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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