MPs and peers campaign for memorial to assassinated PM Spencer Perceval
PUBLISHED: 14:08 21 May 2012
Jonathan Goldberg 07958 229 037
Parliamentarians of all political stripes are calling for a new memorial to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Spencer Perceval.
The only British Prime Minister to have been killed, Mr Perceval lived for many years with his wife and children beside St Peter’s Church in Belsize Park while he carved out a career for himself in parliament.
But on the fateful day of May 11 1812, he made history for the wrong reasons as he walked into the lobby of the Palace of Westminster and was shot by John Bellingham.
Ulster Unionist life peer Lord John Laird is spearheading a campaign to install a plaque to mark the spot where Mr Perceval was shot dead - slumping in a pool of blood and whispering his final words ‘I’ve been murdered’.
Lord Laird said: “Westminster reeks of history and there are all sorts of monuments to people, yet here is a Prime Minister killed defending democracy without a plaque. It is bloody ridiculous.
“I know things can take a long time to get through the House of Lords, but 200 years is pushing it.
“We remember every other Prime Minister, good, bad and indifferent, we should remember Spencer Perceval.
“He was a good Prime Minister it is bloody ridiculous that here couple of old tiles to mark his death.”
John Bellingham, his assassin, was a merchant who had been imprisoned in Russia. He is believed to have hatched his plan after the government rejected his petitions for compensation.
Also a Camden resident, Bellingham practiced his deadly aim by firing shots in Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill.
His ancestor Henry Bellingham, Conservative MP for North West Norfolk, is among the group of parliamentarians who gathered to mark the assassination’s bicentenary on Friday, May 11.
Throwing his support behind the campaign for a lasting memorial, he said: “Spencer Perceval was cut down in his prime.
“It is pretty shabby not to have anything more substantial to commemorate his premiership and two hundred years on seems a good time to correct this.”
A House of Commons spokeswoman said they were not formally considering the proposals and warned that any memorial faced a lengthy approval process and would need the support of both chambers.