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MPs pay tribute to departing Speaker's chaplain Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin

by Cara Bentley

Rev Hudson-Wilkin has been in the role for nine years, conducting daily prayers in the House of Commons and having a pastoral duty to MPs.

In the House of Commons on Thursday, MPs Dominic Grieve and Martin Vickers thanked her for visiting their parishes while Bob Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) thanked the chaplain for her personal care of his family, saying: "Rose married Anne-Louise, my wife, and I about 18 months ago. She did that with great charm, great style and joyfulness, and great Christianity.

"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."

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

Jim Shannon, the DUP MP for Strangford, told the House: "Parliament has seen frustration and tempers rising to unheard levels in this place, with repeated calls for calmness and compassion. Reverend Rose has had a gentle spirit and calming influence, and has been a true ambassador for the Lord Jesus.

"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."

Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire
Rose Hudson-Wilkin and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speak to an audience of school pupils at St George's School in Broadstairs, Kent, after she was announced as the new Bishop of Dover.

Julilan Lewis MP said that although he did not have a faith he had valued her support, saying: "It must have been very daunting for her to descend into this pit of monstrous egos, but she carried it off tremendously. She has never talked down to us or scolded us. She has gently guided us."

Ealing North's Steve Pound MP, who is also leaving, said: "When my mother died, Rose was an extraordinary source of comfort to me," and praised how Rev Hudson-Wilkin and Canon Pat Browne had organised three services on the day PC Keith Palmer died just outside parliament.

Mr Pound added: "I find Rose's kindness, generosity, warmth and love remarkable - they are characteristics from which I draw strength - but let us not forget her intellect. She has a formidable intellect: she is a great Bible scholar and a great student of theology. 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."

The next Speaker's chaplain will be Rev Canon Tricia Hillas, who is expected to take up the post early next year.

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