My Lords, the Hybrid Sitting of the House will now begin.
This is the last sitting day before the Summer Recess, and I would like to use this opportunity to say a few words of thanks before we depart from Westminster for the break.
One of the privileges of being Lord Speaker is the daily insight I am given into the inner workings of the House. Of course, the Chamber and Committee Rooms are where our main public business takes place, but the House is more than that, and there are literally hundreds of people working, even as I speak, to make our proceedings possible and keep the whole show on the road.
I know I speak for the whole House when I thank those in the broadcasting hub and the Broadcasting Unit, some of whom have joined us recently and others who do duties there in addition to their day jobs in other offices. We have been very well served. I would also like to mention the staff of the House, who have worked hard, and often for long hours, to transform our procedures and processes to fit a virtual—and now a hybrid—House. We have continued to hold the Government to account, to scrutinise public policy and to legislate. We owe these staff a debt of gratitude.
I would also like to underline the contribution of those who have continued to come into Parliament on a daily basis. I am thinking of those in the security department and the police who keep those of us in the building safe, as well as the doorkeepers in Black Rod’s department. I also extend my thanks to the cleaners and those in the catering service, some of whom have continued to work throughout, the attendants, and those in the Facilities Department and Parliamentary Digital Service, who keep things going even when we are working from home.
They have all shown the enthusiasm and dedication we have come to expect from those who work for Parliament. They deserve our sincere thanks, and I would like to express those on behalf of the House.
As for today, some Members are here in the Chamber, respecting social distancing, others are participating remotely, but all Members will be treated equally.
Oral Questions will now commence. Please can those asking supplementary questions keep them short and confined to two points? I ask that Ministers’ answers are also brief.