Margaret Thatcher statue canned after fears it may be vandalised

Margaret Thatcher statue
A statue of Margaret Thatcher in the Guildhall Art Gallery. The statue was decapitated in 2002 by theatre producer Paul Kelleher. Photo credit: Getty

Plans for a statue of Margaret Thatcher have been thwarted after fears it may be vandalised.

Campaigners for the Iron Lady hoped to erect a ten-foot bronze of Britain's first woman prime minister in Parliament Square.

But council papers revealed an objection had been lodged by Royal Parks, which owns the strip of land proposed for the figure.

It was also revealed that a resident's association objected on the grounds that the infamous Tory was "controversial enough to risk vandalism".

The Iron Lady is still a much-loathed figure for those on the left of the political spectrum, 27 years after she left Downing St and four years after her death.

The statue proposal was submitted by the Public Memorials Appeal charity, which submitted an application to Westminster City Council.

The draft depicted Mrs Thatcher in a "resolute posture looking towards Parliament with a stern gaze".

In 2002 a NZ$267,000 marble statue of Mrs Thatcher was decapitated at a London art gallery. She was a polarising figure, and was widely maligned for making such statements as: "There is no such thing as society."

Officials said they would not support the proposal because the statue had not received the support of Mrs Thatcher's family.

Her daughter expressed displeasure with the design, complaining she was disappointed that it did not include her handbag.

The Daily Mail reported Tory MP's said it was "appalling" that Britain could not commemorate the controversial figure because of the threat posed by the hard left.

Tory politician Jacob Rees-Moog said: "Blocking it for fear of thugs and vandals is the lily-livered approach that Lady Thatcher most disdained."

A Royal Parks spokesman said on Thursday night (NZT) that they had requested assurances from the applicant for the statue that they had received approval from the family for the statue, which they had not received.

The residents' association for the area also objected to the plans on the grounds of vandalism. 

Committee member Lucy Peck said they wanted a ten-year gap between the death of a subject and the erection of a public memorial.

"We note that the statue of Nelson Mandela was erected only six years after his death, but that should not set a precedent, especially as Mr Mandela was an entirely uncontroversial figure, respected throughout the world".

Ms Peck said while "Lady Thatcher was also widely respected it cannot be said that she was uncontroversial in this country…There should be a decent interval before permanent statues are erected, especially when they are controversial enough to risk vandalism".

There is already a 7ft 4in bronze statue Mrs Thatcher inside Parliament, in the Commons Members' Lobby, which was unveiled in 2007.