Stockton Tories boycott meeting over Thatcher snub

Ken Lupton Ken Lupton said the mayor had come under pressure from other political groups on the council

Conservative members of Stockton Council will not attend the authority's annual general meeting (AGM) after it was decided not to hold a minute's silence for Margaret Thatcher.

Independent mayor Lynne Apedaile said the authority had never held a silence for a national politician.

She offered condolences to Baroness Thatcher's family but said a precedent would not be set.

Tory group leader Ken Lupton said the mayor had a difficult decision to make.

Councillor Lupton said the mayor had come under pressure from other political groups who did not wish to celebrate Baroness Thatcher's life.

"We felt we would do something ourselves differently and not attend the AGM on this occasion," he said.

"I would have expected the other political groups and the independents to have respected their colleagues' views on this."

The council's AGM will take place on Wednesday, the same day as Baroness Thatcher's funeral.

Councillor Apedaile said it was "sad" the Conservative members would not attend.

"The council has never done a minute's silence for any national politician in the past so if we did it, it would set a precedent," she said.

"I have consulted the other political groups and I think there is still a lot of controversial feeling in this part of the world about Mrs Thatcher"

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