Acrimony lingers as Grantham mulls Maggie statue
Grantham's museum is going ahead with plans for a statute of Margaret Thatcher – but its consultation on her 'pose and exact location' is being overshadowed by controversy.
The local Labour party had wanted the statue, which will be placed alongside a statue of Isaac Newton outside the museum, to be paid for out of the public purse.
But the statue can now be paid for privately after a wave of donations followed Thatcher's death on April 8th – one month to the day after the campaign for a statute was launched.
Helen Goral, the director of Grantham museum, said the local Labour party was now opposing the statue, despite the fact it is being paid for privately. She called the fresh move "rank hypocrisy of the highest order".
"Donations have come from both the local area and further afield, which I think is testament to the support she has across the country," she told Politics.co.uk.
"She's always going to be divisive but she wasn't the longest serving prime minister this country's had for no reason.
"We are an educational charity and what we are trying to do is recognise the heritage and history of the town."
Goral claimed the "majority" of people in Grantham, which is currently held by the Tory minister Nick Boles, backed the proposals.
A YouTube video on the statue's website showed Grantham's former Labour party chair David Burling voicing his approval.
"Margaret Thatcher provides a role model to our girls to show a woman can succeed and achieve greatness in a male-dominated world," he said.
"You look back at the 1970s and all she achieved at that time. To say that couldn't be celebrated or recognised would be false."
Three options for the statute, showing the Iron Lady in different poses, have now been published for consultation on the statute website.
Initial drawings by a local artist show options in which her position and exact location are slightly different, are to be available in the museum for locals to comment on.
Some reports had suggested one option putting the former Tory party leader on a plinth was being put forward because this would make it harder for vandals to damage the artwork.
Goral denied that was a factor but acknowledged: "Security is something we have to take into consideration."