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Howard pays tribute as Commons' only remaining architect retires

The only architect in the House of Commons bowed out this week, to praise from Conservative Party leader Michael Howard.

Sir Sydney Chapman - who was first elected in 1973 - left Parliament for the last time on Monday, telling the AJ: 'I've got mixed feelings. I'll miss the responsibility, but I realise it's about time that I stepped down'.

'All the good architects end up in the House of Lords; unsuccessful ones end up in the Commons, ' he added.

Howard paid tribute to Chapman's contribution to architecture, planning and politics. 'That he found time in his career to be vice-president and a member of the RIBA as well as a long list of professional bodies is testament to his energy and considerable ability, ' he said.

'In an age of the increasing professionalisation of politics, few MPs have contributed so much to an outside profession as well as Parliament. He brought a wealth of experience to politics and will be sadly missed in the Commons, ' Howard added.

Chapman's retirement comes in the wake of the departure of another of architecture's Westminster allies - former co-chair of parliament's architecture group, Debra Shipley.

She announced earlier this month that she would not seek re-election. Shipley, Labour MP for Stourbridge, is recovering from an operation in hospital.

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