Covid: MPs' tearoom could be renamed in honour of worker

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image copyrightJessica Taylor/UK Parliament
image captionSir Lindsay Hoyle said Julia Clifford would never be forgotten

A tea room in Parliament may be renamed after a popular member of the catering staff who died last week, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said.

Julia Clifford, 54, known to colleagues as Julie, contracted Covid-19 shortly after finishing cancer treatment.

Sir Lindsay has asked the House authorities to consider renaming the Members' Tea Room as Julia's Tea Room.

He said Ms Clifford, who joined the Commons staff in 1985, "would never, ever be forgotten".

"The tea room will never be the same, that smiling face, someone who was happy, somebody who used to speak to us, somebody who was always there, no matter how down this House was," said Sir Lindsay.

"Julie was always there for all of us."

'Very saddened'

He described Ms Clifford as "hard-working and popular", adding that she had "bravely" fought cancer.

Sir Lindsay said: "Our condolences go to her husband John and to her sons Ben and Jack and the rest of the family."

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick added: "We are all very saddened to hear of her death."

The Members' Tea Room is open to MPs, some staff and former members of the House of Lords - and is traditionally known as a hotbed of gossip and Parliamentary plots.

It was reportedly Margaret Thatcher's favourite place to eat after Prime Minister's Questions.

In 2007, the House of Commons press bar was renamed Moncrieff's after Chris Moncrieff, a Press Association journalist who covered Parliament for more than 50 years.