Question Time: Brief mention of Thatcher statue in Grantham but support for one in Westminster

Telegraph writer Tim Stanley addresses the audience on Question Time in Grantham.
Telegraph writer Tim Stanley addresses the audience on Question Time in Grantham.
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BBC Question Time rolled into Grantham last night, with the proceedings topped off with the panel voicing majority support for a statue of Margaret Westminster.

With minutes to the end, audience member Benjamin Davenport-Laughton asked: “Was it right that West Minster Council refused to erect a statue of Margaret Thatcher?”

Presenter David Dimbleby noted that the issue of a statue in the London borough had been met with possible civil disturbance from opponents.

He added: “There’s a question whether there should be one in Grantham, which is her home town.”

Miatta FahnBulleh of the New Economic Foundation and former advisor to Ed Miliband said: “If the good people of Grantham want a statue of Margaret Thatcher, they should have one.”

But then the panel turned to Westminster, not referring to Grantham.

Former Education minister Justine Greening said it was a shame there was not statue.

“She was a person important to this country’s history for men and especially for women. We should have a statue. This is about our history.”

However, Bassetlaw Labour MP John Mann recalled when a statue of Mrs Thatcher was erected in parliament a seven-year-old boy came up to her and said: “We don’t like you where we come from.”

He doubted there would be any statues of Mrs Thatcher in former mining villages.

Liberal Democrat deputy-leader Jo Swinson recalled Margaret Thatcher was Britain’s first woman PM and growing up in the 1980s, she did not realise how important this was.

“If we can’t have a statue of the first woman PM, it’s a sad thing in British politics.”

Daily Telegraph columnist Tim Stanley said: “We should definitely have a statue to Mrs Thatcher. In the spirit of Thatcherism, it should be made of iron, it should be value for money and it should have a massive handbag to beat any vandals who go near it.”

Earlier, the programme debated Brexit, revealing further strident views from the audience on both sides.

Theresa May’s leadership was also raised with Justine Greening criticised for saying the country should get behind the Prime Minister when she had only just quit her government role.

Many in the audience appeared to support Jacob Rees-Mogg as a potential Conservative leader and Tim Stanley, who wants Theresa May replaced with a Brexiteer, said: “Let’s have some Thatcherism back.”

However, Ancaster based conservative county councillor Alexander Maughan in the audience made the point that the country must unite behind Theresa May to get the best deal for the country.

The show also debated the issue of rape and identifying the accused, even if they are found innocent.

Local matters such as Grantham Hospital’s A&E was not raised and neither was the NHS in general.