Westcountry MPs pay their respects to Baroness Margaret Thatcher
Westcountry MPs will be among 2,000 guests at the ceremonial funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher at St Paul's Cathedral today.
Lady Thatcher, who was Prime Minister for 11 years from 1979, died on Monday last week. All Members of Parliament were invited to apply for invitations to the funeral.
Devon MPs attending are Conservatives Oliver Colvile (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport), Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon), Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton), Gary Streeter (South West Devon), Mel Stride (Central Devon) and Sarah Wollaston (Totnes).
Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter and former Cabinet minister, has also accepted an invitation. East Devon MP Hugo Swire, a Foreign Office Minister, will be laying a wreath at a the Commonwealth cemetery in Papua New Guinea, on an official visit.
Buy one get one free on main course and specials excludes fillet steaks and beef wellingtons
Must book to qualify and present voucher on arrival 01209860332
Contact: 01209 700617
Valid until: Wednesday, December 11 2013
Cornwall's three Conservative MPs – George Eustice (Camborne and Redruth), Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) and Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth) – are also attending.
Mr Stride said: "Margaret Thatcher was an outstanding leader ranking alongside Churchill. She made entrepreneurship and enterprise central to our nation. We owe her a great deal."
Mrs Murray said: "She showed everybody you could achieve what you wanted to. She encouraged people to better themselves."
Mr Bradshaw said: "The day of her funeral is not the day for debate about Lady Thatcher's legacy – but for quiet reflection, prayer for her soul and respecting the grief of those who mourn."
Lady Thatcher has been awarded a ceremonial funeral with military honours. It will be the first time the Queen has attended the funeral of a British Prime Minister since that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. An able seaman from RNAS Culdrose and a Taunton-based Royal Marine will also represent the Westcountry at the funeral today when they carry her coffin.
Corporal John Caulfield, 30, of 40 Commando, and Thomas Baker, 22, from Culdrose, will be among the pallbearers carrying the first female Prime Minister's coffin from St Clement's Dane church to an awaiting gun carriage, before walking alongside it, as her funeral procession makes its way to St Paul's Cathedral.
Former Teignbridge, Devon, Conservative MP Patrick Nicholls, a junior minister under Lady Thatcher, is another figure from the region attending, as is broadcaster Hugh Scully, who lives near Truro, who produced a four-part TV documentary, Thatcher: The Downing Street Years for the BBC in 1992.
The Government has been criticised for spending millions of pounds of taxpayers' cash on the event. Some opponents are set to stage protests on the procession route.
Downing Street announced yesterday former US vice-president Dick Cheney and ex-secretary of state Henry Kissinger are attending.
The pair do not form part of Barack Obama's official presidential delegation, which will be led by George Shultz and James Baker, who both served as secretaries of state during the Thatcher era.
Also on the list of attendees announced yesterday are Crown Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, and Olympics supremo and former Cornwall MP Lord Coe. Argentina's ambassador to London has declined an invitation, Downing Street said. No 10 invited Alicia Castro but did not extend an invitation to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner amid ongoing disputes over the Falklands' sovereignty.