Controversy as MPs skip the 10-mile queue with guests to see the Queen Lying in State

The queue to attend the Queen's Lying in State at Westminster Hall temporarily closes to new arrivals on Friday September 16 Credit: PA

MPs have been allowed to jump ahead of the 10-mile queue to see the Queen Lying in State, while their staff join the public in a wait of up to 14 hours.

Snaking from Westminster to Southwark Park, the queue itself is gaining notoriety as people meet other strangers waiting to file past the Queen's coffin.

MPs - 650 of them - and members of the House of Lords do not have to join the line. And, they can also take four guests each to Westminster Hall, so potentially an additional 2,600 MP guests getting ahead of the queue.

A 'fast track' queue is being described as discriminatory by some as people working for MPs must stand in line while their bosses take priority.

The Queue from Tower Bridge, four miles from Westminster Hall, at 6.30am on Friday morning Credit: PA

Cleaners and security guards who work in parliament have also been asked to queue should they wish to pay their respects, as they are employed by contractors.

The House of Commons say their priority lies with the public. In a statement they said: "It is not possible to open up further access (for staffers) without the risk of impacting access for queuing members of the public."

The PCS Union's 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 line, patrolled by 1,000 support staff, is currently being monitored as it reached its maximum length of 10 miles.

With those waiting passing by some of London's most famous landmarks, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have created a queue tracker.

Westminster Hall is open 24 hours a day until it closes at 6.30am on Monday, 19 September - the day of the Queen's funeral - when there will be a nationwide bank holiday.

The queue will close early to ensure as many visitors as possible can enter the Hall before the Lying in State period ends. 

The remarkable life of the Queen remembered in our latest episode of What You Need To Know