Below is the text of the speech made by Meg Hillier, the Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, in the House of Commons on 1 July 2020.
It gives me great pleasure to support the motion proposed by the Prime Minister to appoint Dame Fiona Reynolds, who, as he has highlighted, has had a distinguished career, particularly as head of the National Trust and, more recently, as Master of Emmanuel College. She is the first woman to hold this important position, and I also put on record my thanks to Lord Bichard, who will have given six years of service when he hands over the reins to Dame Fiona in January.
The NAO is crucial in holding the Government to account, safeguarding taxpayers’ money, and, increasingly, under the new Comptroller and Auditor General, Gareth Davies, learning to do better. So it is heartening that the Prime Minister and I agree on the importance of the NAO and the suitability of Dame Fiona to take up this role. Her considerable experience will be well played in the NAO. Of course, the Comptroller and Auditor General determines all the audit procedures, but she will have a pivotal role on the board in making sure that the organisation becomes as modern and sophisticated as it needs to be to deal with the challenges of the modern world. So I fully and wholeheartedly endorse her. This was the first virtual appointment and I have not yet met Dame Fiona, so I look forward to doing so when lockdown restrictions lift still further.