George Thomas – 1978 Statement on Lord Selwyn-Lloyd

Below is the text of the statement made by George Thomas, the then Speaker of the House of Commons, in the House on 18 May 1978.

Right hon. and hon. Members have learned with deep sorrow of the death of Lord Selwyn-Lloyd, my immediate predecessor as Speaker of this House.

I wish on behalf of all parties and of each and every hon. and right hon. Member to pay tribute to the memory of one of the most outstanding parliamentarians of our generation.

Both in peace and in war, Selwyn Lloyd proved his utter devotion to our country. It fell to him to carry the burden of some of the highest offices of State and he never spared himself in fulfilling his responsibilities. When he became Leader of this House he very quickly earned both the unqualified respect and the abounding affection of hon. and right hon. Members in all parties. He was a doughty fighter for the rights of Back Benchers, and we shall always be in debt to him for the reforms he helped to initiate.

Selwyn Lloyd was a man incapable of malice. He enjoyed the remarkable blessing of never nursing a grudge. His patent integrity and his massive loyalty both to our country and to all with whom he worked marked him out as a man of noble quality. He was always the quintessence of courtesy in his dealings with those with whom he disagreed. His five years as Speaker of this House are fresh in our memory. His compassion, his patience, his humour and his strength of character ensured that he will always have an honoured place as one of the greatest Speakers in our history.

In saluting Selwyn Lloyd’s memory, we thank God for his life of selfless service and extend to his family our heartfelt sympathy in their sorrow.