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Robin Walker and Mark Pawsey pay tribute to the fathers in whose parliamentary footsteps they are following

Two MPs who were elected at the general election for the same seats that their fathers once represented made their maiden speeches yesterday.

Robin Walker Commons First there was Robin Walker, son of Lord Walker of Worcester:

"There was, of course, another Member for Worcester with whom I am very familiar, but as my hon. Friend spoke so eloquently on his behalf in his maiden speech, I shall say only that, as many thousands of constituents have reminded me on their doorsteps, he is a hard act to follow. I owe that Member, my father, my lifelong knowledge of, and deep love for, my constituency and its history, not to mention my support for the once and future premiership rugby team, the Worcester Warriors, and my support—shared with the Governor of the Bank of England—for the cricket team, which has the most beautiful ground in the country."

He then put his political credo in an historic context:

"At the end of the battle of Worcester, the parson of the parliamentary army addressed the troops and said to them:

“Say you have been at Worcester, where England’s sorrows began, and where happily they are ended.”

"I hope that, given the alleged role of Worcester woman in bringing Labour to power over the past 13 years, the same might be said again today.

"The civil war was one of the historic events that gave us the evolved constitution that we have today. Respect for that constitution is one of the things that inspires me in politics, and, despite much tinkering over the past 13 years, there is still much to be defended: the unique position of the Crown; the privileges and stature of this mother of Parliaments in holding the Government to account; the powerful ties that bind Members to their constituencies; and a system of election that is simple, effective and allows for the removal of failed Governments. All those are worth fighting for with the same passion that our ancestors fought on the battlefields of Worcester."

He concluded by recalling the words of his father's maiden speech from 1961:

"The last Walker to speak for Worcester began his maiden speech by saying,

“I hope that if, in the course of my remarks…I make what are considered to be constructive criticisms of the Government’s economic policy, this will not be considered indicative of a person representing a constituency noted throughout the world for its production of sauce.”—[Official Report, 20 April 1961; Vol. 638, c. 1433.]

"I shall be equally ready to make constructive criticisms and to place my constituency at the forefront of my parliamentary career. In the interests of Worcester, I commend the Gracious Speech."

Mark Pawsey Commons The came Mark Pawsey. son of former Rugby MP, James Pawsey:

"Previous Members include Andy King and, before that, someone well known to me, since that person is my father—James Pawsey, who was first elected for Rugby in 1979. I know that it is not unusual for a son or a daughter to follow their father here, and there are many examples in the current intake. I join my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr Walker), who spoke just before me, as a son following a father into the same seat. My father still has an excellent reputation in Rugby as a hard-working constituency MP. Throughout the time that I was seeking to be elected, many potential constituents spoke to me about how much he has done for the people of Rugby. I have heard many similar tributes from people here since I arrived—colleagues and staff who remember his contributions, particularly in the field of education. Like my hon. Friend, I feel that I have a very tough act to follow."

He went on to voice his belief in the need to back business:

"I have spent 25 years starting, running, managing and building up a business, and I have a good understanding of the challenges that businesses face. We need to recognise more effectively those who create wealth and jobs. Small business is ready to make its contribution, but it needs a work force with the skills and the attitude to roll up their sleeves and play their part. Too often, regrettably, there is insufficient incentive for jobseekers to do that, and I welcome the changes in our welfare system that will put incentives to work firmly back in place. I make no apology for putting the case for manufacturing and for business, particularly small business, and I look forward to doing so in the House over the coming years, in addition to representing all the electors of Rugby, with whom I believe I have a special bond."

Jonathan Isaby


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