MPs thank Rose Hudson-Wilkin for years of service as Speaker's chaplain

Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby

MPs have thanked Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin for her kindness and care as the Speaker's chaplain as she takes up a new role as the Bishop of Dover.

She was the Speaker's chaplain for nine years, during which time she was responsible for the pastoral care of MPs and leading the daily prayers in the House of Commons. 

Jim Shannon, DUP MP for Strangford, told MPs during a session in the Commons last Thursday that Rev Hudson-Wilkin had been a "calming influence" during the tensions over Brexit. 

"Parliament has seen frustration and tempers rising to unheard levels in this place, with repeated calls for calmness and compassion. Rev Rose has had a gentle spirit and calming influence, and has been a true ambassador for the Lord Jesus," he said. 

"We are exhorted by the word of God to speak the truth but to do so in love, and she does so all the time. That has been missing all too often in this Chamber, but never, ever in the actions of Reverend Rose."

Bob Neill, MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, paid a moving tribute as he recalled the personal role she had played in his family, having married him and his wife Anne-Louise 18 months ago. 

"She did that with great charm, great style and joyfulness, and great Christianity," he said. 

"She showed great care and sensitivity to us in preparing us for that wedding, and also to our families, and, in particular, Anne-Louise's two children, who had lost their own father tragically.

"The care that she showed has always stuck with us. Since then, particularly in the past few months, when Anne-Louise, sadly, has been unwell, Rose's continuing support and prayers, and the kindness that she has shown to our family, mean more to us than words that I can say in this Chamber could ever adequately convey."

He added: "For those of us who do have a Christian faith, she could not be a better pastor and shepherd."

Steve Pound, MP for Ealing North, thanked Rev Hudson-Wilkin for the care she had shown after the death of his mother. 

"When my mother died, Rose was an extraordinary source of comfort to me," he said. 

He thanked her for her "remarkable" kindness, generosity and warmth, but said he also wanted to remark on her "formidable intellect". 

"She is a great Bible scholar and a great student of theology," he said.

"From the discussions we had, perhaps from slightly different theological perspectives, I learned such a number of things from Rose.

"She is one of those people who believes that intelligence is like a fire to be lit and a brain is like a bucket to be filled."

Rev Hudson-Wilkin succeeds Trevor Willmott as Bishop of Dover following his retirement in May. 

Taking her place as Speaker's chaplain is the Rev Canon Tricia Hillas, who is due to assume the post early next year.