Fury as MPs and four guests allowed to jump the queue to see the Queen

15 September 2022, 06:52

People queue to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it lies on the catafalque in Westminster Hall
People queue to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it lies on the catafalque in Westminster Hall. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Members of the public and Parliament workers have been left furious after it emerged MPs and their families and friends are being allowed to jump the queue to see the Queen lie in state.

Every MP is being issued with four guys passes to skip the 30-hour queue to see the Queen in Westminster Hall after a ruling by the Black Rod, who is responsible for controlling access to and maintaining order within the House and its precincts.

Commons officials are being allowed to queue jump as well and bring one guest.

However cleaners, security staff, workmen and caterers involved in setting up the massive operation will have to queue with the public.

Read more: Thousands wait all night to pay respects but queue may have to close early

Read more: Guard faints and falls off podium while holding vigil beside Queen’s coffin

Queues stretch back through London to see the Queen lying in state

One Tory peer told The Times: “There is so much anger. It just shows the worst side of this place and is completely unfair and unjustified.”

It sparked an angry backlash from the public who have been waiting nine hours to pay their respects.

One person said: “Just a thought, as MPs from the House of Commons are not sitting and we vote for them to be in ht house, why don’t they join the queue for the Queen lying in state with the rest of the population.”

Another said: “Wouldn’t it be nice if MPs + peers wishing to view HM’s coffin in Westminster Hall to pay respects joined the queue like ordinary folk?”

A third commented: “ Fast track queue so they don’t have to wait with the plebs. Absolutely disgusting and hope it gets stopped ASAP.”

Ahead of the lying in state opening, a row broke out over priority access.

While MPs get priority access, a further row erupted as parliamentary staffers will be able to jump the queue but pass-holders, for example parliamentary researchers, cannot.

A message posted in a Tory staffers’ chat group was flooded with plans on how to skip the queue, according to the Spectator, with some organising a letter urging for similar priority access to MPs.

One person said: “We are a group of conservative parliamentary staffers writing to ask the eligibility to attend the Lying-in-State for the late Her Majesty the Queen to be extended to all pass holders.

"The passing of the late Queen has grieved many hearts across the country and the world. And as servants in Her Majesty's Parliament, we were saddened to hear that the opportunity to pay our final respects to our late Sovereign has been limited to only particular groups of pass holders.

"While we appreciate the immense complexity of the logistics and planning involved in the ensuing days, we would be grateful if the chance to pay to pay final respects to Her Majesty could be extended to pass holders who are in the service of Members of Parliament so the grieving hearts amongst staffers could be consoled.”

Another Tory staffer said: “If they don't end up letting us attend, then we will need to queue with the general public which has the potential of affecting the operations of MPs' offices because we will all be queuing.”

People in the queue itself expressed their anger.

Julie Newman, 56, told the MailOnline: “It is an abuse of privilege. I don’t mind queuing, because everybody queues. But there is no excuse for queue-jumping, it’s not fair.”

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