Margaret Thatcher statue egged by protester in Grantham
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Jim Davidson, a Brexit-backing comedian, appeared on GB News yesterday after footage circulated on social media showing a protester pelt eggs at the recently erected statue of Margaret Thatcher. The statue was erected in homage to the Iron Lady, the UK’s first female Prime Minister, in her hometown of Grantham in Lincolnshire. Mr Davidson took aim at self-proclaimed feminist Kate Smurthwaite over her criticism of Mrs Thatcher.
After Ms Smurthwaite called for the statue of the ex-Prime Minister to be taken to the bottom of the Thames, Mr Davidson said he only wanted it there if his fellow guest “swam down there with it to put it there”.
He added: “This was one of the greatest Prime Ministers we’ve ever had.
“And because that lady there, whatever her name is, didn’t agree with that, she’s got to be thrown to the bottom [of the Thames].”
Mr Davidson then suggested all statues could be removed following such criticism, including ones erected in respect of Horatio Nelson.
He added: “We can’t just put up women and people who are nice to people.
“This is our history and these people are great people.
“Why shouldn’t Margaret Thatcher be next to the great Winston Churchill and the equally great Nelson Mandela?”
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The statue in Grantham is not the only place where a sculpture of Mrs Thatcher has been put in place.
The Iron Lady is one of just four bronze statues in Parliament’s Members’ Lobby.
She is accompanied by Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee.
The lobby also includes statues and busts in tribute to Benjamin Disraeli, Arthur Balfour, Herbert Asquith, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Andrew Bonar Law, Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, James Callaghan and John Major.
Despite the Iron Lady’s statue causing issues in Grantham, Mrs Thatcher trailed only Mr Churchill when polling experts at Ipsos asked Brits to rank which Prime Minister had done a good job.
While she also finished in fifth place as the Prime Minister who had done a “bad job”, her overall rating was still positive on +9 percent.
Ms Smurthwaite, who appeared alongside Mr Davidson and ex-Tory MP Edwina Currie on GB News, claimed the statue should be moved to the bottom of the Thames.
She lambasted the Iron Lady over policies stretching from section 28 to the privatisation of British utilities.
Responding to Ms Currie’s call for more statues of women, Ms Smurthwaite added: “I would love to see more statues of women around the country.
“I couldn’t agree with Edwina more that there are way too many statues of military leaders and lots and lots of men, and what we should do is put up statues to the brilliant women who have done brilliant things to support their fellow humans around the country.
“Obviously, Margaret Thatcher is not one of them; she is the exact opposite of that.”
The debate on Dan Wootton’s GB News shot ‘The Clash’ came after Jeremy Webster, 59, an arts director at the University of Leicester, put out a “call to arms” on social media to pelt eggs at the statue of Mrs Thatcher.
The University of Leicester, which runs the Attenborough Arts Centre, where Mr Webster is serving as deputy director, condemned the incident and opened an investigation into the incident.
Kerry Law, its chief marketing and engagement officer, said: “The University of Leicester has a long-standing history of supporting art, fostering creativity and protecting creative freedom.
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“It does not condone any form of defacement and takes any act of defacement extremely seriously.
“This matter will be addressed in line with the university’s own procedures.”
Police are also investigating reports of “criminal damage”, according to the Times.
Kelham Cooke, the Conservative leader of South Kesteven district council, said: “I hope people will appreciate the statue for what it is as a piece of artwork and as a memorial but also to aid discussion and debate.
“With most memorials and statues that are installed you always anticipate an element of anti-social behaviour and I hope it doesn’t attract too much of that.
“I appreciate some people have very emotive feelings about a whole range of things and obviously Margaret Thatcher’s legacy is one of them.”
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