Rebel MP Galloway offers Thatcher stinging send-off

Controversial Respect Party MP tells parliament that there is no consensus for a national funeral

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 April, 2013, 3:05am


British MPs voted overwhelmingly to postpone Prime Minister's Questions so that ministers could attend yesterday's funeral of Margaret Thatcher, but not before left-wing lawmaker George Galloway had delivered a stinging send-off.

The controversial Respect Party MP joined forces with veteran Labour Party lawmaker Dennis Skinner to frustrate the government's vote on Tuesday.

They unleashed verbal tirades as the body of the former prime minister lay nearby in the Palace of Westminster's crypt chapel.

The ceremonial funeral for Thatcher took place yesterday in the same time-slot as the prime minister's weekly parliamentary grilling. "I am sorry but this is not a national funeral," Galloway told parliament. "You can only have a national funeral where there is a national consensus about the person being buried.

"That consensus does not exist in relation to Margaret Thatcher and no matter how often people from the front benches fawn upon her, pour honeyed words upon her, even outside of this House of course, tell lies about her and her record, that won't change."

Skinner argued that the lavish funeral proved there was "one rule for those at the top and another for those at the bottom.

"We are here talking about the thing that we sometimes suggest has gone away - class," he added.

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries suggested that the debate be brought to a close with Thatcher's body being so close.

"Baroness Thatcher is actually laid yards away from us in her final night in this palace," she told the House of Commons.

"Does Mr Skinner not think that just on this night, when she is just yards away, that in the name of nothing other than good taste, that maybe it might be as well that we call this to an end?"

In the end, the motion was passed by 245 votes to 13.

Thatcher's coffin had been taken to the Houses of Parliament, which she dominated for more than a decade, earlier on Tuesday.