Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing has been made a Dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Mrs Laing, who has been Member of Parliament for Epping Forest for 21 years, will be bestowed with the title along with Professor Mary Beard and actress Emma Thompson.

The veteran politician was a Shadow Minister for 12 years and has been a Deputy Speaker for the last four-and-a-half years.

She was appointed a member of the Privy Council, the formal body of advisers to the Queen, last November.

Commenting on her Damehood, which was announced in the Honours List published late last night, Mrs Laing said: "This is an amazing surprise but I am absolutely delighted.

"It has been a great honour to serve the people of Epping Forest for so many years, and to be able to continue to serve them as their Member of Parliament."