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Westcountry MPs pay their respects to Baroness Margaret Thatcher

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 17, 2013

Comments (6)

Westcountry MPs will be among 2,000 guests at the ceremonial funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher at St Paul's Cathedral today.

Lady Thatcher, who was Prime Minister for 11 years from 1979, died on Monday last week. All Members of Parliament were invited to apply for invitations to the funeral.

Devon MPs attending are Conservatives Oliver Colvile (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport), Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon), Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton), Gary Streeter (South West Devon), Mel Stride (Central Devon) and Sarah Wollaston (Totnes).

Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter and former Cabinet minister, has also accepted an invitation. East Devon MP Hugo Swire, a Foreign Office Minister, will be laying a wreath at a the Commonwealth cemetery in Papua New Guinea, on an official visit.

Cornwall's three Conservative MPs – George Eustice (Camborne and Redruth), Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) and Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth) – are also attending.

Mr Stride said: "Margaret Thatcher was an outstanding leader ranking alongside Churchill. She made entrepreneurship and enterprise central to our nation. We owe her a great deal."

Mrs Murray said: "She showed everybody you could achieve what you wanted to. She encouraged people to better themselves."

Mr Bradshaw said: "The day of her funeral is not the day for debate about Lady Thatcher's legacy – but for quiet reflection, prayer for her soul and respecting the grief of those who mourn."

Lady Thatcher has been awarded a ceremonial funeral with military honours. It will be the first time the Queen has attended the funeral of a British Prime Minister since that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. An able seaman from RNAS Culdrose and a Taunton-based Royal Marine will also represent the Westcountry at the funeral today when they carry her coffin.

Corporal John Caulfield, 30, of 40 Commando, and Thomas Baker, 22, from Culdrose, will be among the pallbearers carrying the first female Prime Minister's coffin from St Clement's Dane church to an awaiting gun carriage, before walking alongside it, as her funeral procession makes its way to St Paul's Cathedral.

Former Teignbridge, Devon, Conservative MP Patrick Nicholls, a junior minister under Lady Thatcher, is another figure from the region attending, as is broadcaster Hugh Scully, who lives near Truro, who produced a four-part TV documentary, Thatcher: The Downing Street Years for the BBC in 1992.

The Government has been criticised for spending millions of pounds of taxpayers' cash on the event. Some opponents are set to stage protests on the procession route.

Downing Street announced yesterday former US vice-president Dick Cheney and ex-secretary of state Henry Kissinger are attending.

The pair do not form part of Barack Obama's official presidential delegation, which will be led by George Shultz and James Baker, who both served as secretaries of state during the Thatcher era.

Also on the list of attendees announced yesterday are Crown Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, and Olympics supremo and former Cornwall MP Lord Coe. Argentina's ambassador to London has declined an invitation, Downing Street said. No 10 invited Alicia Castro but did not extend an invitation to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner amid ongoing disputes over the Falklands' sovereignty.

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  • Doitdreckley  |  April 19 2013, 11:57AM

    Other than putting her funeral out to tender, the other option is that it could have been paid for by subscription by those who admired her.

    |   1
  • BrixhamDes  |  April 18 2013, 7:17AM

    In this "Age of Austerity" She could have followed the Party's lead and been buried in a Cardboard Box, like they expect the rest of us to do? What an insult to Winston Churchill?

    |   2
  • AnBalores  |  April 17 2013, 8:11PM

    At what cost to the taxpayer?

    |   2
  • TheIntruder  |  April 17 2013, 5:55PM

    I wonder how many 'sold down the river' miners will turn up at Arthur Scargills funeral. Not including the one's his junta have paid to turn up.

    |   -3
  • howardd1  |  April 17 2013, 3:23PM

    free lunch and a booze up after never miss a freebie do they

  • Karen362  |  April 17 2013, 12:32PM

    I invariably shed a tear or two when a major contract ends.

    |   -5