Margaret Thatcher's funeral set for Wednesday 17 April as stalwart Kenneth Clarke accuses left and right of peddling 'myths' over former prime minister

Debate over former prime minister's legacy intensifies as ex-chancellor says 'she took no notice of opinion polls'

Political Editor

Margaret Thatcher’s funeral will be held next Wednesday, April 17, at St Paul’s Cathedral,  Downing Street announced today.

Number 10 said in a statement: “It was agreed this morning at the Government coordination meeting with the Thatcher family and Buckingham Palace that the funeral service of Lady Thatcher will take place on Wednesday 17 April at St Paul's Cathedral.”

Both the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will attend the ceremony, as well as dignitaries from around the world.

The streets will be cleared for a procession taking her body from parliament to St Paul's. She will be cremated at a private service afterwards. Parliament is expected to be suspended for the funeral, meaning the first Prime Minister's Questions session since the Easter break could be cancelled.

Meanwhile, the debate over Margaret Thatcher's legacy intensified today when Kenneth Clarke accused both the left and right of peddling "myths" about the former prime minister following her death yesterday.

Mr Clarke, who served as  a minister under Baroness Thatcher from 1979 until playing a key role in her enforced departure in 1990,  said she was not the right-wing figure portrayed by her left-wing opponents.  He declared that Britain would have been a "rust bucket ruin" if  she had not rescued the country's economy and said it was "a left-wing myth" that she destroyed manufacturing industry.

"She wasn't a right-wing ideologue at all, she had lots of incurable old wets like me in the Government," he said. "The country was on its knees when we took over - we were a laughing stock, an industrial, political laughing stock. And by the time she'd lost office, she'd transformed the country, given it back its self-confidence, given it a modern economy."

The Minister Without Portfolio, one of the few remaining pro-European senior Conservatives, insisted there was much more to Lady Thatcher than the Eurosceptic hailed by Tory Europhobes. "She was pro-European," he said of the woman who signed the Single European Act, which allowed the biggest extension of majority voting in EU decision-making. He claimed her landmark  1988 speech in Bruges, seen as a tablet of stone by Eurosceptics, would be regarded as "pro-European" if it were made  today.

Mr Clarke, the first Cabinet minister to tell Lady Thatcher she should stand down after failing to beat Michael Heseltine in the first round of the 1990 Tory leadership election, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I am almost amused….by the way she still polarises debate. The right and the left have created myths about her government. They are fighting them out over her memory.

"Some day somebody will have to write a sensible history of what actually happened. But this isn't the day. And it is a tribute to the woman who made more difference to life in this country than any politician in my lifetime - any peacetime politician. It was a privilege to work with her. Today is not the day to rewrite all these marvellous myths. It wouldn't have worked if it had been so simplistic as that. It actually did modernise and transform a failing country."

The former Chancellor added: "She gave us all the courage of our convictions. She took no notice of opinion polls, she didn't read newspapers, we argued ferociously about what was the right thing to do and then you got on with it. And she was extremely loyal to what you'd agreed to do. So it was very stirring to work for a conviction politician who was determined to make a difference."

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash