Calls for statue of Queen on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth get MPs’ approval

·2-min read
Sir John Hayes giving his tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Commons. Picture date: Friday September 9, 2022 (UK Parliament/Andy Bailey/PA) (PA Media)
Sir John Hayes giving his tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Commons. Picture date: Friday September 9, 2022 (UK Parliament/Andy Bailey/PA) (PA Media)

Calls for a statue of the Queen on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth have been met with cries of support in the House of Commons.

Shouts of “hear, hear” were heard from some MPs in the chamber after Conservative former minister Sir John Hayes floated the idea to commemorate Elizabeth II, following her death on September 8, aged 96.

The other three plinths at Trafalgar Square house permanent artworks - including a bronze statue of King George IV. Built in 1841, the Fourth Plinth has instead played host to a number of contemporary sculptures over the years.

Sir John told the Commons: “Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II we have witnessed an extraordinary nationwide, indeed kingdom-wide, response – a moving mix of sorrow at our loss and celebration of a life of remarkable service.

Artwork The End by Heather Phillipson, pictured on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth in July 2020 (PA)
Artwork The End by Heather Phillipson, pictured on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth in July 2020 (PA)

“So that that mood is marked forever and remembrance can last for generations to come, a fitting national memorial needs to be established.

“Will the Leader of the House therefore agree with me that a statement be brought to this House on what form that memorial might take?

“For me, a statue on the final plinth on Trafalgar Square would be ideal.”

Heather Phillipson’s The End monument – featuring a whirl of whipped cream topped with a cherry, a drone and a fly – is among a number of artworks that have previously been housed on the Fourth Plinth at the London landmark.

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt replied on Thursday: “I thank (Sir John) for his suggestion.

“Clearly these will be matters that will concern many members and will involve other bodies outside of this House, but I shall certainly raise this with the Secretary of State for DCMS (Michelle Donelan) and ensure she properly consults members on their wishes as plans are taken forward.”

Conservative former minister Tobias Ellwood later suggested renaming a bank holiday in the Queen’s honour.

He told the Commons: “I do believe a worthy way to immortalise Queen Elizabeth, what she did for our country, the longest-serving monarch, would be to rename one of our bank holidays the ‘Elizabeth Day’.”