Scargill 'makes brief response to Thatcher death'

Arthur Scargill in 2012 The miners strike was one of the defining moments of Lady Thatcher's premiership

Arthur Scargill reacted to news of Baroness Thatcher's death by telling a friend he was "alive", it has emerged.

The miners' leader, whose battle with the former prime minister was one of the defining moments of her leadership, learnt of her death via a text.

Ken Capstick told ITV he texted Mr Scargill "Thatcher dead" and he responded instantly "Scargill alive".

Mr Scargill led a year-long strike of pit workers in 1984-5 as president of the National Union of Mineworkers.

He and other union leaders were controversially described as the "enemy within" by the then PM.

Speaking in the House of Lords on Wednesday, as peers paid tribute to Lady Thatcher, Lord Tebbit suggested Mr Scargill had expected to "bring down" her government. By confronting him and other union opponents she had helped to "preserve our democracy", the former Conservative chairman said.

But, in a parallel debate in the House of Commons, a series of Labour MPs spoke of the suffering and long-term damage done to mining communities by Conservative economic policies in the 1980s.

Michael Meacher said the former PM had "prepared for" an industrial conflict and "provoked" it.

Although Mr Scargill has not commented publicly on his former adversary's death, Mr Capstick, himself a former miner, told ITV about his reaction.

"I'd been talking to Arthur some 10 minutes earlier so I sent him a text message, a very short one, just said 'Thatcher dead'," he said. "I received one almost instantly saying 'Scargill alive!' and he's very much alive."

The funeral of the former PM, who died aged 87, will take place in London next Wednesday.

More on This Story

More UK Politics stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.