MP accuses PM of Thatcher 'hijack'

A former Labour minister has said he will boycott Parliamentary tributes to Baroness Thatcher and has accused David Cameron of hijacking her death for party political gain.

John Healey, the former treasury and housing minister in the Blair and Brown years, said the Prime Minister was using Parliament as a platform for Tory Party ideology.

Mr Cameron has recalled MPs early from their Easter break to "consider the matter of tributes" to Lady Thatcher.

Tributes will also be paid by peers in the Lords.

Mr Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne in South Yorkshire, an area hit hard by coal mine closures, said Mr Cameron's references to the Lady Thatcher's economic reforms in his tribute to her on Monday were "partisan" and "divisive".

Writing on the PoliticsHome website, Mr Healey said: "Parliament is being used today for narrow political gain by the Prime Minister, as a platform for his party's ideology not just eulogy."

He went on: "He's wrong to recall Parliament, and wrong to hijack it in this way. I will play no part and I will stay away, with other things to do at home in the constituency."

Mr Healey said Wednesday's Commons session would not be balanced as there would be no opportunity to debate Lady Thatcher's legacy.

He said her ceremonial funeral next Wednesday was "a full-scale state funeral in all but name", adding that "her legacy is too bitter to warrant this claim to national mourning".