Baroness Thatcher's funeral: Senior Scots politicians pay respects

Margaret Thatcher's coffin lies in St Paul's cathedral
Image caption Margaret Thatcher's coffin lies in St Paul's Cathedral

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson were among guests who attended the funeral of Baroness Thatcher.

The former prime minister, who died last week aged 87, was given a ceremonial funeral.

A debate on her legacy which was due to be held at the Scottish Parliament has been postponed.

Following her funeral, Ms Davidson said Lady Thatcher's family had "carried themselves exceptionally well".

The MSP, and her deputy Jackson Carlaw, were among more than 2,000 guests at the St Paul's Cathedral service.

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Media captionAlex Salmond: "In some ways it was her social policies in particular that set the ball rolling for a renewed vigour to have a Scottish Parliament."

Lady Thatcher's coffin, draped in the Union flag, was brought to the Palace of Westminster on Tuesday, where it remained until Wednesday morning.

Flags were lowered to half mast on government buildings, before a gun carriage took her body to the cathedral.

After the hour-long service, Ms Davidson told BBC Scotland: "I thought the Bishop of London gave a moving, a very straight, very dignified eulogy about some of the private aspects of Margaret Thatcher, the woman, as well as about some of the politics of Baroness Thatcher, the PM.

"And beyond that I thought the family themselves carried themselves exceptionally well."

Ahead of the funeral, Mr Salmond said he believed people should not celebrate the death of Lady Thatcher.

A rally is planned in Glasgow's George Square later.

Mr Salmond told the BBC he respected people's right to disagree with the former prime minister's policies but said "people shouldn't celebrate anybody's passing".

He said: "It is important we [the Scottish government] attend the funeral, I do on behalf of the people of Scotland and do so properly because that is the right thing to do in terms of the funeral - but I can well understand why many, many people would see that sort of cost as disproportionate.

Image caption The service at St Paul's Cathedral took about an hour

"I don't think anyone should celebrate anybody's death and I say people shouldn't celebrate anybody's passing but people are entitled absolutely, absolutely entitled, to put forward their point of view."

Mr Salmond described Lady Thatcher as the "hand maiden of a return of Scottish democracy" because he argued her time in government helped create the Scottish Parliament.

Scotland Office Minister David Mundell said that Lady Thatcher had put Britain "back on the world stage".

'Great legacy'

He was speaking to BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme ahead of the funeral.

Scotland's only Conservative MP Mr Mundell said: "I think the funeral being held is appropriate for Mrs Thatcher, not just in terms of her electoral success, a period in office, the longest continuous non-war period in office, but also her standing in the world community."

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Media captionDavid Mundell: "I think the funeral being held is appropriate for Mrs Thatcher."

He added that she put "Britain back on the world stage" and she has left a "great legacy".

Ahead of the funeral, Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran said Lady Thatcher "had a legacy of division".

Despite that, the Labour MP stressed: "She was a mother, she was a grandmother, that has to be recognised, so the tone of criticism has to be correct.

"But it would be disrespectful to Margaret Thatcher herself if we did not recognise the political impact she had and the controversy that she stimulated."

Ms Curran said she "did not know if it was appropriate" for protests to take place on the day of a funeral.

When asked if dancing in the streets was acceptable in the wake of a death, she stated: "I don't think that's acceptable.

"I don't agree with the tone of some of the death parties, as it were, I don't think that's the right method. The best way to challenge Margaret Thatcher is to challenge her politics, and challenge the legacy she has left and determine that we will never go down that route again."

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell attended the funeral.

He said Lady Thatcher remained a commanding figure in British politics having been the first female prime minister and winning three consecutive general elections.

Sir Menzies told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Whatever your political view, you must surely acknowledge that this is a woman of very great achievement."

He went on to say that Lady's Thatcher's handling of the Falklands war marked out her bravery and courageousness.

Debate postponed

The funeral route was lined with military personnel. One of the bearer party who carried the coffin was from the Scots Guards. L/Sgt Paul Quayle, 31, comes from East Kilbride.

On Tuesday it was announced that a debate on Margaret Thatcher's legacy in Scotland, due to take place at Holyrood, was being rescheduled so as not to coincide with the day of her funeral.

Green and Independent MSPs had chosen to use their allotted parliamentary time on Wednesday to hold the debate, called "There is still such a thing as society".

The Scottish Conservatives had branded the timing "provocative and insensitive".

After a meeting of the parliament's business bureau the debate was moved to Thursday.

Meanwhile, up to 200 people gathered in Glasgow's George Square for what organisers described as a remembrance rally for the "victims" of Lady Thatcher's period of office, among them Ravenscraig steelworkers and employees of former factories in Bathgate, Cumnock and Linwood.

Prominent left-winger Tommy Sheridan, a former MSP who helped lead the protests against the poll tax, told the rally: "We are not here to show respect to a woman who showed no respect for us.

"The message today is we don't respect you either."