Arising out of a chance conversation in the autumn between the master and the minister for pensions, Steve Webb agreed to host a reception for members of the livery and their guests at the House of Commons.
With the helpful assistance of Webb's researcher, arrangements were swiftly made for a reception in one of the members' dining rooms, with the option of a tour of the Houses of Parliament.
A capacity crowd succeeded in passing through the airport-style security checks in place for visiting the Palace of Westminster and gathered in the members' dining room for tasty canapés and liquid refreshment. After a brief welcome from the minister, the keenest half of our number departed on the first of the two 45-minute tours.
We had expected to be able to see only the public areas of the palace, but the business of both the Commons and the Lords finished early enough to see the two debating chambers as well. The tour guide was very knowledgeable, the sights and surroundings were indeed splendid and it was fascinating to learn some of the less well-known facts regarding the recent and past history of Parliament.