David Cameron is giving his public backing to a £15 million Thatcher Museum at the same time as The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, National Rail Museum in York and Bradford’s National Media Museum face the threat of closure as a result of Treasury cuts.
The Prime Minister wants a museum modelled on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California. The memorial to Margaret Thatcher is likely to include a selection of her suits and handbags. The announcement comes just a few weeks after the controversy over the multi-million pound tax-payer bill for Lady Thatcher’s funeral.
Meanwhile the Science Museums Group which comprises the the three Northern Museums will see a £6 million cut in its budget in George Osborne’s spending review later this month. The severity of the cuts may lead to the closure of one or more of the museums.
Thatcher ‘s policies greatly amplified the so-called North South divide and Cameron risks further losing popularity North of Watford with the insensitive timing of his backing for a Thatcher Museum. The northerm museum cuts have already caused outrage with a huge on-line campaign and over 20,000 people signing a petition in 24 hours.
Withington MP John Leech, the Liberal Democrat culture spokesman has condemned the cuts and praised the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry: “It is part of our fabric here in Manchester, it inspires the hundreds of thousands who walk through its doors every year. I’ve raised this in Parliament as it’s vital we retain this fantastic museum for future generations.”