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Thatcher's coffin in Parliament

The body of Baroness Thatcher is in a chapel inside the Houses of Parliament, where a service was held for MPs, peers and parliamentary staff. Her funeral takes place today.

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Bishop of Grantham: Ceremonial funeral 'a mistake'

The Anglican bishop of Baroness Thatcher's home town has described the scale and cost of her funeral as a "mistake" which may play into the hands of extremists.

The Bishop of Grantham, The Rt Revd Dr Tim Ellis, said the ceremonial event, costing up to £10 million, was "asking for trouble" amid divisions about the late prime minister's legacy.

In an interview with BBC Radio Lincolnshire, the bishop was asked whether the organisers of the funeral had "got it right" given criticism of its cost to the public purse.Dr Ellis replied: "I personally don't think that they have.

I think that in a context where there is manifestly great ill-feeling about her tenure and about her legacy, to then actually have a situation where we seem to be expecting the nation to glorify that with a £10 million funeral... I think any sensible person would say that that is asking for trouble.

It plays into the hands of those more extreme people who will use the funeral as an opportunity to promote certain political views.

I think it was probably a mistake.I think that perhaps what we should be doing is actually marking her as a person, perhaps somewhere in Grantham - a more low key but more personal way of marking that.And one which might bring together all the shades of opinion about her.

– The Rt Revd Dr Tim Ellis, Bishop of Grantham

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