LONG-serving Newport MP Paul Flynn has paid tribute to the Queen as she celebrated her 90th birthday.

Queen Elizabeth II, who last year became the longest-serving monarch in Britain’s history, celebrated her birthday on Thursday, April 21.

And speaking in Parliament the next day, Newport West MP Paul Flynn – who described himself as “a hardened republican” – paid tribute to the monarch.

“I want to say a special word of thanks to Her Majesty on behalf of those – a quarter of the country— who regard themselves as proud republicans,” he said.

“My affection for her goes back a very long time, although I did know another monarch in this country and until today she was a fellow octogenarian.”

The Labour MP said he was especially impressed by the Queen’s continued service in her later years.

“There is a distinction between respect for Her Majesty and criticism of the institution of monarchy," he said.

“She has continued the institution, giving it new life and meaning, because of her personality and her decision not to be embroiled in any way in affairs that are political.”

He concluded: “I share 81 years of life with Her Majesty and I have watched her with great interest all that time.

“Those of us who wish to have a new system for our head of state can say with deep sincerity ‘Happy birthday, ma’am’.”