Yesterday, Her Majesty the Queen became Britain’s longest reigning Monarch as she marked an incredible 63 years and 216 days on the throne, writes North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson.
It was on her 21st birthday that she declared in a radio broadcast from Cape Town that her whole life would be dedicated to public service. As the Prime Minister remarked yesterday, it is one thing for a 21 year old to make such a heartfelt promise, but it is another thing to live by them for more than 6 decades.
By the time I was born, the Queen had already reigned for 24 years. In her time, she has worked with 12 Prime Ministers, 6 Archbishops of Canterbury and 9 Cabinet Secretaries. Impressively, she beats any politician by having answered over 3.5 million pieces of correspondence!
Indeed most MPs should take heed from her exemplary dedication to public service and how, through grace and dignity, she has endeavoured to represent our country and all of the people that belong to it. She is the perfect role model for public servants and not to mention that her opinion ratings continue to be exceptionally high – certainly at a level that politicians could only ever dream of!
The changes that Her Majesty has witnessed over her long reign have been incredible. Britain, once an empire, has become a commonwealth; and the number of challenges it has faced (both domestic and global) have been considerable. But the Queen has been a consistent figure of stability and decency throughout them all, and for many, she epitomises everything that this country stands for and the values which we hold dear.
Of course we are facing one of these considerable challenges at the moment. The ongoing conflict in Syria has driven more than 11 million people from their homes as they flee barbaric acts of war inflicted by both ISIL and Assad. We have already used a considerable amount of our aid budget to help those in need. So far, our £1 billion aid programme has delivered 1.8 million food parcels, as well as provided access to clean water for 1.6 million people and medical consultations for 2.4 million people. Furthermore, the Prime Minister announced earlier this week that Britain will settle up to 20,000 more refugees over the next Parliament.
We are also fighting the cause at the source as we continue to tackle the gangs who are exploiting those in need and causing deaths by squeezing people onto ships. We will also continue to fight the barbaric terrorists of so-called Islamic State and explore ways in which the UK can help bring the Syrian conflict to an end. As a nation, we have a moral duty to help those who are fleeing terror and seeking survival.