One rule for us....MPs skip queues to see Queen Elizabeth II Lying-In-State
As members of the public stand in line for up to 22 hours to see the Queen Lying-In-State, a rule allowing MPs and peers to skip the queue along with up to four guests has drawn criticism.
MPs have been offered four extra tickets to visit Westminster Hall, a House of Commons spokesperson confirmed.
It allows their guests to bypass the miles-long queue, which was temporarily paused on Friday due to overwhelming demand from people eager to catch a glimpse of the Queen’s coffin.
Most Parliamentary staff can also avoid the line and bring one guest.
But people who work directly for MPs and peers, such as parliamentary researchers, cannot.
They and people employed by contractors in Parliament – such as cleaners, security guards and caterers – must queue with the public to attend the lying in state.
It has led to accusations from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union that they are being treated as “second class citizens”.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “It’s symbolic that hard-working security guards, cleaners and catering staff in Parliament are treated as second class citizens.
“As we usher in a new era, it’s time for them to be treated as equals and at least given a pay rise to help them through the cost-of-living crisis and beyond.”
The rule allowing MPs to avoid the queue angered some members of the public who had spent hours waiting.
James Birchall, 33, a trainee physiotherapist who travelled to London from Liverpool to pay his respects and was waiting in Southwark Park said: “They should have to queue, especially if everyone else does.
“I mean, they are not better than anyone else, in fact, they are much worse than most people so yeah they should have to queue up, definitely.”
Former England captain David Beckham joined thousands of others in the queue hugging the banks of the Thames, waiting for more than 12 hours from 2am.