Charles Walker highlights value of British democracy

Charles Walker highlights the importance of Parliamentary debates as the foundation of democracy in UK and calls on the Government to be generous and magnanimous.

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con)

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for calling me to speak in this important debate. I love process and procedure, and I do not think it is to be derided or criticised. Process and procedure is why we settle big debates in this place and not out there on the streets, so there are no apologies from me.

I am delighted that we have such experts in this place on process and procedure. I know very little about it, but my hon. Friend the Member for North East Somerset (Mr Rees-Mogg) is an expert, as are you, Mr Speaker, in the Chair today. I do not want to sound like a crashing ​bore in what is my maiden speech in my fourth Parliament —four Parliaments is quite impressive; we are moving in the right direction. But I would just say that the genuine maiden speech—

Mr Rees-Mogg

“Erskine May” makes it clear that someone’s maiden speech is their maiden speech only in their first Parliament, so they are allowed to be interrupted in subsequent Parliaments.

Mr Walker

My hon. Friend makes that point brilliantly in the way that only he can.

My hon. Friend the Member for Angus (Kirstene Hair) made a fantastic speech, a Unionist speech, and touched on a part of the world I love greatly, Scotland. It is a beautiful country and my hon. Friend will be a fantastic representative for her constituency.

Although she is not in her place, the hon. Member for Battersea (Marsha De Cordova) made a fabulous speech about a part of the world I hold very dear. I was, after all, a councillor in Battersea, in the borough of Wandsworth, for many years—well, actually, for four years, but it seemed longer. I was a councillor for the most famous and celebrated ward of Battersea, Balham. If you are going to be a councillor anywhere in the country, why not Balham?

In concluding my brief remarks, let me say that it is always best for Governments of whatever colour to be generous and magnanimous. As you will know, Mr Speaker, in this place generosity is often abused but never despised. My plea to Government as we go forward is for them please to be generous in their approach to the Opposition Benches. They will be on the side of the angels if they are.

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