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The tower that houses Big Ben at the Palace of Westminster is likely to be renamed in honor of Queen Elizabeth II after a majority of the Members of Parliament (MPs) gave their backing to the change.
The proposal was first made by Tobias Ellwood, a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Foreign Office. He tabled an Early Day Motion requesting that the clock tower be renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
“Commemorating an iconic landmark as famous as Parliament is indeed a truly exceptional tribute and I am grateful that the majority of MPs believe the Queen deserves such an outstanding accolade,” he said.
“It therefore seems entirely appropriate for Parliament to pay tribute to Her Majesty with a similar honor, and in symmetry, to that bestowed upon Queen Victoria, by dedicating part of the iconic Parliamentary estate in her name,” he continued.
Forty MPs signed their names to the motion, and 331 MPs signed a formal letter of support, including the leaders of the three major parties. Prime Minister David Cameron said that “it is great news that so many MPs from across the House are backing what would be a fitting tribute to the Queen. I hope it will now move ahead.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that “the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is an occasion that the whole country is keen to celebrate, and Members of Parliament are no exception. I hope the House applies [to Buckingham Palace] to name this historic tower after Her Majesty.”
Echoing the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said that “Queen Elizabeth has dedicated herself tirelessly and constantly to the people of Britain and the entire Commonwealth. Parliament has agreed that this is a fitting tribute to her life of service and I hope it can be confirmed as soon as possible.”
In addition to the party leaders, the proposal has received the backing of Theresa May, the Home Secretary; William Hague, the Foreign Secretary; Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary; and Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. They are joined by other prominent MPs, including former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, former Home Secretary David Blunkett, and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls.
The honor mirrors that given to Queen Victoria when she celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The King’s Tower which stood at the southwest end of the Palace of Westminster was renamed the Victoria Tower.
The House of Commons Commission, which is responsible for Parliament’s administrative affairs, will meet in a few weeks’ time, at which point it is likely to approve the proposal in light of the strength of cross-party support. Once the commission has given its stamp of approval, the proposal will be formally presented to Buckingham Palace. If the Queen agrees, a renaming ceremony would be held, which she would likely attend.