Wyre Forest) (Ind): As the senior independent Member, may I add my congratulations and welcome you sincerely, Mr. Speaker-Elect? Your changes of mind have demonstrated your independence and I hope that that independence will continue in this high post. Many congratulations to you, Sir.
The Prime Minister: I have to signify to the House the pleasure of Her Majesty that the House should present their Speaker this day at 9.45 pm in the House of Peers for Her Majestys Royal Approbation.
Mr. Speaker: I have to report that this House has been in the House of Lords where Her Majesty has been pleased, by Her Majestys Commissioners, to approve the choice made of myself for the office of Speaker.
My first duty to the House is to repeat my respectful acknowledgements and my grateful thanks for the great honour you have conferred upon me in placing me in the Chair and to renew the assurance of my entire devotion to the service of the House.
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying Her Majesty that she will be most graciously pleased to confer some signal mark of Her Royal favour upon the Right honourable
Mr. Michael J. Martin for his eminent services during the important period in which he presided with such distinguished ability and dignity in the Chair of this House. (Ms Harman.)