A BASILDON woman has weighed in on the controversy surrounding MPs visiting the Queen's coffin as she queued to see the monarch lying-in-state.

As members of the public stood in line for hours to see the Queen lying in state, a rule allowing MPs and peers to skip the queue along with up to four guests drew criticism.

MPs were offered four extra tickets to visit Westminster Hall, a House of Commons spokesperson confirmed.

It allowed their guests to bypass the miles-long queue.

Most Parliamentary staff can also avoid the line and bring one guest.

But people who work directly for MPs and peers, such as parliamentary researchers, cannot.

They and people employed by contractors in Parliament – such as cleaners, security guards and caterers – must queue with the public to attend the lying in state.

It led to accusations from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union that they are being treated as “second-class citizens”.

PCS general secretary 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 rule allowing MPs to avoid the queue angered some members of the public who had spent hours waiting.

But others were not concerned, including Philomena Arthur, 63, of Basildon, wgi us ab NHS director.

“I don’t mind at all because they are closer to it than I am and it’s their job and they will be invited to the ceremonies and all of that,” she said.

“And if it was my workplace, I’m sure I would get the privilege of getting there first.

"I think it’s good to see them also paying homage to her.”