Midlands MPs pause and reflect on enormous contribution the Queen made to public life

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Credit: PA

There was a distinct change of mood this evening at Westminster as people gathered in corridors and communal areas to share the sad news of the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. 

Normally a Thursday is the day Midlands MPs prepare for the journey back to their constituencies after the cut and thrust of debates and votes.

This evening it was a chance to pause, stay still and to reflect on the enormous contribution the Queen has made to public life. 

Alex Norris, the Labour MP for Nottingham North, tweeted: "Her dedication and devotion to her country and her people burned as brightly at the end of her reign as at its start."

Rachel Maclean, the Conservative MP for Redditch, described her as "the rock of our nation and a living example of British values." 

The Liberal Democrat councillor for Blaby in Leicestershire, Paul Hartshorn - a regular visitor to colleagues in Westminster wrote simply "RIP Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II".

Some expressed how it seemed somehow appropriate that the Queen's last official engagement had been to oversee the handing over of power from one Prime Minster to his successor.

An official ceremony carried out with respect and warmth. 

The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon, Buckingham Palace has announced Credit: Eddie Mulholland/PA

The next few days see the start of a long period of official mourning.

Government business will be reduced to the minimum - the focus will be on providing an opportunity for official tributes in both houses of parliament - then the Queen will lie in State in Westminster Hall. 

I remember covering the Queen's official visits to the East Midlands when I reported from the region back in the 1990s.

She always took time for those who waited to see her - ordinary people who had known her all their lives. 

Thursday, September 8, marks the passing of a special lady who will be much missed.