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Lifelong Republican Jeremy Corbyn Pays Tribute To The Queen On Her Birthday

"I admire her energy," the Labour leader told the House of Commons.

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Lifelong republican Jeremy Corbyn could have been forgiven for approaching another major royal occasion with some trepidation, after sparking tabloid fury last year over not singing the national anthem and the exact angle of his bow at the Cenotaph.

But on Thursday he navigated the Queen's 90th birthday unscathed, delivering a warm tribute in the House of Commons that praised her "outstanding commitment to public life".

All eyes were on the Labour leader, who has made no secret of his opinion on the monarchy, as he took part in a debate to mark the Queen's nonagenarian status.

Wearing a navy suit and red tie, Corbyn said that whatever views the public had about the "institution" of the monarchy, the vast majority were admirers of the Queen herself.

"As a relatively young whippersnapper, I'm fully in favour of our country having leaders of a finer vintage," he said, to laughter.

"Today we're talking about a highly respected individual who is 90 – and whatever differing views people across this country have about the institution, the vast majority share an opinion that Her Majesty has served this country and has overwhelming support with a clear sense of public service and public duty.

"She's carried out her duty with enormous warmth."

He concluded: "I admire her energy, wish her well in her continuing outstanding commitment to public life. I wish her a very happy 90th birthday." His speech was welcomed by MPs on all sides of the house.

As a Labour leadership contender, Corbyn told the New Statesman last July: "Listen, I am at heart, as you very well know, a republican. But it’s not the fight I’m going to fight: it’s not the fight I’m interested in. I’m much more interested in rebalancing our society, dealing with the problems, protecting the environment."

David Cameron kicked off the debate by hailing the Queen's "extraordinary service". He said: "It is truly humbling to comprehend the scale of service that Her Majesty has given to our country over so many years."

Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Emily Ashton at emily.ashton@buzzfeed.com.

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