David Beamish, the Clerk of the Parliaments, has today announced that he will retire from the role on 15 April 2017.
The Clerk of the Parliaments is the most senior official in the House of Lords. He is head of the House of Lords Administration and the chief procedural adviser.
David Beamish took his oath of office in the Lords chamber on Tuesday 26 April 2011, becoming the 63rd holder of the office.
A process to appoint David Beamish’s successor will be held and a recommendation made to the Queen before the House rises for the Christmas recess on 22 December.
In a letter to the Leader of the House of Lords, the Clerk of the Parliaments said:
‘I would be grateful if you could inform the House of my decision to retire from the office of Clerk of the Parliaments, with my last day of service to be 15 April 2017. As we have discussed, I will by then have served for six years in the post, which seems a suitable point at which to hand over the reins.
'I joined the staff of the House in 1974, and it has been a privilege over the last 42 years to have played a part in supporting a second chamber which has become ever-more visible and influential.
‘I have been fortunate over the last 5 and a half years to have enjoyed wonderful support from members in all parts of the House and from colleagues in both Houses and in the Digital Service. I am deeply grateful to them all. They have made my time as the Clerk of the Parliaments enjoyable as well as rewarding.
‘There will be many challenges for the House and for its administration over the coming years, but I know that we are well equipped to handle them, and I have every confidence that the House will continue to play an essential and valuable role in our national life.’
History of the role
The role of Clerk of the Parliaments has a long history dating back to the late 13th century. The job title is thought to reflect the fact that in the Middle Ages there was sometimes quite a gap between one meeting of Parliament and another – clerks serving successive Parliaments provided an element of continuity. Today the responsibilities of the Clerk of the Parliaments relate to the administration and management of the House of Lords.
Image: House of Lords 2016 / Roger Harris