THE former PM will receive a full ceremonial funeral with military honours next Wednesday but politicians have branded this the final insult to Scots.
THE £10million cost of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral was yesterday slammed as an insult to the 250,000 Scots whose jobs she wiped out.
The former prime minister will receive a full ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul’s Cathedral next Wednesday.
Labour MSP Neil Findlay said:
“When her heirs apparent, Cameron and Osborne, are introducing the bedroom tax for the poor and low-paid and tax cuts for millionaires, news that her funeral will cost £10million is the final insult to the communities and people’s lives she destroyed.”
Findlay – who is campaigning to overturn criminal convictions against miners during the bitter 1984 strike – added:
“The policies Thatcher introduced destroyed the skilled manufacturing and heavy industries in my area. The local steelworks, Polkemmet colliery, British Leyland and many engineering plants were all closed as a result of her corrosive free market dogma.
“Compare her final days at the Ritz and an £10million funeral to the final years of some of the people in my community and we see can why people are angry.”
Former Labour MP Dennis Canavan, now chair of the Yes to independence campaign, said:
“I know that she is being described by her sycophantic supporters as a conviction politician. It is just a pity that her convictions left a legacy of untold misery for many families and communities across Scotland and beyond.
“I think it is rather ironic that Margaret Thatcher very strongly criticised public spending on even essential services and yet here we have millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money being spent on her funeral.”
Most Scottish MPs will boycott the recall of the Westminster Parliament today to commemorate Thatcher’s death.
Almost all Labour backbenchers from north of the Border will be away from London for the special session – which will be an uncritical tribute to the longest serving peacetime PM of the 20th century. None of the SNP’s six MPs are expected to attend, apart from Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP.
But a Scottish Government spokesman said First Minister Alex Salmond will go to the funeral in London next Wednesday.
Last night, senior political figures echoed film and TV director Ken Loach’s views that Thatcher’s funeral should be a privatised affair.
Labour MP Graham Stringer said a privatised firm like BT should “step up” and pay for the ceremony.
The former Whip added:
“I think that would be symbolic and beautifully appropriate. The church service with military honours I have no difficultly with – she was prime minister at a time when we were at war with Argentina.
“It is the taxpayers’ money which she always claimed she wanted to save.”
Ian Lavery, a former miner who recently quit as Parliamentary aide to Deputy Labour Leader Harriet Harman, said Thatcher should not receive what amounts to a state funeral in all but name.
The Labour MP for Wansbeck, in Northumberland, was nauseated by tributes to a PM who branded him, his family, his former colleagues and his constituents “the enemy within”.
“She classed us with Argentinians – she called them the enemy without and the miners the enemy within.
“I’m pretty angry that people think she should have special treatment. Maybe she should but not positive special treatment.”
Labour MP for Midlothian David Hamilton – a former miner who was imprisoned over the 1984 strike – said the leaders of political parties had to be respectful but many MPs had other plans for today. He added:
“Thank God we’re not going to see her like again.
“I find it galling that the only time she shed a tear was when she was stabbed by her own party. She never shed a tear for any of the families and communities she destroyed.
“I’m not bitter but we should not look back on her times as glorious – she destroyed communities in our nation of Scotland and across the north of England.
“She can be remembered for a lot – but none of it is good.”
Scotland Yard revealed last night that police are considering using pre-emptive stop and search powers to prevent troublemakers disrupting Thatcher’s funeral.
Met chiefs are likely to use section 60 of the Public Order Act, allowing officers to stop anyone without discretion.
A spokesman said a senior officer can implement the law where they have the “intelligence and grounds to suggest it is necessary”.
The use of section 60 next Wednesday is currently under review, he added.
The force said they want to speak anyone who plans to protest so their right to do so can be maintained.
Police last used section 60 powers during the royal wedding in April 2011.