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Thatcher statue design for Parliament Square not ‘right’, say councillors

Westminster City Council unanimously voted to block the proposal.

Plans for a statue of Margaret Thatcher in Parliament Square have been rejected over its design and lack of approval from her family.

A 1.5-times life-size bronze statue of Margaret Thatcher had been proposed for the site.

The square already contains several statues of former prime ministers, including Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and Sir Robert Peel.

Westminster City Council’s planning committee supported the idea for a statue of Baroness Thatcher in principle, but rejected the current proposals.

The current plan, showing Baroness Thatcher dressed in her peers’ robes, was rejected as it was not considered to reflect her role as the UK’s first female prime minister.

Concern was also expressed for the fact that the statue did not have approval of the Thatcher family.

Councillor Richard Beddoe, the chairman of Westminster City Council’s planning committee, said: “As our country’s first female prime minister Baroness Thatcher is a hugely significant figure in British history and in principle the council is in favour of a statue commemorating her in Parliament Square, but it must be the right statue.

“I would respectfully suggest a handbag on any future design.”

Plans for the statue were also modified under guidance of the police to remove any ledges which could be used to climb up.

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Councillors suggested a statue which reflected Margaret Thatcher's role as prime minister might be more appropriate (PA)

Other objections to the statue included the council’s “10-year rule”, where someone has to have been dead for at least 10 years before a statue of them is erected.

However, this was rejected as Baroness Thatcher was considered an exceptional case.

Another objection, that Parliament Square is a “statue saturation zone”, was rejected on grounds that it again is an exceptional case.

Suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett will be the first woman to be immortalised in the square, while the statue’s designer, Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing, will be the first person to produce a statue of a woman subject for it.

Statues of other notable women in politics have been suggested for the site, including suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

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