Margaret Thatcher: statue of former Prime Minister pelted with eggs hours after being installed in Grantham

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This is not the first time a statue of Margaret Thatcher has been vandalised - a marble sculpture of the politician was decapitated in 2002

A statue of the late former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was pelted with eggs just hours after it was installed in her home town.

The bronze statue of the ‘Iron Lady’ was lowered into place in Grantham on 14 May, despite past threats of egg throwing.

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In February 2019, a planning committee unanimously voted in favour of the £300,000 statue which was originally intended for Parliament Square in Westminster.

A statue of Margaret Thatcher is installed in GranthamA statue of Margaret Thatcher is installed in Grantham
A statue of Margaret Thatcher is installed in Grantham | PA

The unveiling of the bronze statue was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic but the statue has now been installed without a ceremony in Thatcher’s home town of Grantham, Lincolnshire.

The authority described the statue as a "fitting tribute" to a "unique political figure".

The statue was erected on a 10ft-high plinth and is under CCTV surveillance to minimise the risk of vandalism.

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However, a protester began throwing eggs at the statue just hours after it had been installed.

A man threw eggs from behind a temporary fence which surrounded the statue, although only one egg made contact, hitting the lower part of the monument.

Who was Margaret Thatcher?

Margaret Thatcher was born in Grantham in 1925 and became a Conservative MP and the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

She served as Prime Minister from 1979-1990 and was a proponent of free enterprise, nationalism and traditional values.

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She resigned as Prime Minister after a leadership challenge and retired from politics in the early 2000s following ill health.

Thatcher died in 2013, leaving behind a controversial legacy while many mourned her death, others celebrated, with street parties held in parts of the country.

A man was seen throwing eggs over fencing at the statue A man was seen throwing eggs over fencing at the statue
A man was seen throwing eggs over fencing at the statue | PA

Why is her statue so controversial?

Thatcher is one of Britain’s most divisive political figures, hailed by some sections of society from saving Britain from an economic downturn suffered in the 1970s under Labour.

She also gained popularity for her role in the Falklands War, which saw a British victory over Argentina in a dispute over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

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However, she was disliked, especially in the north of England and Scotland, for closing down coal mines, breaking the miners strikes, and putting thousands of people out of work.

Other unpopular or controversial policies pushed by Thatcher included the poll tax, which led to a series of riots, privatisation of several state-run companies, and Section 28, which prohibited the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities.

The erection of monuments to political figures is often fraught with concern over causing offence to the public and many statues of controversial figures have been vandalised by protesters.

The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square has been vandalised several times, while the statue of Edward Colston, a British merchant and slave trader was thrown into a canal in Bristol in 2020.

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Are there other statues of Margaret Thatcher?

A marble statue of Thatcher was commissioned in 1998 and intended to be installed in the Member’s Lobby of the House of Commons after her death.

While on display at the Guildhall Art Gallery, theatre producer Paul Kelleher decapitated the £150,000 statue using a metal pole. Kelleher was eventually sentenced to three months in prison for criminal damage and the statue has since been repaired.

Another statue of Thatcher, made in bronze, was installed in the Member’s Lobby in 2007 - at the unveiling Thatcher said “this time I hope the head will stay on”.

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