News of the Iron Lady’s death travelled in waves of whispers through the 500-strong audience of delegates at the National Union of Students’ annual Conference.
Soon after, the NUS Chief Returning Officer announced on stage: "This is a day I'll never forget, and if you look at the news headlines you'll know what I'm talking about." Reports of what followed vary but it appears that an 'audible minority' at the back of the hall did applaud and cheer at this point.
The twitter backlash was immediate - hundreds took to social media to condemn the response, with some delegates distancing themselves from the perpetrators.
Another delegate to the Conference, Joshua Dixon from Brunel University, tweeted; "People around me visibly happy. I'm stunned."
The uproar on Twitter was quickly recognised by President Liam Burns, who soon appeared on stage to interrupt proceedings with a short speech:
"Following misrepresentations on Twitter, I feel that I have to respond to Margaret Thatcher's death.
"Now, let me be clear, I'm the last person to agree with Margaret Thatcher's politics or her policy record as prime minister. But we must not forget that an elderly woman has just died. She had family, friends, colleagues and supporters who will want to pay their respects at this time, and the media and public debate will now be dominated by this unexpected news.
"It's not just that this would reflect extremely badly upon us if we were to show disrespect at this time. We are better than that. We believe there is such thing as humanity. There is such a thing as sensitivity. And there is such a thing as respect. I ask you all to think very carefully indeed about how you respond to this news as conference continues."Reuse content