The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron):
Before I start, I would like to say something. Everyone in this House and many people watching at home will know from “Yes, Prime Minister” the central role that Bernard, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, plays in the life of the Prime Minister and of No. 10 Downing Street. This morning, my Bernard, my principal private secretary, Chris Martin, died of cancer. Chris Martin was only 42. He was one of the most loyal, hard-working, dedicated public servants that I have ever come across. I have no idea what his politics were, but he would go to the ends of the earth and back again for his Prime Minister, for No. 10 and for the team he worked for. Today, we are leaving the seat in the officials’ box, where he used to sit, empty as a mark of respect to him. We think of his wife, Zoe, his family and the wider No. 10 family—because it is a bit like a family and we feel we have lost someone between a father and brother to all of us. Whatever happens, we will never forget him.
This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, and, in addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.