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I had hoped that this Motion would be moved rather earlier in the day. Sadly, the buckets and spades will have to wait a few more hours. However, notwithstanding the late hour of the afternoon, it is one of the more congenial duties of the Government Chief Whip to take this occasion to record the thanks of your Lordships to all the staff who work so hard on our behalf.
It would be invidious of me to single out any one particular group, but we depend greatly upon those who provide the services which make it possible for us to do our work in this Chamber. I should like to record my gratitude, and that of all noble Lords on the Government Benches, to those who serve us so well.
I should like also to take the opportunity to express my thanks to the usual channels, and, in particular, to the noble Lords, Lord Graham of Edmonton, and Lord Harris of Greenwich, for the help they give in our attempts to ensure that the business of the House is arranged as often as possible in a way which reflects the wishes of the whole House. Perhaps I may conclude by wishing your Lordships and all our staff a very happy, refreshing and restful Summer Recess.
Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, not for the first time, the noble Lord the Government Chief Whip has expressed the views and feelings of the House. I endorse every word he said. I am grateful to him for choosing them to express the gratitude of the whole House. I say that from these Benches, but I know that that gratitude stretches far beyond them.
If my memory serves me well, the term just ended has moved, ever so slowly, towards more acceptable hours and conditions. Your Lordships' House has sat on many nights later than the other place, surely a situation up with which we should not put. We need to pay full attention in order to move more quickly towards better hours and conditions.
Lord Graham of Edmonton: I am trying to be fair. We are all beneficiaries of his benign patronage, which is backed by the fresh outlook of our new Black Rod and, from the Cross Benches, of the new Convenor, the noble Lord, Lord Weatherill. They are both warmly welcomed as joining those who make this place tick. We are all well served in every way. I am glad that the noble Lord has moved away from the previous practice of trying to itemise and individualise every group to whom we are grateful, because, however hard his predecessors tried, one or two were always missed out. We share his gratitude and that of noble Lords who do a job which they could not do without the backing of so many other good people. We are very grateful to them.
The Viscount of Falkland: My Lords, although I have already expressed their wishes during the course of the previous business, on behalf of all Members of these Benches I echo the words of the noble Lord the Government Chief Whip. I hope that everyone, in particular those who serve us so well in the House, has a good break. It is always invidious to pick out any one group, but I should like to say that on these very hot days the Refreshment Department, in particular, deserves our support. I have seen its members bringing out tray after tray of iced coffee and such drinks at tea time, and later in the evening bringing out soft and other drinks in great quantities, with their usual cheerfulness. It is that kind of dedication which makes this place such a pleasant place in which to work. I wish everyone a happy Recess.
Viscount Tenby: My Lords, on behalf of all Cross-Bench Peers perhaps I may endorse the remarks made by the noble Lord the Government Chief Whip and other noble Lords and echo their thanks. We may not have had the most earth-shattering Session in recent years but much useful work has been accomplished. Despite occasional hiccups, it is good to see that the usual channels continue to be well-dredged.
We pass our particular thanks to the noble Lord the Government Chief Whip for his invariably courteous, sympathetic and sometimes robust attention to our modest needs on the Cross Benches. We extend also our warm thanks to all the other Front Benches.
Perhaps I may close by echoing the thanks already given to all the staff who make our attendance here so painless and so pleasurable. Perhaps, more than any other grouping, the Cross-Benchers depend upon the good will and skill of the staff of the House. I should like to put on record our deep appreciation of the services of the Officers, Doorkeepers, refreshment staff, librarians and all office staff. In particular, I hope that noble Lords will think it appropriate to single out three particular areas.
First, we are sad to say goodbye to Sir Richard Thomas after his years of dedicated service as Black Rod. We wish him many happy years of retirement. We warmly welcome his successor for what we are confident will be a long and successful tour of duty.
Secondly, we bid farewell to Doorkeeper Mr. Bremner. But our best wishes on his retirement must alas be coupled with an expression of sadness at the recent loss that he has suffered. We offer him our deepest sympathy.
Finally, perhaps I may refer to the retirement during the Recess of Mr. Pink from the Accountants Office. In between wondering who will now explain so effectively and charmingly where noble Lords have gone wrong in the preparation of their expenses, we wish him a long and happy retirement.
I have spoken for far too long, for which I apologise. Those of your Lordships who are left are understandably straining at the leash. On behalf of the Cross-Benchers, I wish all noble Lords a happy and refreshing holiday resulting in recharged batteries for cruising rapidly down the legislative highway in October.
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