Describing the moment she first realized the monarch’s death was imminent, she said: “I read between the lines about it because you don’t get a note that the Queen is unwell if she’s got a bit of a cough or a cold. “
Ms Rayner said the “seriousness” of the situation was underlined by the fact they were prepared to interrupt such a big moment in Parliament.
“I tried to get him the note [Sir Keir] without being too dramatic, but also not knowing exactly what was going on, but I needed to get him out of the chamber,” she added.
“I kept the note and I was trying to think how do I get it to Keir without completely ruining what he’s trying to say because if someone tries to give you information when you’re in the middle of talking, it’s the most distracting thing, so I waited for the opportunity to do it.”
When Mrs Rayner looked over and caught sight of Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, he indicated that she had to get on with it. “He gives me a nod of ‘this is actually quite urgent,'” she said. “So I knew it was a pretty important moment.”
Ms Rayner said she was also concerned about how and when news of the Queen’s death might emerge and did not want it to happen before Sir Keir had been briefed.
“If Keir was at full throttle when the news broke, then I haven’t protected him from the circumstances,” she added. She said she recognized that events “are going to change everything”.
After leaving the chamber, Mrs Rayner and Sir Keir were briefed by Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, and told of the monarch’s death shortly before it was announced that evening at 6:30 p.m.