Hampstead MP Glenda Jackson has ‘no regrets’ over attack on Margaret Thatcher in Commons
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Hampstead MP Glenda Jackson says she has no regrets after launching a vitriolic attack on Margaret Thatcher in the House of Commons.
The Labour MP said Baroness Thatcher was a woman but “not on my terms” during a special House of Commons debate on Wednesday in tribute to the former prime minister, who died two days before.
Ms Jackson, 76, was loudly jeered by Conservative MPs sitting in the Commons as she ripped into Baroness Thatcher and her policies.
The former two time Oscar-winning actress said that when she became an MP in 1992 “Thatcherism was still wreaking, and had wrought for the previous decade, the most heinous social, economic and spiritual damage upon this country, upon my constituency and upon my constituents”.
Following her speech, the Hampstead and Kilburn MP’s office has been inundated with e-mails from members of the public wishing to comment on the views expressed by Ms Jackson in the Commons.
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Ms Jackson said: “I’ve had 2,000 e-mails. Of the 1,000 we’ve had the chance to look at – 900 are supporting what I said and 100 are not.
“Essentially they are saying I didn’t mean it personally. I stood up there and spoke my mind.
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“I spoke about my experience of Thatcherism and my constituents’ experience of Thatcherism.”
Asked if she thought she had crossed the line by questioning Baroness Thatcher’s claim to be a woman, she said: “I’m a woman, I think I’m allowed to voice my opinion.”
Ms Jackson also hit back at critics who claimed her tirade was insensitive to Baroness Thatcher’s family, claiming her relatives “didn’t have to listen”.
In a poll conducted on the Ham&High’s website, 63 per cent of readers said Ms Jackson was “right” to voice her opinion of Mrs Thatcher during the Commons debate, while 37 per cent disagreed.
But Hampstead councillor Simon Marcus, who will challenge as Conservative parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn when Ms Jackson steps down at the next general election, was unimpressed.
“I was shocked – there seemed to be a lot of hate and anger in her words and that’s normally borne of ignorance,” said Cllr Marcus.
“Thatcher did a lot for many people and obviously some suffered, but I think the country was far better off for her leadership.”
Former Conservative MEP Stanley Johnson, a Regent’s Park resident, said: “Baroness Thatcher had strong views and wasn’t scared to express them so I think she’d be happy to extend that opportunity to Glenda Jackson.
“I thought she was a fine woman, a remarkable woman.
“While I totally respect Glenda Jackson’s right to say what she had to say, from my own personal point of view, I think Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain and dragged it out of the slough it had fallen into.”
Mr Johnson will be one of more than 2,000 guests in attendance at Baroness Thatcher’s funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday next week.