• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Wantage MP David Johnston pays tribute to the Queen


Sep 17, 2022

On Monday, the country will come together to issue a final goodbye to the Queen as her funeral takes place at Westminster Abbey.

With the death of the monarch, the country has been ushered into a new era under Charles III.

To mark this momentous part of our history, the Oxford Mail asked each of our county’s MPs to write an opinion piece on the events of recent weeks.

All of these opinion pieces can be read on our website and in the print edition of the Oxford Mail.

Oxford Mail: David JohnstonDavid Johnston

By David Johnston, MP for Wantage

I was in the House of Commons chamber for the Government’s energy announcement Thursday when Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, came in and passed a note to the Prime Minister, then to the opposition front bench, before he conferred with the Speaker of the House.

It was not at all clear what this was about, until the Speaker made a highly unusual statement about Her Majesty the Queen’s health, something that does not ever happen. A gloom immediately descended on Parliament. We feared the worst and it was difficult to focus. As the statement said that she was being kept comfortable, we hoped she might be ok.

When the announcement was made that Her Majesty had passed away, I cried in the way I do when told someone I am close to has passed away, even though she was not someone I had ever met. It felt like we had lost our anchor, the person who has seemingly always been there to help get us through whatever troubles the country has been facing, most recently Covid.

Parliament does not usually sit on Fridays or Saturdays, but it did so both days in order that MPs could give their tributes. We were asked to limit our speeches to 3 minutes so that as many people as possible could get in. In total across the 2 days, 321 MPs gave their tributes to Her Majesty, including myself, shortly before 10pm on the Friday (you can watch it at www.david-johnston.org.uk). Before that, we received the live broadcast to the nation from our new King in the House of Commons, a perfectly pitched, moving address.

The MP speeches were emotional, funny and heartfelt. Over and over the same themes emerged: that even when you hadn’t met her you felt like you knew her; that she had given an incredible service to our nation; that she was sharp, passionate, selfless and mischievous, with twinkling eyes.

On the Sunday I was back for the Proclamation of Accession of His Majesty King Charles III in Market Place, Wantage, after which I signed a couple of the books of condolence which are at church and civic buildings across the constituency. On Monday I returned to Parliament for the new King to receive a presentation of addresses from the House of Lords and House of Commons in Westminster Hall, and on Thursday I will return there to visit Her Majesty lying-in-state.

It is a momentous time for our nation and for the Royal Family. Our new King assumes his responsibilities at a time of great sadness for him and his family. I’ve no doubt he will be an excellent King. He has shown in his time as Prince of Wales the care and concern he has for this country and has had decades to learn from Her Majesty (who became Queen at just 25) the best way to conduct the role.

May Queen Elizabeth II Rest In Peace and God Save the King.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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