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Heated exchanges in British Thatcher vote

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

British MPs on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to postpone Prime Minister's Questions so that ministers can attend the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, but not before Respect lawmaker George Galloway had delivered a stinging send-off.

The controversial MP joined forces with veteran Labour attack-dog Dennis Skinner to frustrate the government's vote, unleashing verbal tirades as Thatcher's body lay nearby in the Palace of Westminster's crypt chapel.

The ceremonial funeral for former prime minister Thatcher, who died April 8 aged 87, will be held at London's St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday, the usual time-slot of the prime minister's weekly parliamentary grilling.

"I am sorry but this is not a national funeral," Galloway told parliament. "You can only have a national funeral where there is a national consensus about the person being buried.

"That consensus does not exist in relation to Margaret Thatcher and no matter how oft people from the frontbenches fawn upon her, pour honeyed-words upon her, even outside of this House of course, tell lies about her and her record, that won't change."

Skinner argued that the lavish funeral proved there was "one rule for those at the top and another for those at the bottom.

"We are here talking about the thing that we sometimes suggest has gone away -- class," he added.

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries suggested that the debate be brought to a close with Thatcher's body being so close.

"Baroness Thatcher is actually laid yards away from us in her final night in this palace," she said.

"Does Mr Skinner not think that just on this night, when she is just yards away, that in the name of nothing other than good taste, that maybe it might be as well that we call this to an end?"

In the end, the motion was passed by 245 votes to 13.

Thatcher's coffin was taken to the Houses of Parliament, which she dominated for more than a decade, earlier Tuesday.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130416/heated-exchanges-british-thatcher-vote