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Howard pays tribute as Commons' only remaining architect retires

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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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