Last Thursday morning, I was in the House of Commons ready to speak in the debate on the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, a significant intervention by the Government to protect people across the Forest from the spiralling costs of energy bills, the full content of which I will address in a future column.
During the debate, the mood in the Commons Chamber suddenly darkened. A handwritten note was being passed along the front benches informing Members of an imminent update from Buckingham Palace about the Queen’s health. MPs from all political parties put aside our political differences to become united in collective concern about Her Majesty’s health.
The announcement we feared, confirming the death of Her Majesty, was delivered at 1830 that evening.
On Friday, I remained in Westminster to attend the Tributes in the House of Commons from MPs. There were some excellent, heartfelt and amusing tributes about Her Late Majesty’s contribution to public life – including from the former Prime Minister Theresa May as well as Labour’s Harriet Harman, the Mother of the House.
Upon returning home to the Forest of Dean, I attended the Proclamation of the accession of King Charles III to the throne. The Proclamation took place at the flagpole outside the Forest of Dean District Council offices in Coleford and was presided over by the District Council’s Chairman, Cllr Julia Gooch. It was a pleasure to join fellow members of our community – from all political parties and none – to unite at a significant time for our nation.
I was back in Parliament early on Monday morning, alongside my fellow MPs as well as members of the House of Lords, for the presentation of Addresses by both Houses of Parliament to His Majesty The King. The Speakers of the Lords and Commons expressed Parliament’s condolences to the King, who then addressed both Houses in Westminster Hall.
As the Forester goes to press, the Queen’s coffin arrives in Westminster Hall for the Lying in State of Her Late Majesty until the State Funeral on Monday.
On behalf of people across the Forest of Dean, I send our community’s condolences to the Royal Family. God Save The King.