'It's absurd': Whoever egged Thatcher statue should 'take look at themselves', minister says

Margaret Thatcher's statue was egged within hours of it being installed. Credit: PA

A minister has said it is "absurd" that someone would want to throw an egg at Margaret Thatcher's statue, as she urged the person who did to take a "look at themselves".

Rachel Maclean was speaking to ITV News after a statue depicting Britain's first female prime minister was attacked within hours of it being erected in her home town of Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Police are investigating claims of criminal damage however no arrests have been made.

In a statement, Lincolnshire Police said it received reports of criminal damage at 10am on Sunday morning and "enquiries are still ongoing".

The egg landed at the front of the statue near the hem of Ms Thatcher’s skirt. Credit: PA

CCTV was installed around the £300,000 statue in anticipation of protests and vandalism, a Facebook group proposing an “egg-throwing contest” around the installation event attracted interest from more than 13,000 people.

Ms Maclean, the MP for Redditch, told ITV News: "I think it is frankly absurd that somebody would actually egg a statue of the first elected prime minister."

She added: "I think they really need to look at themselves."

Ms Thatcher was prime minister from 1979 to 1990 and was the longest serving of the 20th century.

Her social and economic legacy continues to divide opinion, nine years on from her death in April 2013, with strong feelings on both sides of the debate. 

A man, a university teacher called Jeremy Webster, was seen holding an egg carton in one hand and preparing to throw an egg from the other on Sunday.

Egg residue and a piece of shell could be seen on the statue’s lower half.

The University of Leicester, where Mr Webster is deputy director at the Attenborough Arts Centre, said it does "not condone any form of defacement".

Kerry Law, chief marketing and engagement officer at the University of Leicester, said: "The University of Leicester has a long-standing history of supporting art, fostering creativity and protecting creative freedom.

"It does not condone any form of defacement and takes any act of defacement extremely seriously.

"This matter will be addressed in line with the university's own procedures."

Passing motorists loudly booed the monument after it was unveiled, with one shouting “tear it down” and another saying “this is no good for Grantham, is it?”

The leader of South Kesteven District Council, Cllr Kelham Cooke, said he recognised Ms Thatcher was a "divisive figure" but it was important to mark that she was the first female prime minister.

A man was spotted throwing eggs at the statue in broad daylight. Credit: PA

“She was born and raised here and yes, there is CCTV and we will do all we can to protect it from vandalism,” he said.

She added: "We must never hide from our history and this memorial will be a talking point for generations to come.”

Graham Jeal, of the GCHA, said: “There has long been a conversation in Grantham about a more permanent memorial to the country’s first female prime minister who was an enormous political figure, both nationally and internationally.

“The delivery of the memorial has secured the museum for the next few years and has helped the museum finances survive the Covid pandemic.

“It is recognised that the full spectrum of views exist in Grantham about the legacy of Margaret Thatcher and an exhibition inside the museum illustrates this.”

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