Louth and Horncastle MP Sir Peter Tapsell unwilling to be drawn on Margaret Thatcher

Louth and Horncastle MP Sir Peter Tapsell.
Louth and Horncastle MP Sir Peter Tapsell.

Louth and Horncastle MP Sir Peter Tapsell has declined to be drawn to give his views on former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who died on Monday.

Sir Peter, the Father of the House of Commons, was present but did not speak during the seven hour debate in Parliament on Wednesday when MPs were recalled from their Easter recess.

And during a visit to the cattle market in Louth on Thursday, he was equally uneager to speak on the Mrs Thatcher, who died on Monday aged 87.

“I made a special trip to London and back in a day to pay my respects,” he said. “But I to try speak (in the House of Commons) only when I have something definite to say.

“Many people there had served in her government, they all said the appropriate things.

“I’m not there to just pontificate on ceremonial occasions.”

However Sir Peter, who was elected to Parliament in the same year as Mrs Thatcher in 1959, did say he and his wife were hoping to attend Mrs Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday at St Paul’s Cathedral.

He said Prime Minister David Cameron’s opening speech on Mrs Thatcher on Wednesday was ‘splendid’.

“There were some very interesting anecdotes told by the people who served with her,” he said.

“I was always a friend of her husband Denis and she (Mrs Thatcher) invited me on several occasions to cocktails in her flat, but when she was Prime Minister I was just a backbencher.”

Sir Peter said he didn’t want to look back to 1959 as it was ‘such a long time ago’.

He did say however that he remembered Mrs Thatcher before she was an MP, ‘when she was a brunette’.

Around 2,300 guests have been invited to Baroness Thatcher’s funeral - including all her former Cabinet ministers, ex-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Nancy Reagan have also said health problems will prevent them attending next Wednesday - but Mrs Thatcher’s former Conservative nemesis Lord Heseltine will be there.

According to Downing Street, other guests so far include Tony Blair and wife Cherie, former South Africa leader FW de Klerk, and former Louth MP Lord Jeffrey Archer with wife Mary.