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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Queen was celebrated not just for “representing our great nation, but for making it greater still”.
Addressing Parliament to pay tribute to the Queen ahead of her Platinum Jubilee, the Prime Minister said: “Since the Palace of Westminster was founded more than 1,000 years ago, it has seen war and peace, plague and plenty, the rise and fall of empires and all kinds of revolutions: scientific, industrial, political, ecumenical, stylistic.
“And almost 50 monarchs – in trying to rank the achievements of those monarchs it must be admitted that not all of them set exemplary standards of personal behaviour and quite a few were removed violently and prematurely from office.
“But in our history, no monarch has ever served this country so long as this one with the first Platinum Jubilee ever but far more importantly, no monarch has ever served it so well.”
For me, she is already Elizabeth the Great
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Mr Johnson also revealed that his regular meetings with the Queen were always “immensely comforting, because she has seen the sweep of it”.
The Prime Minister added: “No monarch, by her efforts and dedication and achievement, better deserves the attribute of greatness. And for me, she is already Elizabeth the Great.”
Sir Keir said: “We come together to celebrate Her Majesty this year, the year of the Platinum Jubilee, not just because of all that she has done, not just because of how long she has done it for, but because of the way that she has done it and the way that she has enhanced us all.
“We celebrate her not just for representing our great nation, but for making it greater still.
“We celebrate her not just for being our Queen, but for being a Queen for all her people.”
We celebrate her not just for representing our great nation, but for making it greater still
Sir Keir Starmer
The Labour leader also shared an anecdote about his visit to Buckingham Palace to receive a knighthood, telling the Commons: “For the son of a toolmaker and a nurse growing up in a town just outside the M25, being invited to Buckingham Palace to receive a knighthood was never really in the script. It was an incredibly special moment, my parents said it was the proudest day of their lives.
“But there was a catch – my parents couldn’t bear leaving their dog at home. So in the car that drove through the gates of Buckingham Palace was my mum, my dad and our family dog. Not some small dog, but a Great Dane barking so loudly that the car almost shook from side to side.”
He added: “The image of the Queen’s corgis coming face to face with it flashed through my mind. To this day, I am grateful to the Royal Guard that my dad persuaded to watch over him during the ceremony.
“He had an audience with our family dog, so that my parents could have an audience with Prince Charles.”
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle was unavailable to attend the debate as he was travelling to the Falklands to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the war there.
In a letter read out by Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing, he wrote: “Platinum is the appropriate epithet for this jubilee. It is one of the purest of the precious metals. It is rare, durable, and enormously valued.
“For 70 years, Your Majesty has profoundly demonstrated all these qualities. On behalf of all the members of the House of Commons, may I thank you wholeheartedly for all that you have done, are doing and will do for the good of our country.”