|It is said that a week is a long time in politics, and what an extraordinarily long and very sad week it has turned out to be.|
On Monday, I joined other Members of Parliament at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster to hear the result of the leadership election. Liz Truss was proclaimed the victor, receiving a majority of the votes.
On Tuesday, as Liz Truss prepared to fly to Scotland to become our next Prime Minister, I joined Boris Johnson in Downing Street as he, and his wife Carrie, said goodbye to the nation. As he clasped my hand, I was reminded that it was only in Springtime, in April, this year that I had the honour of greeting Prime Minister Johnson when he helicoptered into Dover. We could not know that he would be gone from office before the Autumn leaves began to fall.
Later that same day, Liz Truss entered Downing Street, having flown back from meeting the Queen for the first, and in the event, the last time as her fifteenth Prime Minister.
|On Wednesday, the first Prime Minister’s Questions took place. The business of Parliament continuing, with work underway for a big announcement of help for energy bills that had been foreshadowed over the Summer.|
Thursday brought that big energy bills announcement and the rough and tumble of Parliament was back in full swing. However, as I sat in the House of Commons during that session, there was an unusual flurry of activity. Quiet murmurings around the Chamber confirmed news which was most concerning. Then business was interrupted as the Speaker rose to inform Parliament that there was grave concern for our Queen’s health. Later that day came the news we most feared. Our beloved Queen had gone.
On Friday and Saturday, Parliament met to pay tribute to our late Queen and to proclaim our new King. Following Sunday’s sombre church services, on Monday, I attended Westminster Hall to hear the very first address of King Charles III to both Houses of Parliament.
At Her Majesty’s passing, we will all have our memories and our grief. The Queen was a constant and a rock. I had the privilege of meeting her in person at Buckingham Palace, as well as being honoured with an OBE in her birthday honours list. I found her both incredibly grand and wonderfully friendly. She had such a dignity and presence, but somehow also could put you at ease. Queen Elizabeth II will forever be in our hearts.
This week as our beloved Queen lies in state in Parliament’s Westminster Hall, I will be reflecting on the Queen’s example of duty and devotion. She truly was Elizabeth the Great.
God bless her Majesty and keep her in God’s good graces. God save the King.