Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

PMQs on funeral day 'a bit odd'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg during the Call Clegg show, on LBC 97.3 radio

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has suggested it would be "a bit odd" to go ahead with Prime Minister's Questions on the day of Baroness Thatcher's funeral.

David Cameron's weekly session at the Commons dispatch box is currently scheduled to take place as normal at midday next Wednesday - the day of the funeral at St Paul's Cathedral.

However, Mr Clegg said he expected that Mr Cameron would now be holding discussions with Commons Speaker John Bercow about the arrangements in the House on the day.

"It seems to me that if you have got this major ceremonial funeral on that day, having the knockabout of Prime Minister's Questions at the same time might feel a bit odd, but that is something for the Prime Minister and the Speaker to decide on, as I am sure they will," he said during his weekly radio phone-in on LBC 97.3.

Mr Clegg also strongly condemned parties held by some opponents of Lady Thatcher to celebrate her death.

"It is so out of keeping with the character of us as a nation," he said. "I disagreed with a lot of the things she did or felt she had to do, but I think it is still right that we try honestly to grapple with all of that and think about the history of what happened to us as a country and not indulge in this, I think, completely puerile, childish stuff of people having parties."

A motion was tabled on Wednesday night to delay the start of Commons proceedings until 2.30pm on Wednesday - which would mean the cancellation of Prime Minister's Questions. It is expected to be passed when MPs return to Westminster from their Easter break on Monday.

Meanwhile, a row has broken out over suggestions that a statue should be built in honour of Baroness Thatcher. One of the suggested sites is London's Trafalgar Square, where thousands of anti-Thatcher supporters are set to hold a party on Saturday evening.

Len Duvall, leader of the Labour group on the London Assembly, said it would not be appropriate to have a statue of Baroness Thatcher in the central London square, which was the scene of riots over the poll tax when Mrs Thatcher was PM.

He said: "She was a significant figure, but she was a divisive figure. I would argue that Margaret Thatcher did great harm to many people in London, and to place a statue of her at the site of the poll tax riots, which symbolised just how divisive she was, would be crass triumphalism. This would also mean the fourth plinth would not be available for future artworks, which has been hugely successful and popular."

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz