Local Conservatives Recall Margaret Thatcher In Chiswick
She visited while she was Prime Minister and during the last election campaign
Local Conservative Party politicians have recalled the links between Chiswick and the late Margaret Thatcher.
The Chiswick Town Hall and the Civic Centre in Hounslow will fly flags at half mast on the day of her funeral next Wednesday.
MP Mary Macleod said she was very sad to hear of the death of Baroness Thatcher, who had inspired her to enter politics. Margaret Thatcher visited Chiswick three years ago and Mary recalled meeting her at the Station House in Grove Park when she was running for election for the Brentford/Isleworth constituency.
Mary described her as "a great leader ... someone who served the nation and believed passionately in Britain.
Councillor Robert Oulds, who is chairman of the Chiswick Area Forum said that as Director of the Bruges Group, (a Eurosceptic think-tank set up in 1989) he had met Mrs. Thatcher on many occasions as she was its President. He recalled that as Prime Minister, she had opened the local Conservative campaign office on the Chiswick High Road in the 1980s. Councillor Oulds will be amongst the 2,000 people, including the Queen and Prince Philip, all surviving Prime Ministers and past US Presidents, attending the funeral at St. Paul's Cathedral next Wednesday.
The photograph shows Mrs. Thatcher being shown the new computer system when she opened the Brentford & Isleworth Conservative Association headquarters in Chiswick on Jan 15th, 1988. Also in the picture is Mr Bill Beckwith who was President of the Association at the time. Watching is Mrs Jo Langton who was the Chairman of the Association. Mrs Thatcher had been welcomed by Barney Hayhoe (now Lord Hayhoe) who was the MP at the time.
Cllr Oulds (pictured below) recalled telling Mrs. Thatcher several years ago that he was thinking of running for the local council and asked her opinion. "Her eyes lit up. She said ' oh good, you'll enjoy it'. She said she really enjoyed her time in local government as she found it a really rewarding time" he said, adding that he was very sad to hear of her passing.
In a statement, Mary Macleod said: "Primarily, she will be remembered for her strong leadership, clear thinking, courage and conviction. Her achievements were outstanding and her impact was immense.
"As the first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher showed that nothing is impossible. As a child of the Thatcher era, she was an inspiration and role model to me and part of the reason that I am a Member of Parliament today.
"She visited Chiswick in my constituency in March 2010 to help campaign for my election and still had the aura and presence of a world leader that filled the room. Her values were centred on hard work, self-determination and freedom – all principles that are just as important today as they were then. She did what she thought was right, not necessarily what was popular. She put her country first and she did her nation proud.
The Labour Party also issued a statement following the death of Baroness Thatcher.
Stephanie Lang, Secretary, Chiswick Branch, Labour Party said;
“We believe that in death, as in life Margaret Thatcher’s reputation has been overblown in comparison to that of Clement Attlee. Attlee was a team player and headed a Government that changed Britain for the better. It united the people of this country around a common purpose: to banish unemployment, ill-health and poverty in old-age. It was successful in doing so. The legacy of Margaret Thatcher’s Government has been persistent unemployment and economic insecurity. It changed Britain for the worse. Attlee’s funeral was a modest, simple affair. In death, as in life, the contrast could not be greater.”
Councillor Robert Oulds said that following a request made by him, he can confirm that both the Union Flag at Chiswick Town Hall as well as the one at the Civic Centre in Hounslow will be flown at half-mast on the day of Baroness Thatcher's funeral.
"This is very gracious of the London Borough of Hounslow and I am pleased that they have taken this decision. Baroness Thatcher was a remarkable figure in this country's history. It is right that the Council are marking her funeral with this gesture.
"It is not partisan as I can recall attending with Baroness Thatcher the unveiling of a statute of her which was unveiled by non-other than the then left-wing London Labour MP Tony Banks. He praised her role in history as Britain's first female Prime Minister."
The Labour Party secretary in Chiswick, Stephanie Lang said: :" Our view is that the Council should follow the standard operating procedures for ceremonial funerals. Which in general would probably mean flying the flag at half-mast. Ceremonial funerals were held for Lady Di and the Queen Mother and I expect the flag was lowered for them."
A book of condolences is at the Chiswick Conservative Party office, 433 Chiswick High Road, W4 4AU.
April 13, 2013