Baroness D’Souza has today announced that she does not intend to put her name forward as a candidate in the speakership election to be held before 15 July 2016, and will step down from her post as Lord Speaker in the summer.
Announcing her decision, Baroness D’Souza said:
“As Lord Speaker I have been at the service of the whole House. The degree of friendship and co-operation from all sides, political and none, has been remarkable. It is with this background that we have been able to achieve so much in our outreach work. Not only has the ‘Peers in Schools’ programme grown substantially but we have extended our outreach to include regular visits embracing universities, schools, civil society organisations and chambers of commerce across the UK. It would not be an exaggeration to say that in the last five years we have spoken to perhaps 50,000 people, including students at 1,000 schools, about the role that the Lords plays in the legislative process.
"The overseas programme has also been a major part of my tenure. The aim here is to build both personal and institutional relationships with parliamentarians abroad with the purpose of learning, sharing best practice and acting as an informal and non-political channel of communication.
"It is however the fundamental role of the House of Lords that must always prevail: to revise and scrutinise legislation and hold the government of the day to account. The Lords has received, and continues to receive, critical comment in the media. There can be no question that reforms to our procedures and practices must continue and perhaps become bolder. That said the crucial role we play cannot be overemphasised.
"It has been such a privilege and an honour to serve the House of Lords as Speaker during the last five years. I have been magnificently supported by all the Lords staff including clerks, the doorkeepers and catering staff, and most of all by the private office – no one could have wished for more attentive and thoughtful assistance.
"As I step down I will continue to work towards the development of a smaller, more relevant and more professional second chamber.”
Image: Copyright House of Lords 2016/Photography by Helen Jones