‘Brilliant idea’: MPs call for annual ‘Queen Elizabeth Day’ holiday | royal | New
The Queen’s grandchildren watch over her coffin
MPs from all parties want the government to name a day when the country will come together each year to celebrate his rule. Calls will also be made in Parliament this week for a statue of the Queen to be erected on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square as a permanent memorial to her 70 years as monarch.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith leads the charge into Westminster for the annual Queen’s Honor Day. An online petition in favor of a new “Elizabeth Day” has already been supported by more than 138,000 people.
Sir Iain has pressed Downing St to support what he describes as a ‘brilliant idea’ and will rally support from all parties when MPs return to Parliament this week after the Queen’s funeral.
He said: “We would like all countries in the UK to celebrate on the same day. I hope it would be a joyous celebration, as she would like, of all the things she has represented in her life – her love of her country, her ability to bring people together, her decency, her kindness and her sense of fun.
“All of these things could be commemorated on any day of the year.”
MPs call for annual bank holiday for ‘Queen Elizabeth Day’
Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow lent his support, saying: “This is a chance to mark our history and help define our future. We haven’t always been good as a country at celebrating what unites us. Now is the time to change that and create a day that will represent the principles of unity and service that Her Majesty personified.
An Elizabeth Day could be used to teach new generations about the achievements of her reign, and also to hold the kind of street parties that brought communities together during Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Support for the day also came from Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the Commons Defense Committee, who successfully campaigned for the tower that houses Big Ben to be named the Elizabeth Tower to mark its Diamond Jubilee.
He said: “This day would be a permanent reminder of our gratitude for an incredible reign and a lifetime of dedicated service.”
The initiative also gained cross-party support. Labor MP Khalid Mahmood said: “We must continue to pay tribute to the Queen, our longest reigning monarch, and ensure that her selflessness and commitment to service remain an inspiration.
“An annual day of love and celebration is the least she deserves and I would fully support her.”
King Charles addresses parliament at Westminster Hall
Rother Valley curator Alexander Stafford said a dedicated day would be a time “we can all use to reflect on his incredible reign”.
There are calls for a new holiday, but there is also support for naming an existing one in his honor. Brendan Cox, the husband of slain Labor MP Jo Cox, is at the forefront of a campaign for a new ‘Thank Holiday’.
Mr Cox, who co-founded the Together Coalition which works to build a ‘softer society’, said: ‘The Queen has brought our country together throughout her life. There can be no more fitting tribute than creating a day in his honor that continues his legacy of connecting us all and reminding us of what we have in common.
Earlier this year, UK Hospitality and the Confederation of British Industry backed a campaign to make the Queen’s unique Platinum Jubilee holiday permanent. Mr Cox wants a new public holiday in place from next year.
The campaign for a national day in her memory comes as support also builds for a statue of the Queen to be erected on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.
It is understood that government ministers and royal officials will soon hold talks on how to “permanently mark” his life.
Temporary works of art have regularly appeared on the plinth, but it is increasingly expected that it will be the permanent location of a statue of the Queen.
Former security minister Sir John Hayes will this week urge the government to provide seed funding for a statue which would be paid for by public subscription. He suggested people could pay as little as £1 each to fund a sculpture.
He said: “It would provide those who are grieving with a place to go to remember and remember Her Majesty with affection. There is no place more appropriate than Trafalgar Square.
Sir John, who is also backing the campaign for a dedicated national day, would like the statue to depict the Queen on horseback.
He said: “It will be a fitting memorial. Given the character of the memorials in the square, perhaps a mounted statue would be preferable – perhaps with her on her favorite horse, Burmese, which she has ridden several times in Trooping the Colour.
Former Cabinet Minister Andrew Mitchell, MP for Royal Sutton Coldfield and Privy Councillor, said: ‘There could be no more fitting memorial than a statue in Trafalgar Square to always remind us of his lifelong service to us and our love and respect for her. ”
Solihull curator Julian Knight said: ‘By any measure Queen Elizabeth II was one of our finest monarchs and placing a tasteful statue on the vacant plinth seems the least we can do to acknowledge Her Majesty’s service.
‘I urge the government to consider the Sunday Express and my constituents, and order it as soon as possible.’
Conservative MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricator said: ‘I would certainly support a statue either in Trafalgar Square or somewhere even more prominent.
“Perhaps something as significant as the Queen Victoria statue and monument, which stands in front of Buckingham Palace.”