15 Apr 2013

Baroness Thatcher funeral: stop all the clocks?

Foreign dignitaries arriving for Baroness Thatcher’s funeral may feel they are being subjected to kettling of a kind themselves.

I’m told embassies and high commissions have been told to drop off their representatives, senior government ministers amongst them, at 8.30am in Westminster on Wednesday, and not to expect to see them again until they’re released from St Paul’s around 1pm.

It’s a huge chunk of time for a senior government minister to be out of circulation and some embassies are wondering if it could’ve been trimmed. They are probably correctly anticipating some unhappy ministers sitting for nearly two hours waiting for the service in St Paul’s to start.

I hear that the number of serving heads of government attending on Wednesday could now be in double figures. I also hear that some of the biggest names in the US Republican elite are now expected including former Secretaries of State Kissinger and Baker and former Vice-President Dick Cheney. 

The Speaker has announced a decision to silence Big Ben while the funeral for Margaret Thatcher is taking place. It was last silenced for Winston Churchill’s funeral and then before that for two years in the first world war to make it harder for German zeppelins to spot Parliament … although it’s been silenced for maintenance from time to time.

Respect MP George Galloway will mount an attempt to stop the cancellation of this week’s prime minister’s questions (abandoned by No. 10 because it coincides with the funeral service) but may not get his chance until later into the evening.

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7 reader comments

  1. Eamonn Fitzpatrick says:

    Even I’m shutting down my Market Stalls on Wednesday the first time ever and I’v been trading on Northampton Market for over 50 yrs…looking forward to a great day on tellie

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    If there is a clock stop to remember and respect, it is this one:

    But I wouldn’t have expected Thatcher to understand it.

  3. Rod Coldwell says:

    This entire funeral “thing” is getting out of hand. It is becoming both offensive and obscene to many, many people. The fact that one of the most un-christian (in the true sense) leaders of modern history has a funeral service in one of the world’s most famous cathedrals makes a mockery of religion. The Church of England, who are conducting the service, should be ashamed of themselves for going along with the entire process. Having lived and suffered through the Tharcher years, it is time to say – enough is enough!

  4. Philip says:

    She really should be embalmed & placed in a glass coffin, like Lenin. So countless millions could go and worship her – and doubtless miracles could occur there. Is God ready for He Divine Radiance?
    This is OTT & just fuels the continuing divisiveness that she bequeathed to us.

  5. Ray Turner says:

    PMQ’s is no loss.
    What a charade that is every week.

    Backbench Tories ask questions that have been planted and which are designed to make the PM and the Government look good.

    The Leader of the opposition is obliged to try to land a few political punches on the PM and the PM is obliged to shrug them off.

    At the end of it all, we’re usually none the wiser.

    Thanks Maggie. By having your funeral co-incide with PMQ’s, causing it to be cancelled, you’ve finally been of service to the nation…

  6. Carol Evans says:

    Is it me? Same news bulletin, £10million for the funeral, £46million for one day of the tube strike, which one do we want to show the world?

  7. Victor Meldrew says:

    I wonder what makes George tick?

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