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Update on Saturday 2nd June:
The Daily Mail reports that a majority of MPs (331) are now supporting Tobias Ellwood's campaign to rename the 316 feet-tall Clock Tower, which houses the Big Ben bell, as the Elizabeth Tower. The newspaper concludes the renaming is now almost certain to proceed.
Mr Ellwood told the Mail:
"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."
Not everyone is happy though. "The anti-monarchist pressure group Republic has," reports The Guardian, "criticised the proposal as "crass and profoundly inappropriate given that the tower in question is a landmark of our democratic parliament"." Read more in the Mail.
By Tim Montgomerie
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The tower on the left is called the Victoria Tower, after Britain's last great female monarch. Tobias Ellwood MP wants to rename the Clock Tower or East Tower after Elizabeth II.
MPs are urging that St Stephen's Tower of the Houses of Parliament be renamed the Elizabeth Tower to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The Tower is often called the Clock Tower because Big Ben sits on top of it. There would be an historical precedent for the move because, as the Daily Mail reports, "in 1860, the west tower of the Palace of Westminster, originally called The King’s Tower, was renamed the Victoria Tower to commemorate her long reign."
Tobias Ellwood MP, instigator of the idea, told The Sun:
"I cannot think of a greater tribute for Parliament to bestow than to rename such an iconic landmark as the Clock Tower. Most people will continue to call it Big Ben but it would be appropriate to change the official name."
Two former Foreign Secretaries are already backing the move – Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw.
The full text of Mr Ellwood's Early Day Motion is:
"That this House expresses its profound gratitude to Her Majesty The Queen for her dedication to a life of public service; pays tribute to the energy, wisdom and grace with which she carries out her many public duties; welcomes the opportunities over the coming months that the nation will have to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee – a landmark that of the 41 monarchs who have reigned England and the UK since William the Conqueror -only Her Majesty and Queen Victoria have observed; notes that the west tower of the Palace of Westminster was originally called The King's Tower; further notes that when the Palace of Westminster was rebuilt in 1860, it was renamed the Victoria Tower, to commemorate the long reign of Queen Victoria; proudly recalls Her Majesty's tribute to Parliament in her Address to both Houses as `an unshakeable cornerstone of our constitution and our way of life'; signals its desire to honour Her Majesty's commitment to democracy in Britain and the Commonwealth; and therefore calls on the House of Commons Commission to consider proposals to rename the Palace of Westminster's east tower holding the Big Ben clock the Elizabeth Tower, in recognition of Her Majesty's 60 years of unbroken public service on behalf of her country."