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Margaret Thatcher statue is opposed by ‘the Government’

Official says they have not granted permission for a statue of former Prime Minister

02 June, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

The design of the proposed statue in Parliament Square 

AN official objection to a statue of Margaret Thatcher facing Parliament has been lodged “on behalf of Royal Parks and the government”.

The statue, according to a planning application to Westminster Council, presents the former prime minister in “her most dignified attire” and has a design that is “captivating” and created with “meticulous attention to detail”.

The application comes from Ivan Saxton, of The Public Memorials Appeal, which wants to place the statue between George Canning and Abraham Lincoln on a stone plinth on the west side of Parliament Square. The location, called Canning Green, is managed by the Royal Parks Agency.

Royal Parks estates officer Mathew Oakley said: “The chief executive of The Royal Parks, Mr Andrew Scattergood, has spoken with the Department for Culture Media and Sport and I am responding on behalf of both The Royal Parks and government.

“The Royal Parks is responsible for the management of Canning Green and it has not given permission for the installation of this statue. The applicant has failed to give the reassurances The Royal Parks has sought, and therefore the proposal has not yet been put to our board. The Royal Parks objects to the proposals contained in this planning application and offers no permissions for the installation of the statue.”

The prominent Thorney Island Society has also criticised the scheme, saying that while they acknowledged Mrs Thatcher’s significance as the first female prime minister and the longest- serving of the 20th century, they felt that the principle of leaving a 10- year gap between the death of a subject and the erection of a public memorial should in this case be adhered to especially when the subject was likely to split opinion and “controversial enough to risk vandalism”.

It is understood that Carol Thatcher previously vetoed the plans because the sculpture of her mother did not carry her trademark handbag.

One objector said: “A person as divisive as this should not have a statue erected in her honour.

Another said: “I object to any placement of this type of memorial in principle, in times of continued austerity it is obscene to spend any money on such frippery…”

While council planning policy states that no statue should be erected until 10 years have passed after the person’s death, other than in “the most exceptional circumstances”, the

applicants point out that less than half the statues in the square comply. The statue of Nelson Mandela, for example, was put up six years before his death.

The application said: “Margaret Thatcher has been lauded as one of the greatest and most influential politicians in British history: We believe this to be an exceptional circumstance and that this statue should be considered for approval.”

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