Our brilliant city acts as an inspiration to the nation

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I should imagine it takes a lot for a female MP to stand up in front of a packed Parliament and the nation and make a joke about genitalia.

But Portsmouth North’s Penny Mordaunt is not one to get stage fright, whether in the lower House or on television in a swimsuit.

She had me in stitches when I watched her make the Loyal Address after the Queen’s Speech last week, not least for taking the mickey out of male MPs.

Her speech made headlines but, listening to it as someone who comes from Portsmouth, a city in the midst of the D-Day 70 commemorations, it was as poignant as it was hilarious.

She mentioned the ordinary people, the ones who queued up on temporary pontoons in Southsea to board their ships back in 1944, and who had to cope with the wait for the order to go.

They were husbands, sons and brothers, fathers, uncles and nephews.

They were loved, they were missed and they were needed at home.

But they had something very important to do first – and that was to change the world.

Among the things I’ve always loved about Portsmouth are our heritage as the home of the Royal Navy and how the D-Day landings were masterminded from Southwick House and began – in the main – from our beaches.

How right it was that the eyes of the world were on Portsmouth on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

And how right it is that the stories of those who were part of Operation Overlord, especially during its first days, continue to be told.

The late Alan Ball, while he was Pompey manager, said this about the city to inspire his players: ‘It’s a tough, streetfighting city and they send people to war from here.’

The city is not just an inspiration for footballers (and lately that’s exactly what it has been0.

But, as Penny rightly said in her speech, our city is an inspiration to the nation.

We are an island that has always been populated by ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Long may that continue.