ParliamentRoyal FamilySpeeches

Eddie Hughes – 2022 Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II

The tribute made by Eddie Hughes, the Conservative MP for Walsall North, in the House of Commons on 9 September 2022.

I rise to speak on behalf of the good people of Willenhall, Bloxwich and Walsall North, and curiously, also on behalf of the good people of Tonbridge and Malling, because their excellent MP will be unable to speak this evening, as he is sat comfortably on the Front Bench, though we are united in our thoughts. We convey our strongest condolences to His Majesty the King at this time of intense sorrow for him, his family, and the entire country.

I make no apology for the fact that I will be slightly more upbeat in the rest of my contribution. We are, after all, celebrating an incredible life well lived, as the King said this evening. Wherever she went, the Queen spread joy and happiness, and that was reflected back to her. That joy and happiness was also spread, I am delighted to say, to Walsall. In 1962, she came to visit a big local employer in Walsall, Crabtree Electrical Industries. From there, she headed to the town of Willenhall in my constituency. She must have enjoyed it, because she came back in 1977. On the silver jubilee tour, she visited Walsall and then headed to the town of Bloxwich in my constituency. She had not had enough, though; she came back again in 2000 for the opening of our iconic art gallery. My friend Simon was her close protection officer on that day, and as we toured the gallery, I was slightly distracted by the fact that he had a gun in his pocket. I am delighted to say that the visit passed off without incident, and we sent Her late Majesty safely on her way. It was lovely to have her there.

That does not end Walsall’s association with Her late Majesty. I will address an omission from a number of this evening’s contributions: we have all talked about how lovely her humorous double act with Paddington was, but nobody has referred to the fact that the handbag from which she withdrew that marmalade sandwich was made in Walsall. The affiliation that we feel in Walsall and right across the country is incredibly warm. We will all miss her. May perpetual light shine upon her, and may she rest in peace. God save the King.