Commons Speaker thanks "right-hand man" as key member of his team retires
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (right) and assistant secretary Ian Davis (left), 13 July 2021 | ©UK Parliament_Jessica Taylor
MPs broke into applause after Sir Lindsay Hoyle credited his assistant secretary for helping him make the transition from deputy speaker to the 'top job'
Tributes have been paid from across the House following the retirement of a key member of the Speaker’s team after 28 years’ service to the Commons earlier this week.
Having previously served as a doorkeeper and trainbearer, Ian Davis had been the assistant secretary to the Speaker since 2011.
Praising his “military discipline, can-do attitude, friendship, sense of humour” Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said Davis’ expertise “will be sorely missed” by his team “and particularly by me”: “I have got to say: it is not an easy job to become Speaker, but the one thing that was easy for me was knowing that Ian Davis was there to advise me and the Speaker’s secretary on the work that we do.”
His remarks were echoed by both the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who thanked Davis for “for all his service to this House”, and also the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, who wished Davis “the very best from all of us in this House”.
Described by the Speaker as a "brilliant example of why we need more former military personnel serving in this House”, Davis was former band sergeant major in the Scots Guards, joining the House in 1993 after having served in the army for 24 years, including a stint in northern Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War in 1991.
I have got to say: it is not an easy job to become Speaker, but the one thing that was easy for me was knowing that Ian Davis was there to advise me
The Westminster leader of the SNP, Ian Blackford, thanked Davis for the service that he had given to both the Scots Guards and to the House. “He has truly been a friend and a sane voice to give guidance to those of us on these Benches when we have needed it,” Blackford said, “and I thank him very much for that.”
Involved in every State Opening of Parliament since 1972, Davis was awarded an MBE for his services to Parliament. He later said that he had “loved every minute of working in such a high-profile environment”, including meeting many celebrities visiting the Palace of Westminster. “I can remember the look of surprise from staff when Sean Connery popped his head around the door of the Members’ Library,” he said.
Davis said he was looking forward to taking a break from commuting from his home on the Isle of Wight, where he lives with Linda, his wife of 44 years.
As well as visiting their daughter Natalie and two grandchildren in California, David plans to volunteer for a charity that helps former military personnel.
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