POLITICS

Margaret Thatcher Statue In Grantham Voted Down By Conservative Councillors

04/03/2013 08:53 GMT | Updated 04/03/2013 09:03 GMT

Conservatives have voted against a plan to build a statue of Margaret Thatcher in her hometown of Grantham, an idea that was backed by Labour councillors.

Labour councillors at South Kesteven District Council said they believed the statue would be a tourist attraction in the town where the Iron Lady grew up, which currently only has a small plaque on the wall of the store, which Thatcher's family owned.

Tories in the town called Labour's campaign "blatant electioneering" and "publicity-seeking", according to the Telegraph.

thatcher statue

Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher stands next to her larger than life marble statue, which was unveiled at the Guild Hall, London

The statue does not appear to have a great deal of local support. In a letter to the Grantham Journal, local resident Anthony Hindmarch wrote: "I think it is safe to say that anyone who thinks tourism is going to result from the erection of a statue of Thatcher, is probably living in cloud cuckoo land.

"Personally I loathe Maggie and all she stood for.

"All I ask is that no public money be used to erect any statue.

"The economic wasteland that is Grantham, is testament enough to Thatcherism."

A potential statue of Thatcher in the town has chequered history. In February it was rumoured that another statue, the one decapitated with a cricket bat and iron bar by an angry vandal, would be given to Grantham museum.

Jayne Robb, the manager of the museum, for claiming that the £150,000 white marble statue had been offered to the Lincolnshire town.

That statue has since been restored, and is on display in the Guildhall.

But Labour councillors still believe there is demand for a statue, even if the museum's claims last month were fantastical. On Friday, the Labour group presented a budget amendment proposing a competition for local artists to design a statue in the town, according to the Grantham Journal.

Labour leader Charmaine Morgan, acknowledging the controversy around building a new statue, said in the council meeting: 'Last year £11billion was spent by tourists in our region. Many of those tourists came up from London.

"In the interest of our community the Labour Group is therefore proposing that we act together as council to put an end to the uncertainty about how we will celebrate this remarkable character as a daughter of Grantham.

"We ask that all parties join us and support our proposal to have a competition which will enable the participation of local educational establishments and artists to produce a suitable statue alongside an exhibit which explores Lady Thatcher's life and examines what made her such a controversial and internationally recognised figure - even today."

But the proposal was overwhelmingly defeated by the Conservative-led council, which has 38 Conservative councillors to Labour's seven and 12 Independents with one Lib Dem.

Councillors voted 40 against and only seven in favour.

Labour proposed hosting the statue in the town's museum, with Morgan telling the BBC in February when it was rumoured that the beheaded statue would come to the town, that hosting it outdoors would be "asking for trouble".