In Gandhi’s company? Margaret Thatcher stays divisive in life and death | world-news | Hindustan Times
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In Gandhi’s company? Margaret Thatcher stays divisive in life and death

There are fears that if Thatcher’s statue is installed in Parliament Square, it may be vandalised.

world Updated: Jul 07, 2017 16:26 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
A 1969 photo of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
A 1969 photo of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.(AP )

Margaret Thatcher was a divisive figure as the Conservative prime minister between 1979 and 1990, but indications are that she still splits opinion despite passing away in 2013 — there are fears that if her statue is installed in Parliament Square, it may be vandalised.

The most recent statue installed in the square was of Mahatma Gandhi before the 2015 general election. His is one of 11 statues that include Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln. Thatcher’s statue has been created by sculptor Douglas Jennings.

Prime Minister Theresa May – the second woman to be British prime minister after Thatcher – said on Friday that concerns over vandalism should not stop the plan to install the statue from going ahead.

May told BBC: “I understand there are a number of issues that have been raised around the statue. What I’m very clear about is there should be no suggestion that the threat of vandalism should stop a statue of Margaret Thatcher from being put up.”

Besides concerns over vandalism, there are objections from Thatcher’s family and Royal Parks. The plan was to install it between the statues of George Canning and Abraham Lincoln on the west side of the square, but it has now been officially turned down.

The Parliamentary Estate, which has also objected to the proposal, pointed out there is already a statue of Thatcher in the House of Commons. The Westminster Council’s planning guidelines say that the square is within the “monument saturation zone, considered unsuitable for new memorials”.

It is also a rule that statues are not installed within 10 years of the subject’s death.

A Royal Parks spokesman said: “Numerous times we have requested assurances from the applicant that they have approval from the family for the statue. To date we have not had those assurances.”