Keir Starmer’s eyes water as he fights back emotions at Queen’s lying-in-state | Politics | News
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer looked emotional at the lying-in-state of Queen Elizabeth II this afternoon. The Holborn and St Pancras MP, who once advocated abolishing the monarchy, appeared to take a huge gulp as he attempted to contain his feelings inside Westminster Hall.
He stood beside Prime Minister Liz Truss as the two senior politicians soberly oversaw a royal procession.
They received the coffin of the Queen in the oldest part of Parliament after she was carried by a gun carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from Buckingham Palace.
Tens of thousands of people had lined the streets of the capital in order to pay their respects on the journey across the heart of central London.
Ms Truss and Sir Keir were among a number of members of the Privy Council of advisors to the monarch to attend the procession.
While the Prime Minister cut a solemn figure, her Labour counterpart appeared overwhelmed with the emotion of the occasion.
His eyes seemed to water as he watched on.
“Today I’ll be there as part of the reception committee to receive the coffin,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“Then later on this evening in a private capacity, because my wife and our children, they want to come in, and as a family, we will then pay our own personal respects to a remarkable sovereign.”
Paying tribute to Her Majesty last week shortly after her death, Sir Keir hailed Queen Elizabeth II as Britain’s “greatest monarch” whose loss “robs this country of its stillest point, its greatest comfort, at precisely the time we need those things most”.
He added: “She did not simply reign over us, she lived alongside us.”
Last year, a video clip from 2005 surfaced in which the Labour leader spoke about wanting to abolish the monarchy in his youth.
Now a supporter of the Royal Family, this morning he urged those who advocated a republic not to protest during the funeral procession.
He said: “The word I’d use around that issue is ‘respect’.
“I think if people have spent a long time waiting to come forward to have that moment as the coffin goes past, or whatever it may be, I think: respect that, because people have made a huge effort to come and have that private moment to say thank you to Queen Elizabeth II.
“Obviously we have to respect the fact that some people disagree. One of the great British traditions is the ability to protest and to disagree, but I think if it can be done in the spirit of respect.
“Respect the fact that hundreds of thousands of people do want to come forward and have that moment, don’t ruin it for them.”