POLITICS

Tony Blair And George Bush To Be Reunited At Margaret Thatcher's Funeral

11/04/2013 12:45 BST

Tony Blair and George W. Bush are likely to be reunited at Margaret Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday, as all surviving former US presidents have been given an invitation.

Following her death on Monday, Bush praised Thatcher as an "inspirational leader" who "stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity".

Blair and Bush formed a strong alliance over their decision to launch the invasion of Iraq ten years ago, much to the dismay of many on the left in Britain given the Republican president's conservative views.

The funeral invitation list also includes presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W Bush and Bill Clinton. Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton as well as a representative of the Reagan family have also been invited.

Those invited to Thatcher's funeral have been asked to observe a strict dress code including full day ceremonial "without swords" and dark suits. Medals and Decorations many be worn. Women are required to wear a day dress with a hat

The guest list of 2,000 people also includes Gordon Brown and John Mayor as well as all surviving members of Thatcher's cabinets. David Cameron's current cabinet are invited, as is Ed Miliband and his top team.

Other leading political figures expected to attend include Michael Portillo and Thatcher's one time foreign secretary Lord Carrington.

F.W. de Klerk, the last president of apartheid-era South Africa has been invited, as has a representative of Nelson Mandela.

Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson and singer Dame Shirley Bassey are also invited.

Downing Street has said VIP invitations are white and those guests will be seated under the dome of the Cathedral – they have a red or green stripe – which designates port or starboard.

St Paul’s has a capacity of 2,300 and is expected to be full on the day. All other invitations are different colours – depending on where the seat is in the Cathedral.

Margaret Thatcher Life In Pictures

Ministers were yesterday forced to defend spending public money on the funeral of a figure who remains so controversial.

Downing Street confirmed that there would be a contribution made from Lady Thatcher's estate, but said the cost to the taxpayer would not be disclosed until after the service had taken place.

The event has been codenamed "True Blue", and a co-ordination committee will be meeting every day to finalise the arrangements.

Today, a spokesman for former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said he would not be attending the funeral due to health problems.

The 82-year-old, who paid tribute to Lady Thatcher as a "heavyweight politician and a striking person" following her death on Monday, was widely rumoured to be one of many global figures to attend next week's ceremonial funeral.

Scotland Yard said today that it is working with City of London Police (CoLP) and British Transport Police (BTP) to finalise planning and preparations for the policing operation for the funeral.

Police officers will be stationed along the funeral cortege's route, and road closures will be in place, as well as a range of security measures.