Details of more than 2,000 guests being invited to Baroness Thatcher’s funeral were issued yesterday – including all her surviving former Cabinet Ministers, world leaders and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
Fresh information about the ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral was released as Lady Thatcher’s old political adversary Lord Kinnock revealed he would not be attending as he has a friend’s funeral to attend.
Ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former First Lady Nancy Reagan have said health problems will keep them away. Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been left off the list after a series of provocative comments about the Falklands.
Number 10 said the guest roster had been drawn up by Lady Thatcher’s family and representatives with the assistance of the Government and the Conservative Party.
More than 2,000 invitations are expected to be sent out today, with a total of 2,300 people set to pack St Paul’s.
According to Downing Street, confirmed guests so far include Sir John Major, Tony Blair and wife Cherie, Gordon Brown, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former South Africa leader FW de Klerk and novelist Lord Archer.
Singer Dame Shirley Bassey, composer Lord Lloyd-Webber and broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan are also due to attend the service, which will begin at 11am after Lady Thatcher’s body has been transported from Parliament with full military honours.
Lord Heseltine, who effectively forced Lady Thatcher out of office by mounting a leadership challenge in 1990, will be there with his wife, according to his office.
Downing Street confirmed Ms Kirchner was not on the list, but said Argentina’s ambassador to the UK could come.
Meanwhile, David Cameron has described some reaction to Lady Thatcher’s death as “pretty distasteful”.
The Prime Minister said he thought the majority of national feeling was to grieve for the loss of a great leader, but conceded that sections of society did not agree.
Speaking on a visit to Derby as campaigning got back under way ahead of key local elections next month, Mr Cameron said: “I think the overwhelming sense across the country, and you can see it yesterday in the House of Commons, is that we are mourning the loss of someone who gave a huge amount to this country, that was an extraordinary leader.”