Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Mp's Should be Free to Slate Thatcher

By Ben Aulakh

A veteran West Midlands Labour MP says fellow members of his party should be free to slate the late Margaret Thatcher as a woman who showed “brutal contempt” to millions of working people.

The former prime minister died in her sleep aged 87 while staying at London’s Ritz hotel on Monday night.

Walsall North MP David Winnick has said Labour MP’s should be free to criticise the former Conservative prime minister in a planned debate in parliament on her death.

Parliament is being called back from its Easter recess early for the debate, for only the 15th time in the last 32 years, the last time was in the wake of the riots which swept the country in 2011.

Mr Winnick’s calls for Labour MP’s to be allowed to criticise Mrs Thatcher is in defiance of the party’s leader Ed Miliband’s urge for his MP’s to respond to Mrs Thatcher’s death in a “respectful manner.”

Mr Winnick told The Guardian, “It would be absolutely hypocritical, if those of us who were opposed at the time to what occurred, the mass unemployment, the poverty, were to remain silent when the house is debating her life.

“Obviously when a person dies one regrets it, but what I do regret first and foremost is the immense harm, certainly in the West Midlands, where deindustrialisation occurred.

“Even if it could be argued that some of it was inevitable, the manner in which it was done, the brutal contempt towards those who were innocent victims, it was absolutely disgraceful.”

The parliamentary debate will begin at 2.30pm this afternoon, with a speech by prime minister David Cameron, followed by David Miliband and deputy prime minister nick Clegg, before MP’s pay their respects.

Mr Winnick has also criticised the late Mrs Thatcher as someone who would have implacably opposed the welfare state, built by his party during the 1940’s and 1950’s.

“Thatcher would have opposed at the time everything the labour government of 1945 started to do, bringing about the welfare state, the NHS, national insurance, she would have looked upon it with absolute distaste.” 

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