All 1 Debates between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Hill of Oareford

Mon 3rd Mar 2014

Reading Clerk

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Hill of Oareford
Monday 3rd March 2014

(10 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness D'Souza Portrait The Lord Speaker (Baroness D'Souza)
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My Lords, as I informed the House on 11 February, I have appointed Mr Simon Peter Burton to be Reading Clerk in place of Mr Rhodri Havard Walters. I therefore beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. The Question is that this Motion be agreed to.

Lord Hill of Oareford Portrait The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford) (Con)
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My Lords, we often talk in this House of the debt we owe to the staff. Today we have the opportunity to pay tribute to one who served us with great distinction for more than 38 years, Rhodri Walters—or perhaps I should say, using that well known phrase from our Letters Patent, our trusty and well beloved Dr Rhodri Havard Walters. Over those 38 years Rhodri served the House in many senior roles, including as private secretary to the Viscount Whitelaw; as Establishment Officer—now less elegantly known as Director of Human Resources; and as Clerk of Committees. He has also overseen the recruitment and development of many of the younger clerks in this House, a task which I know he much enjoyed. But he is perhaps best known to most of us as the Reading Clerk who so beautifully read out our punctuation-free Letters Patent as we were each introduced to the House. It was in this guise that he was described by a parliamentary sketch writer as the,

“master of ceremonies … A figure almost from Dickens. With his wig and spectacles and parchment voice, he was the learned town mouse, nose twitching as he waited”.

Dickensian, perhaps, but how reassuring to us as we stood there nervously.

Beyond the House, Rhodri has many interests, including rowing, skiing—indeed, he is on the slopes of St Anton as we speak—singing, gardening and his native Wales, where he has a house at which he will now be able to spend more time. I know the whole House will want to join me in thanking him for his long and loyal service and in wishing him a very happy retirement.