Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Wednesday, 7 March 2012

MPs pay tribute to Queen's 60 years

MPs have lined up to pay tribute to the Queen to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee.

Prime Minister David Cameron led the debate on 7 March 2012 proposing "an humble address" - a formal communication from Parliament to the Queen - to celebrate 60 years of her reign.

Mr Cameron said the Queen had served the country with "unerring grace, dignity and decency", and the "nation holds her in its heart".

He told MPs she had travelled more widely than any other head of state in history, meeting some four million people in person and inviting two million guests to tea at Buckingham Palace.

He joked that there were some duties the Queen enjoyed, such as presenting medals to the country's troops, but others which "were more of a chore, like spending New Year's Eve in the Millennium Dome" - prompting laughter around the chamber.

"But she has always done her duty and this stability is essential to our national life," Mr Cameron added.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the Queen had "dedicated herself tirelessly and constantly" to the UK and Commonwealth throughout her "truly remarkable" reign.

He described her reign as "a golden thread" that linked people within and across generations.

"In these moments we are reminded that we are far more than just disparate individuals and communities but a nation with a shared sense of purpose and integrity," he added.

'I threw away her tea'

Deputy Liberal Democrat leader Simon Hughes, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, described the Queen as a "diamond".

Father of the House Sir Peter Tapsell - the longest-serving member of the Commons - said the "bedrock" of the Queen's success was her constitution, as "she has always had the most astonishing stamina".

He added, to much laughter from the government frontbench: "I once asked a courtier how she did it. To which I received the characteristic reply: 'By not eating salads, shellfish and watermelon while travelling'."

Meanwhile, former Labour minister David Blunkett, revealed he had made a series of "embarrassing" blunders in front of the Queen - including throwing away her tea.

He was leader of Sheffield council at the time, and was tasting the tea before the Queen arrived found it "absolutely disgusting".

He had it changed "only to find out it was her favourite brew that I had set aside".

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