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Sir Edward LeighMain Page: Sir Edward Leigh (Conservative) - Gainsborough)
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I thank the Leader of the House for tabling the motion, which the Opposition support. I concur with every word he said. If we look at the list of the names in the motion, we see that one is that of the former Education Secretary, the right hon. Member for East Hampshire (Damian Hinds), so keen is he to get on with the work. We know that all the members listed in the motion have the necessary expertise, particularly the external members, who cover heritage as well as accountancy. As far as the right hon. and hon. Members are concerned, we know they will provide plenty of expertise and important input into this very important project. I, too, wish them every success.
Order. I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman’s passion about this subject, but this is a very narrow motion about the membership of the Committee, not about the exact dimensions of any proposed future Chamber. I must hold the right hon. Gentleman to the particular matter before us. He can address the general issue, but talking about exact dimensions is going a bit far.
If the right hon. Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) wants to sit in the House of Lords, I am sure that will have been heard by those on the Treasury Bench. We know that one day, that ambition of his will be fulfilled—[Interruption.] Exactly—if he wanted to be on the sponsor body, he could have moved an amendment on that this evening. He could have divided the House, and who knows? With the attendance here, it might have even gone through on the voices to let him serve.
I join the Leader of the House in paying tribute to the Members who are leaving the shadow sponsor body—especially my hon. Friend the Member for Airdrie and Shotts (Neil Gray)—and I welcome those who are coming on to it. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh East (Tommy Sheppard), who cannot be here, is thrilled at the prospect of being part of this project and will, as the Scottish National party has always done, keep an incredibly sharp eye on the use of public funds and the opportunity that this must present to modernise and reform the practices and procedures of the House of Commons, however it meets.