Sir George queries Harriet Harman as Leader of the House
29 Jun 2007
Harriet Harman
Harriet Harman
Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): In your statement, Mr. Speaker, you indicated that there would be an opportunity at a later date to pay tribute to Sir Philip Mawer. As the Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee, I would like to do that in a handsome way at the appropriate time.

Reverting to the subject of next week’s business, I seek an assurance from the Leader of the House about next Thursday’s business statement. By tradition, the Leader of the House has been less partisan and more broad-minded than his colleagues because of his responsibilities to the House as a whole. Apart from the occasional lapse, the current Leader of the House has performed that responsibility with enormous distinction. Does he agree that it will be far more difficult for that convention to be upheld if his successor is also chairman of the Labour party?

Mr. Straw: I am not going to speculate on who is or is not likely to be my successor—

John Bercow (Buckingham) (Con): It is on the BBC website.

Mr. Straw: I am not going to speculate until a formal announcement is approved by Her Majesty the Queen. The right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir George Young) has occasional lapses from the distinguished all-party positions that he holds in the House to being a partisan politician. [Hon. Members: “Never.”] I hope he does, and I applaud him for that, because we combine a variety of roles. It is perfectly possible for anyone filling these shoes to combine the very important role of Leader of the House, representing this House inside the Government and ensuring that it is paid proper respect in a practical way, with the fact that all of us here, bar, I think, one Member, came into the House because we were members of a political party and support the partisan causes of that party.

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