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Home » UK politics: MPs pay tribute to the Queen as government plans to press ahead with energy bill freeze – as it happened – The Guardian

UK politics: MPs pay tribute to the Queen as government plans to press ahead with energy bill freeze – as it happened – The Guardian

This live blog is now closed. You can read more on this week in politics here:
MPs are about to get underway as parliament meets for a bumper session today, with politicians set to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died yesterday.
The newly-appointed prime minister Liz Truss will lead proceedings. The session will run late into the night and is expected to end at 10pm.
There will be another sitting on Saturday as senior politicians take an oath of allegiance to the King from 2pm, with condolences continuing again until 10pm.
Following the sad announcement of Her late Majesty The Queen’s demise, Business in the House of Commons will now be as follows: pic.twitter.com/DtfUaKOrEL
This blog is now closed. For the latest updates on tributes to Queen Elizabeth II and the new reign of King Charles, you can read our dedicated live blog:
Here is a round-up of today’s headlines:
“We have witnessed the most heartfelt outpouring of grief,” the prime minister, Liz Truss, said as MPs sat to pay tribute to the Queen. Addressing the House of Commons, she said: “In the hours since last night’s shocking news, we have witnessed the most heartfelt outpouring of grief at the loss of Her Late Majesty the Queen. Crowds have gathered, flags have been lowered to half-mast, tributes have been sent from every continent around the world.”
The Queen did not simply “reign over us”, she lived “alongside us”, Keir Starmer has said. Paying tribute to the Queen in the Commons, the Labour leader said: “All our thoughts are with her beloved family, our Royal Family, at this moment of profound grief. This is a deep and private loss for them, yet it’s one we all share because Queen Elizabeth created a special, personal relationship with us all.”
Boris Johnson told MPs that the Queen was “as radiant and as knowledgeable and as fascinated by politics as ever” in their last meeting. He said: “That impulse to do her duty carried her right through into her 10th decade to the very moment in Balmoral, as my right honourable friend has said, only three days ago, when she saw off her 14th prime minister, and welcomed her 15th.”
The former Tory prime minister Theresa May told the Commons that the Queen was “quite simply the most remarkable person I have ever met”. During her tribute in the Commons, the Maidenhead MP also recounted her weekly audiences with the monarch during her time as prime minister. She said: “Across the nations of the world, for so many people, meeting Queen Elizabeth simply made their day and for many will be the memory of their life.”
Liz Truss will meet King Charles III for the first time since the death of the Queen on Friday afternoon. The prime minister is expected to go to Buckingham Palace for an audience with the King after his arrival in London from Scotland. After his meeting with Truss, who has been in office for only four days, Charles is expected to give a televised address to the nation.
The UK government would go ahead with plans to introduce an energy price guarantee from 1 October, prime minister Liz Truss’s spokesperson said on Friday, despite the period of national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth. The government would work with the Speaker of the House of Commons to introduce any legislation needed once the mourning period had finished, the spokesperson added.
Yesterday Liz Truss set out plans to freeze energy bills at an average of £2,500 a year for two years, as part of a package of support for homes and businesses that marks one of the biggest government interventions since the financial crisis. In her first big act as prime minister, Truss said the government would fund the scheme to reduce the unit cost of energy through increased borrowing. The initiative is forecast to involve the transfer of £150bn in taxpayer funds to energy suppliers to make up the difference between what they pay for power in the wholesale markets, and the capped consumer price.
Whitehall sources said official estimates would not come until a fiscal statement – essentially an emergency budget – from the new chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng. That was expected to come on 19 September but, following the Queen’s death, parliament is now due to be suspended for 10 days. If this is counted as sitting days only, it could leave the Commons suspended until the start of conference recess, meaning MPs would not return until 17 October, Politico reports this morning.
Strikes by postal and rail workers have been cancelled after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Royal Mail workers were due to stage the second day of a 48-hour strike on Friday in a dispute over pay and conditions. “Following the very sad news of the passing of the Queen, and out of respect for her service to the country and her family, the union has decided to call off tomorrow’s planned strike action,” said Dave Ward, the general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, which represents posties.
That’s it from me, Tom Ambrose, and indeed the UK politics live blog for today. Thanks for following along. Goodbye for now.
Theresa May had Parliament in stitches of laughter on Friday as she recalled dropping a piece of cheese in front of Queen Elizabeth during a picnic at Balmoral Castle.
The Sinn Féin vice-president, Michelle O’Neill, said the Queen had left a legacy of someone who “reached out the hand of friendship”.
Speaking after signing a book of condolence at Belfast City Hall, O’Neill said:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}It is with deep regret that we have learned of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. First and foremost my thoughts are very much with her family, with her children, with her grandchildren, with that wider family circle.
I am sure they mourn her loss very, very deeply.
I also want to specifically acknowledge the hurt and the grief of those in the unionist community here, our neighbours who will feel her loss and miss her leadership over the past 70 years.
I think there is no doubt that she leaves a legacy of someone who reached out the hand of friendship, someone who advanced peace and reconciliation, someone who sought to build relations with those of an Irish and those of a British identity.
I think that was sterling work and something she will be very much remembered for here on this island.
A Labour former minister told the Commons how the Queen was “determined that things should be done correctly”.
Hilary Benn told the Commons:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}It was at my first meeting with the privy council that I came to understand that the Queen was determined that things should be done correctly.
We were waiting outside the door and one of the footmen opened it to see what was going on. And as he closed it he turned to his colleague and said: ‘She’s moving the footstools again.’
To which he received the reply: ‘She’s the Queen. If she wants to move the footstools she can move the footstools.’
Now, hers was a life that above all else embodied constancy. We have known no other, and we feel the Queen’s passing so keenly, precisely because she was always here.
Her devotion to duty, to service and to representing our country ran like an unbroken thread through the decades and through each of our lives, like the passing of time and the changing of the seasons. She was always here.
Ed Miliband, the shadow climate change secretary and Labour former leader, recalled a funny encounter with the Queen during his tribute in the Commons.
He told MPs: “The right honourable member for Chingford [Sir Iain Duncan Smith], who is not in his place, talked about his experience when he was deposed as leader of the opposition.
“I was deposed by the British people rather than my party … but I should say to the house that, as my career nosedived, my wife’s took off, and she became a high court judge in 2019 and became a dame.
“And so, we were both invited to the palace to meet Her Majesty and Her Majesty fixed me with her gaze, as we saw each other and said, ‘Oh it’s you.’
“She said, ‘What are you doing here?’ knowing full well why I was there, and we had a wonderful conversation. And there she was at 93 still full of vim, vigour, and humour.”
On the King, Miliband said: “He has been an extraordinary warrior on the issue of the environment, long before it was fashionable. And when I was climate change secretary, I always thought of him as an extraordinary national asset on this issue, and he remains so.”
Sir Nicholas Soames, a former MP and minister, and grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, has said of his friend King Charles that he “has backbone and he’s going to need it”.
Asked if he had spoken to the King since the news of the Queen’s death, he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme: “I haven’t spoken to him, and I don’t intend to try and disturb him at this time.
“But I mean, you know, I think that the prince has backbone and he’s going to need it.
“And this is clearly a time at which all that is going to be tested. But I think there is security in (that) all this will have been rigidly planned.
“I mean, you will find that the whole thing goes like clockwork, it will all have been planned for a very long time.”
The Conservative former leader Iain Duncan Smith appeared visibly emotional as he paid tribute to the Queen in parliament.
He delivered a poem inspired by W H Auden’s Funeral Blues, telling the Commons:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the dogs from barking with a juicy bone, silence the pianos and with muffled drum bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
She was our north, our south, our east and west, our working week and our Sunday rest, our noon, our midnight, our talk, our song, we thought that love would last for ever: we were wrong.
Duncan Smith earlier recalled meeting the Queen shortly after he was given the boot as Tory leader in 2003, joking about the party’s leadership changes:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}It happens quite a lot, really, I think she was pretty used to it.
Home secretary Suella Braverman said the Queen’s “devotion was total and offers an enduring example of the importance of commitment and duty”.
She said:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}I share the profound sadness expressed by the Prime Minister, and felt across the Commonwealth and throughout the whole world, at the death of Her Majesty the Queen.
She is one of the greatest figures in global history. Her devotion was total and offers an enduring example of the importance of commitment and duty.
Stories of her wisdom and kindness abound. My thoughts are with the whole of the Royal Family.
I know that many people will want to show their love and gratitude over the coming days by attending the many events held to celebrate her life.
Liz Truss will meet King Charles III for the first time since the death of the Queen on Friday afternoon.
The prime minister is expected to go to Buckingham Palace for an audience with the King after his arrival in London from Scotland.
After his meeting with Truss, who has been in office for only four days, Charles is expected to give a televised address to the nation.
Truss is unlikely to make a speech on Friday but will give a reading at a service to commemorate the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral, due to take place at 6pm on Friday.
Much government business has been suspended, but Truss started the day with a cabinet meeting where ministers paid tribute to the Queen and spoke of their recollections of meeting her, before observing a moment of silence.
The relationship between the Queen and parliament was never “just on paper”, the Labour former cabinet minister Harriet Harman has said.
Paying tribute to the Queen in the Commons, the mother of the house told MPs:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}After Labour won the election in 1997, I went up to the palace where, like other new secretaries of state, she appointed me to the privy council and bestowed on me the seals of office.
They are actual seals which are given to you, and you take back to your department to be locked in a safe, but when just a year later I was sacked … and the seals taken out of the safe and taken back to Buckingham Palace, my diary was empty, and my phone stopped ringing. My office was astonished to get a call from Buckingham Palace. No one else wanted to have anything to do with me, but the Queen wanted to see me.
I was invited to take tea with the Queen for her to thank me for my service as secretary of state.
She added:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}My point is that the relationship between our Queen and parliament and our Queen and government was never just on paper, but was always active and always encouraging.
The former Tory prime minister Theresa May told the Commons that the Queen was “quite simply the most remarkable person I have ever met”.
During her tribute in the Commons, the Maidenhead MP also recounted her weekly audiences with the monarch during her time as prime minister.
She said:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Across the nations of the world, for so many people, meeting Queen Elizabeth simply made their day and for many will be the memory of their life.
Of course, for those of us who had the honour to serve as one of her prime ministers, those meetings were more frequent with the weekly audiences.
These were not meetings with a high and mighty monarch, but a conversation with a woman of experience and knowledge and immense wisdom. They were also the one meeting I went to, which I knew it would not be briefed out to the media.
The comment was met with laughter by MPs, before May added:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}What made those audiences so special was the understanding the Queen had of issues which came from the work she put into her red boxes, combined with her years of experience.
Boris Johnson also told MPs that the Queen was “as radiant and as knowledgeable and as fascinated by politics as ever” in their last meeting.
He said:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}That impulse to do her duty carried her right through into her 10th decade to the very moment in Balmoral, as my right honourable friend has said, only three days ago, when she saw off her 14th prime minister, and welcomed her 15th.
I can tell you, in that audience, she was as radiant and as knowledgeable and as fascinated by politics as ever I can remember and as wise in her advice as anyone I know, if not wiser.
Johnson praised the Queen’s “humility” and “refusal to be grand”, and sparked laughter from the Commons when he said:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Unlike us politicians, with our outriders and our armour-plated convoys, I can tell you as a direct eye witness that she drove herself in her own car with no detectives and no bodyguard, bouncing at alarming speed over the Scottish landscape to the total amazement of the ramblers and the tourists we encountered.
Praising the “indomitable spirit with which she created the modern constitutional monarchy”, he concluded:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The fact that today we can say with such confidence – God Save the King – is a tribute to him, but above all to Elizabeth the Great, who worked so hard for the good of her country, not just now but for generations to come.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson told the Commons he “choked up” when he was asked to record a tribute to the Queen by the BBC.
He said:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}A few months ago the BBC came to see me to talk about Her Majesty the Queen, and we sat down, the cameras started rolling, and they requested that I should talk about her in the past tense.
I am afraid I simply choked up and I couldn’t go on. I am really not easily moved to tears, but I was so overcome with sadness that I had to ask them to go away.
I know that today there are countless people in this country and around the world who have experienced the same sudden unexpected emotion.
The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, paid tribute to the Queen as “one of the true constants in all our lives”.
He said:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The grief and mourning which reverberates around this chamber and across the world, will be all the more acute for the King and members of the royal family.
Only they can understand the deep personal loss of a close family member, and people across society who have similarly lost loved ones, will understand the pain that they must feel, as we ensure our heartfelt condolences are with them today.
Over the coming days people up and down these islands will seek to come to terms, in their own private way, with the loss of one of the true constants in all our lives.
In that regard my thoughts are also with… [the] prime minister, just days into office and having to come to terms with the enormity of the loss of the head of state and show the leadership that is now required in her position.
We can also help but dwell on the late Queen who right to the end fulfilled her duty by appointing the new prime minister.
Sir Keir Starmer told the Commons “our Queen played a crucial role as the thread between the history we cherish and the present we own”.
He said:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}As we move forward, as we forge a new path, as we build towards a better future – she will always be with us. For all she gave us, and for all she will continue to give us, we say thank you.
Looking ahead to King Charles III, he added:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}We join together today, not just to say goodbye to our Queen or to share in our mourning, but to say something else important: God Save The King.
Because as one era ends, so another begins. King Charles III has been a devoted servant of this country his entire life, he has been a powerful voice for fairness, and understood the importance of the environment long before many others.
As he ascends to his new role with the Queen Consort by his side, the whole House, indeed, the whole country, will join today to wish him a long, happy and successful reign.
The Queen did not simply “reign over us”, she lived “alongside us”, Keir Starmer has said.
Paying tribute to the Queen in the Commons, the Labour leader said:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}All our thoughts are with her beloved family, our Royal Family, at this moment of profound grief.
This is a deep and private loss for them, yet it’s one we all share because Queen Elizabeth created a special, personal relationship with us all.
That relationship was built on the attributes that defined her reign: her total commitment to service and duty, a deep devotion to the country, the Commonwealth, and the people she loved. In return for that, we loved her.
Starmer added:
.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}And it is because of that great shared love that we grieve today. For the 70 glorious years of her reign, our Queen was at the heart of this nation’s life.
She did not simply reign over us, she lived alongside us, she shared in our hopes and our fears, our joy, and our pain. Our good times and our bad.

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