Saturday 25 October 2014

Preparations underway for Thatcher funeral as 'parties' held in parts of Britain

Published 09/04/2013 | 09:00

The ex-prime minister's funeral is due to take place next week at St Paul's Cathedral with full military honours - the same status as accorded to the Queen Mother and Princess Diane.

Preparations for Margaret Thatcher's ceremonial funeral are under way as MPs began planning tributes to her in Parliament.

 

The ex-prime minister's funeral is due to take place next week at St Paul's Cathedral with full military honours - the same status as accorded to the Queen Mother in recognition of her huge influence on the country.

 

Lady Thatcher's body was removed from the Ritz Hotel in London by private ambulance following her death there on Monday morning.

 

Meanwhile, MPs are being recalled from Easter recess to give them the chance to pay tribute to the former Tory premier. The House of Lords has also been recalled on Wednesday and will sit at 2.30pm - the same time as the Commons.

 

But as tributes poured in from around the world for Britain's first and only woman prime minister, many on the Left condemned the social impacts of her policies encouraging the free market and stripping power from unions during her 11 years in office.

 

On Monday night, hundreds of cheering people held parties to "celebrate" her death in Glasgow and Brixton, south London.

 

But on Wednesday the Government will put down a motion, which is expected to pay tribute to Lady Thatcher, according to the Speaker's Office. Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to give a statement to the Commons, followed by Ed Miliband, the Labour leader. There will be time for backbench MPs to make their own tributes to the former prime minister.

 

On Monday, Mr Cameron cut short an official visit to Europe following Lady Thatcher's death, as Labour and the Tories suspended campaigning ahead of next month's key local elections. The Lib Dems are also not expecting to hold any events.

 

As Lady Thatcher's health deteriorated, the issue of whether she should be granted a state funeral - as Churchill was - grew increasingly controversial. However, it has emerged that she rejected the idea herself, and also insisted she did not want her body to lie in state or money to be spent on a fly-past. Instead, the streets will be cleared for a procession from Westminster to St Paul's, where there will be a televised service attended by dignitaries from around the world.

 

The funeral is expected to take place next week, the date for which has not yet been confirmed.

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