Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Margaret Thatcher's funeral will be Who's Who of surviving Cold War warriors

But current foreign leaders are less well represented at service

The coffin of Baroness Thatcher rests in the Crypt Chapel of St Mary Undercroft beneath the Houses of Parliament
The coffin of Baroness Thatcher rests in the Crypt Chapel of St Mary Undercroft beneath the Houses of Parliament
Carol Thatcher leaves the Houses of Parliament after a short private service to receive the body of her late mother, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, to the crypt chapel of St Mary Undercroft
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 16: Sarah Thatcher (L) , daughter-in-law of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, leaves Parliament after attending a private service ahead of her funeral on April 16, 2013 in London, England. Lady Thatcher's coffin will rest inside the Chapel Of St Mary Undercroft overnight before a ceremonial funeral service is held at St Paul's Cathedral tomorrow. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 16: Marco Grass (L) and Carol Thatcher, daughter of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, pass 'Black Rod', Lieutenant-General David Leakey (R) as they leave Parliament after attending a private service ahead of her funeral on April 16, 2013 in London, England. Lady Thatcher's coffin will rest inside the Chapel Of St Mary Undercroft overnight before a ceremonial funeral service is held at St Paul's Cathedral tomorrow. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
A protester wears a mask depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a party to mark her death in central London's Trafalgar square, Saturday, April 13, 2013
Margaret Thatcher
Flowers laid outside the home of Baroness Thatcher in Belgravia, London following her death this morning after a stroke
Margaret Thatcher fielding questions with Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe (background), at a press conference, in London
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 27, 2009
File photo dated 11/05/83 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher receiving Soviet writer Aleksander Solzhenitsyn at No 10 Downing Street, London
File photo dated 24/10/2000 of former Conservative Prime Ministers Sir Edward Heath and Baroness Thatcher check their watches as they listen to the debate at the Conservative Party Conference annual conference in Bournemouth. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. November 1976: Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher makes a 'victory' sign outside her home in Chelsea, London. (Photo by John Minihan/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street, London, at the start of her third term in office. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 8: Lord Bell, spokesperson for Baroness Margaret Thatcher, announced in a statement that the former British Prime Minister died peacefully following a stroke aged 87. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, nee Roberts, as the Conservative candidate for Dartford, Kent, and before she married husband Denis. (Photo by Chris Ware/Getty Images)
1980: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. British Conservative politician and first woman to hold the office of Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher speaks at the Tory Party Conference on in Brighton, East Sussex circa 1980. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
1985: (FILE PHOTO) Baroness Margaret Thatcher, 85, Britain's Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, Reports on April 8, 2013 state that Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke.. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=108930459&EditorialProduct=Archival British prime minister Margaret Thatcher holds a chimpanzee in 1985. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
File photo dated 08/11/05 of Margaret Thatcher at the memorial service for former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, at Westminster Abbey in central London. Baroness Thatcher died this morning following a stroke, her spokesman Lord Bell said
The death of former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher has divided opinion across Northern Ireland
Prime Minister David Cameron pays respects to Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher
Crowds gather in Derry's Bogside to 'celebrate' the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
People celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher in Brixton
People celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher in Brixton, south London
Meryl Streep has paid tribute to Baroness Thatcher
Geri Halliwell has tweeted about Margaret Thatcher's death
Morrissey has attacked Baroness Thatcher after the former prime minister died
Members of the armed services will line the route of Baroness Thatcher's funeral procession to St Paul's Cathedral
A man lays a bunch of flowers outside the home of Lady Margaret Thatcher in Belgravia, London following her death
Margaret Thatcher pictured with her husband Denis in 1999
Margaret Thatcher waves to well-wishers after her 1983 election win
Margaret Thatcher arrives at 10 Downing Street after winning the 1979 election
The Union Flag is lowered to half mast at the Houses of Parliament after the death of Baroness Thatcher
Baroness Thatcher has died following a stroke
Margaret Thatcher at the Tory Party Conference in Brighton in 1980
Baroness Thatcher's death left some Twitter users with the impression that the singer Cher had died
Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has died following a stroke
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Mrs Thatcher talks to Siobhan O'Hars (left) and Katherine O'Hare during her visit to Rathmore Grammar School, Finaghy. 19/6/1978 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Visit to Northern Ireland. Director of the Belfast Tool and Gauge Company, Mr David Woods (left) discusses the workings of engineering components with Margaret Thatcher and department foreman Mr Robert McCullough at the factory. 6/3/1981 BELFAST TELEGRAPH ARCHIVE

Old Cold War warriors from both sides of the Atlantic will be reunited for perhaps the last time today as they gather to pay respects to one of their most significant figures.

While many current leaders have chosen to not to attend Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, the service represents what is likely to be the last gathering of elder statesmen of the period before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

 

President Obama will be represented by President Reagan’s Secretary of State George Shultz and his Chief of Staff James Baker. Perhaps America’s most famous Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has also accepted an invitation, as has the former US Vice-President Dick Cheney – who was Defence Secretary at the end of Lady Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister. Senior Conservatives expressed irritation that no one from the current Obama administration will make the trip across the Atlantic.

 

South Africa’s last apartheid President F W de Clerk will be in London, as will Canada’s Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister for the second half of the 1980s.

 

Europe’s Cold War history will also be represented by Poland’s former President Lech Walesa – one of the few trade unionists with an admiration for Lady Thatcher – and Vaclav Klaus, the former President of  the Czech Republic. From Britain, all of Lady Thatcher’s surviving foreign and defence secretaries are expected to attend.

 

But current foreign leaders are less well represented. Just two heads of state and 11 serving prime ministers will attend – perhaps a reminder of Lady Thatcher’s often difficult relationship with the Commonwealth.

 

In total 170 countries are sending representatives to the funeral, with the exceptions of Iran, North Korea and Argentina. Argentina’s ambassador to London declined an invitation to attend, after Downing Street failed to extend an invitation to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

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Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, said: “I think a lot of people will be disappointed and surprised, given the way President Obama praised Margaret Thatcher, no one will be there. I find that quite sad.”

 

It had been expected that President Obama’s former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might attend – she was among the first names to be invited – but she has declined.

 

However there are unlikely to be any empty seats for today’s service. More than 2,300 guests have confirmed they will attend, including all of the current Cabinet and 30 members of Baroness Thatcher’s cabinets.

 

Downing Street also released more details of British guests. These include the head of the BBC Trust and former Tory chairman Lord Patten, as well as the Director-General of the BBC Lord Hall.

 

The former BBC journalist John Sergeant is also invited. He famously interviewed a defiant Baroness Thatcher moments after she learnt that she had lost her battle to see off her Tory leadership challenge.

 

Other guests include the London Olympics mastermind Lord Coe, the former Speaker of the House of Commons Baroness Boothroyd and the former Northern Ireland First Minister Lord David Trimble.

 

There will be two receptions following the service. The Foreign Secretary will host a reception at the Mansion House in the City for representatives of foreign states. At the Guildhall, also in the City, there will be a reception for friends and family of Lady Thatcher.

 

Security will be increased in response to the terrorist attack on the Boston marathon, Scotland Yard said.

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Mandelson: We ‘overinhaled’ on inherited policy

 

Tony Blair accepted too many of Margaret Thatcher’s reforms, Lord Mandelson, one of the architects of New Labour, has said. “With hindsight I think New Labour, if anything, over-inhaled” on her policies.

 

The former Cabinet minister admitted Baroness Thatcher’s electoral success helped bring Labour to its senses but insisted that Labour also changed itself. “We were not Thatcher clones,” he told a Policy Exchange think tank debate.

 

Lord Mandelson also criticised today’s “quasi-state funeral”, saying he would have recommended against it because “Mrs T is not Churchill”.

 

Andrew Grice

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