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“My Lords, on 4th October 2001, less than a month after 9/11 and a few days before the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom, we debated in this House what should be done.
Her Majesty, the Queen, and the Duke of Edinburgh have been a rock of stability and continuity through the whole of my life, and I confess to feeling emotionally affected by his death, wondering what the generational change it signifies may mean for the future of our country.
I have served in the House of Lords for 25 years and in recent weeks I have been encouraged by colleagues from all parts of the House of Lords to stand for election as Lord Speaker, at least in part because of my experience as the first Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Some years ago, as fathers often do, I gave a piece of advice to my three children. In fact it was more of a plea than a piece of advice. I told them to stay close to each other because bad times were coming when the only people they could really depend upon would be family and very close friends.