» Monday, November 23, 2009

Baroness Thatcher

The PMS was asked why broadcasters were banned from the unveiling of the portrait of Baroness Thatcher today in Number Ten, to which he replied they were not. However, he stated that it was a private event and that Number Ten decide in consultation with those people involved in any particular event how the event would be treated; as private or public. The PMS reminded the Lobby that there were photo opportunities on the doorstep of Number Ten on the arrival and departure of Baroness Thatcher and that it was a decision made in consultation with Baroness Thatcher’s office. He added that it was a special and historic occasion.

The Prime Minister made a short speech in which he thanked Baroness Thatcher for the contribution she had made to the country over many years and pointed out that there were relatively few prime ministers who had ever had portraits commissioned of them either during or after their time in Number Ten. Baroness Thatcher very graciously thanked the Prime Minister and there were a number of people from the days when she was in Number Ten in attendance; former advisors and officials.

When asked whether Downing Street would release any of the photos or an image of the portrait, the PMS said that if we were to do anything then it would be in consultation with Baroness Thatcher and if so then we would let the Lobby know.

When asked how much the portrait had cost, the PMS replied that he didn’t know; that it was from a private donor.

He was than asked if Baroness Thatcher made a speech, to which he replied she did not; that she thanked the Prime Minister and then circulated among the guests.

The PMS was then asked whether she was the first living politician to have her portrait in Number Ten, the PMS said we were checking and would come back on that point.

When asked whether a guest list from the event would be released, the PMS replied that we did not routinely do so and we would not do so on this occasion. He did however confirm that among the guests were; Sir Bernard Ingham, Maurice Saatchi, John Cole, John Sergeant and Lord Butler.

original source.

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