Controversial Margaret Thatcher statue vandalised for a third time ahead of unveiling

A cup of coffee was thrown at the statue ahead of its unveiling on Tuesday Credit: ITV News

A statue of Margaret Thatcher has been officially unveiled in Grantham in Lincolnshire - but has been attacked for a third time.

The depiction of Britain's first female Prime Minister and former Conservative party leader is situated in her hometown, and was officially opened by Members of The Public Memorials Appeal who funded it, and members of the council.

The decision to erect a statue of Ms Thatcher has sparked controversy.

The monument, which cost £300,000, was reportedly egged within hours of being put up on May 15 by a staff member from Leicester university.

The university later said it "does not condone defacement," and said it would investigate the matter internally.

On Saturday, the statue was splattered with red paint, and reports suggest the statue had a cup of coffee thrown over it ahead of the unveiling today.

Speaking about the spate of vandalism, South Kesteven District Council released a statement saying they were "aware of the damage caused to the Baroness Thatcher memorial at St Peter's Green in Grantham and the protective fencing around it, and is working with internal and external partners, including the police, to resolve this."

"The damage is being assessed and work is being planned to restore the memorial to its original condition."

Who was Margaret Thatcher, and why is her legacy controversial?

Margaret Thatcher was leader of the Conservative party between 1975 and 1990, and Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, winning three general elections.

Her strong leadership style led to her being styled as the 'Iron Lady' and she was praised for recapturing the Falklands Islands during the 1982 war with Argentina.

Controversially, her economic policies led to a series of clashes with unions, perhaps most prominently during the Miners Strike of 1984-85.

Her introduction of a so-called poll tax in 1990 was also incredibly unpopular, contributing to her ousting as leader by members of her own party later that year.

University of Leicester condemns 'defacement' as employee accused of egging Thatcher statue