To return to my hon. Friend's work as a Minister in the Labour Government, he will be remembered, too, for his work on Africa in the newly formed Department for International Development in 2001, and later in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 2003 and 2005. His interest in international affairs, as well in as the affairs of his constituents and in the importance of
this House, has been wide-ranging, encompassing not only his ministerial portfolios but his serving as chair of the organisation Medical Aid for Vietnam, which he took on in 2006.
My hon. Friend will be much missed in this place, as the attendance in the Chamber tonight attests-I do not think I have ever seen a debate on the Adjournment so well attended-but we know that his hinterland is assured. He is a published author of some repute. Labour Members still recall with fondness "Harry Perkins for Prime Minister" badges following the success of his book, "A Very British Coup", in 1982. And of course there is his latest work, "A View from the Foothills", which I also have no hesitation in recommending for all aspiring Ministers and all aspiring parliamentary candidates.
Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): The right hon. and learned Lady refers to that publication, and we await forthcoming editions with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation. Does she agree that having seen what fate befalls those who scale the peaks, the foothills might be quite a good place to be?
Personally, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with my hon. Friend. He has always been honest and independent. He has cared about the underdog, and he has cared about his constituents. It has been a great pleasure and a privilege to serve alongside him. Although he leaves this House, I have absolutely no doubt that he will play an important part in the causes that he has championed all his life: it will just not be in this House, and for that this House will be the poorer.