Boris Johnson – 2020 Statement on the National Audit Office

Below is the text of the statement made by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, in the House of Commons on 1 July 2020.

I beg to move,

That an Humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will appoint Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE to the Office of Chair of the National Audit Office from 10 January 2021.

Should Her Majesty choose to do so, Dame Fiona will take over from Lord Bichard, whose two terms in the post have capped a long and distinguished career in public service. His departure will leave some rather large shoes to fill in the NAO boardroom, but I believe Dame Fiona is more than capable of filling them, at least metaphorically. She has spent most of her life working to preserve the best of this country, holding senior roles at the Council for National Parks and the Campaign to Protect Rural England. For more than a decade, she was responsible for great swathes of our heritage as director general of the National Trust. She has worked in central Government, sat on the boards of institutions including the BBC and has, since 2012, served as Master at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Alongside all that, she somehow found time to write a book, “The Fight for Beauty”, described by one reviewer as

“a warning against thoughtless depredation authorised by policy-makers”.

In many ways, that also describes the role of the NAO. So Dame Fiona is perfect for this role, and that is a view shared by the Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, the hon. Member for Hackney South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier), who, in accordance with the law, has given her seal of approval to the proposed appointment. I am sure Dame Fiona will do an excellent job, and I commend this motion to the House.