British lawmakers chip in for Queen jubilee tribute

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British lawmakers have raised £85,000 ($136,000, 97,000 euros) to buy Queen Elizabeth II a diamond jubilee gift to mark her 60 years on the throne in 2012 -- even though many left-wingers refused to cough up.

Lawmakers from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords have chipped in to buy a new stained glass window in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the parliament building which dates back to 1097.

The window will replace plain glass put in after panes were destroyed by an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb in 1974.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron thanked "everyone who contributed to this very imaginative and sensitive gift for Her Majesty's diamond jubilee".

"I think it will be a fitting tribute, and something actually the country should focus on -- to have a diamond jubilee is an extraordinary thing that we're going to be able to celebrate in our lifetimes," he said.

Lawmakers were invited to contribute amounts ranging from £50 to £500, though £60 each would have covered the cost.

However, despite giving an oath of allegiance before taking their seats, many left-wing MPs from the opposition Labour Party refused to contribute anything, citing their republican leanings.

Labour MP Ian Davidson said: "If one of the richest women in the world wants a commemorative window, it seems reasonable she should pay for it."

In comments quoted by the Daily Mail, he added: "How utterly pointless. Why does the queen need a new window?"

But MP Brian Binley, from Cameron's Conservative Party, said: "It beggars belief anybody would begrudge giving £60 to honour a lady who has served her nation diligently for such a long time."

The diamond jubilee celebrations, which take place the month before the London Olympic Games, will feature street parties, a carriage procession, a concert and a pageant on the River Thames.

The new window, designed by Scottish artist Douglas Hogg, will go in the north end of Westminster Hall, opposite one commemorating the queen's father King George VI at the southern end.

"It includes the queen's arms, symbols for the Church of England, the armed forces and the Commonwealth, as well as a reference to Her Majesty's fondness for horse-riding and dogs," Hogg said.

© 2011 AFP

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