My Lord Mayor Elect, I am commanded by Her Majesty The Queen to convey Her Majesty’s express approval of the choice of the citizens of London in electing you to be Lord Mayor for the coming year.
I am delighted to welcome you, your family and other distinguished guests to formally convey this message.
I’d like to thank the Recorder of London for his address and his outstanding contribution to our justice system. It is equally an honour for me to be the last Lord Chancellor to whom you will present a Lord Mayor before you take up your appointment as a High Court Judge. A much-deserved appointment in an already distinguished judicial career.
And I’d also like to take this opportunity to recognise the outgoing Lord Mayor who has helped to shape the City of tomorrow today. Thank you to him for his commitment and dedication to the City of London.
Lord Mayor Elect, with over 30 years in finance, you bring with you a wealth of expertise and experience, from both here in London but also in New York and Hong Kong. You have had a distinguished career in finance, but also in supporting culture and community causes.
I welcome the theme of your year in office – ‘Global UK: trade, innovation, culture’. These are not separate goals, they are intertwined. They are the City’s – London’s and indeed this country’s biggest strengths. It’s this combination that make London an attractive place to not just ‘do business’, but to live and work.
I know you believe passionately in the role this country has on the world stage and the potential that exists to grow and deepen the stature and status of this.
Whilst I won’t go into details of trade today – I will say that I share your commitment to it, and look forward to working closely with you in my role as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice to progress our many mutual shared goals.
I, like you, believe we are at our best when we are international and we should consolidate our position as a leader in Fintech and LawTech and lead the way on other areas of innovation like cybersecurity and green finance.
Innovation and trade are just one part of the overall package. Another is culture.
As an Alderman, your ward included the London Stock Exchange – that great and historic trading place. But as well as creating the mechanisms and environment for trade and commerce, London, with the City at its heart, has created a space for the exchange of culture as well as capital that has helped to make it the greatest city on Earth.
When you ask someone to think of the City, they don’t always think about the arts. But the fact is, it is home to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Barbican, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London. It is also the fourth largest funder of arts in the UK.
I know you personally have a passion for theatre and culture – and that acting is something very much in the family (his half-brother is Damian Lewis).
I sadly can’t lay claim to such illustrious connections but, being Welsh, I am proud of my home nation’s reliable production and pedigree of actors and performers.
I am also known, on occasion, to a performance or two myself. In my current role, that is often performing in State ceremonies in front of The Queen. A nerve-wracking and humbling experience. A more cathartic performance, at least for me, is a rendition of ‘Danny Boy’ to my constituents. I literally want to be music to their ears.
My Lord Mayor Elect, I know that by working together, and through your passion and determination in promoting trade, innovation and culture, over the course of your year in office you will further cement the City’s standing and position on the world stage. In turn, it will showcase what this country is about – attracting the brightest and the best to a vibrant, exciting and creative place to live and work.