‘No handbag?’ Thatcher statue rejected

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

Westminster Council unanimously turned down the design for the 1.5-times lifesize statue – and suggested a handbag should feature in any revised design.

The plan was to have Mrs Thatcher in her House of Lords robes, but this was said not to do justice to her historic achievement in becoming the UK’s first female prime minister.

Chairman of Planning, Cllr Richard Beddoe, said: “The lack of family support and the committee’s concerns around the design of the proposed statue were the key determining factors in turning down this application.

“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, with an appropriate design and the support of her family.

Margaret Thatcher was well known for her handbags (pictured in 1990 in Paris)

Image: Margaret Thatcher was well known for her handbags (pictured in 1990 in Paris)

“The so called `10-year rule’ was not a reason for refusal in this case.

“We would welcome future proposals for a more appropriate statue of Baroness Thatcher, depicting her as prime minister, rather than the current design that shows her in the House of Lords and one that has clear and public support of her family.”

“I would respectfully suggest a handbag on any future design,” the councillor added.

Mrs Thatcher’s daughter, Carol, reportedly opposed the design because no handbag was included. The Conservative leader was famous for her selection of bags.

Other famous figures commemorated in Parliament Square include Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George.

Sculptor Douglas Jennings working on his statue of Lady Thatcher

Image: Sculptor Douglas Jennings working on his statue of Lady Thatcher

The planning committee received some objections because the ’10-year-rule’ had not been met. The guidance states a person must have been dead for a decade before a statue of them is erected.

However, the council rejected this and said Mrs Thatcher was a special case.

Theresa May last summer called for the statue – by sculptor Douglas Jennings – to go ahead despite worries it could be vandalised.

More from Margaret Thatcher

“There should be no suggestion the threat of vandalism should stop a statue of Margaret Thatcher from being put up,” said the PM.

Mrs Thatcher, who was prime minister between 1979 and 1990, died in 2013 aged 87.