United Kingdom

Will locals back statue for Margaret Thatcher? Poll could be held to decide on home town monument

A poll could finally decide whether a 10ft statue of Margaret Thatcher is erected in her home town.

Ian Selby, former mayor of Grantham, Lincolnshire, proposed the referendum to gauge local support for the work by artist Douglas Jennings.

It was offered to the town after plans to erect it in Parliament Square were rejected.

A protective plinth has already been built in Grantham after police said the sculpture needs to be elevated. 

A poll could finally decide whether a 10ft statue of Margaret Thatcher is erected in her home town of Grantham, Lincolnshire

The Tory-led council has earmarked £100,000 for its unveiling, but Mr Selby said a poll would see if locals wanted it or not.

Mr Selby said using taxpayers’ money to fund something which had not been endorsed was ‘stirring up a hornet’s nest’.

Other opponents said the cost was an ‘insult’ to struggling local residents.

Conservative council leader Kelham Cooke acknowledged there was a debate to be had about the legacy of the former prime minister, who died in 2013.

However, he told the meeting: ‘What cannot be disputed is that this major event provides a fantastic opportunity for the Grantham community to celebrate its heritage and to promote the district.’

An artist's impression of the £300,000 10ft plinth of Margaret Thatcher which will be situated on St Peter's Hill Green in Grantham, Lincolnshire

Conservative councillor Robert Reid added: ‘She was the Iron Lady who put the iron back in Britain. Is it too much to ask that we underwrite this important event?’

However, Labour councillor Charmaine Morgan said it was ‘an insult to the people of our community who are currently fighting to make ends meet’.

The plan also prompted a backlash on social media, with 2,000 people pledging to attend an ‘egg throwing contest’ planned to coincide with the unveiling.

The post’s author later asked people to make a donation to a foodbank instead.

The 10ft (3m) statue is due to be erected next year, but a date has yet to be fixed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is currently in storage at a secret location.

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