By Jonathan Isaby
Jonathan Lord, who stepped into Humfrey Malins' shoes as MP for Woking, began by explaining that he had hoped to emulate Margaret Thatcher by delivering his maiden speech last Friday during the Second Reading of his own Private Member's Bill (but it was not reached on the Order Paper).
He then paid tribute to his predecessor before going on to talk about his constituency, as is customary:
"My constituency of Woking has an ancient past but a passion to succeed in the present. Although it boasts the ruins of Woking Palace, which was one of Henry VIII’s favourite hunting lodges, it came into being as a modern town by Act of Parliament. In the 1840s, London’s churchyards were running out of burial space, so the Metropolitan Interments Act 1850 forbade any further burials in London and encouraged the building of cemeteries outside the city. A further Act of Parliament in 1852 set up the London Necropolis Company, which went on to purchase 2,000 acres of land at Brookwood in Woking.
"Brookwood cemetery remains a beautiful and tranquil place, a place of truly national significance and importance. I believe that it is worthy of more support both locally and nationally. One of those interred there was Dr Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner, an oriental scholar who was reputedly fluent in 50 languages. In 1889, he founded the Woking Shah Jahan mosque, which was the first purpose-built mosque in western Europe. For many years, it was the focus of the development of Islam in this country. I celebrate the fact that Woking has its first Asian mayor, Councillor Mohammed Iqbal. I pledged with him to serve the residents of our borough, and in particular our British Muslim population. It is worth noting that Dr Leitner, the founder of the first mosque in England, was Jewish. That is an interesting and wonderful thing that we should bear in mind as we seek peace and reconciliation in the world.
"H. G. Wells was another famous citizen of Woking. On one of my first home surgery visits, I visited a modest, semi-detached villa in the heart of Woking, only to be told that it was the very house where H. G. Wells had penned “The War of the Worlds”, which envisaged Martians landing on beautiful Horsell common and laying waste to the whole of Woking and, indeed, vast swathes of southern England. We now celebrate H. G. Wells’s imagination with a large, modern, Martian tripod sculpture in the centre of our town.
"While we are proud of our Victorian, literary and cultural heritage, we also look forward to the future. Woking borough council is innovative and has an acknowledged national reputation for leading on green issues and renewable energy. Our businesses strive to succeed—none more so than McLaren, which, building on its success in Formula 1, is now an even larger enterprise that is going to build a sports car for the road. I would very much like to own one of McLaren’s new sports cars, but unfortunately my parliamentary salary and my wife forbid it.
"Woking has a vast panoply of charitable organisations, all of which are willing to make the big society a success. It is a great honour to represent Woking in Parliament, and I hope to do so for many years to come—"
Alas, with a six-minute limit on backbench speeches in place during the Second Reading of the Postal Services Bill, he was at that point cut off in his prime by the Deputy Speaker before he was able to make any remarks about the Bill.
So there you have it – all 147 new Tory MPs have now delivered their maiden speech. Click here to read our reports of them all.