Boris Johnson: Expert on how Margaret Thatcher inspired PM
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Tory Party members were met by thousands of protesters as they made the biennial political pilgrimage to Manchester for party conference. In footage shared by the Manchester Evening News, protesters can be heard chanting “Tories out”, “free Palestine” and “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, dead, dead, dead”.
Local Labour councillor Rabnawaz Akbar and the MP for Manchester Gorton Afzal Khan were pictured amongst the protesters.
But a banner making reference to a threat issued by the IRA after the Brighton bombing banner attack was also spotted draped over a bridge in nearby Salford.
The banner read: “Remember we only have to be lucky once!”
Greater Manchester Police have since removed the banner.
The city’s Mayor, ex-Labour MP Andy Burnham, responded by saying: “This is a city-region that respects the right to protest but will never accept any threat of violence and we condemn this unequivocally.”
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The Conservative MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricant also replied to the image.
“Having almost destroyed themselves with internal fights in Brighton, the socialists now turn their vile thoughts to Manchester.” he said.
“Such a nasty bunch of unelectable losers.”
The exact same threat was made in a statement issued by the IRA after terrorist Patrick Magee attempted to assassinate Margaret Thatcher at the Brighton Grand Hotel in 1984.
The IRA’s statement said: “Mrs Thatcher will now realise that Britain cannot occupy our country and torture our prisoners and shoot our people in their own streets and get away with it.
“Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once.
“You will have to be lucky always.”
The Iron Lady responded on the morning of the attack by telling members at conference: “The bomb attack on the Grand Hotel early this morning, was first and foremost an inhuman, undiscriminating attempt to massacre innocent, unsuspecting men and women staying in Brighton for our Conservative conference.”
She added: “But the bomb attack clearly signified more than this.
“It was an attempt not only to disrupt and terminate our conference; it was an attempt to cripple Her Majesty’s democratically elected Government.
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“That is the scale of the outrage in which we have all shared, and the fact that we are gathered here now, shocked but composed and determined, is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.”
The IRA’s bombing of Brighton killed five people and injured another 34.
But this is not the first time the Conservatives have been met with menacing banners as they arrive in Cottonopolis.
Two effigies were reported to have been hung under a bridge with the message “130,000 killed under Tory rule, time to level the playing field” when delegates met in 2019.
Two years earlier, another display read: “Hang the Tories”.
Despite the threatening banner, Greater Manchester Police have claimed the protesters passed through the city “peacefully”.
“Protest marchers making their way through Manchester city centre are passing through peacefully on the first day of the Conservative Party conference,” they said on Twitter.
While Manchester appears to have become a hotbed for anti-Conservative protest, voters in the city’s 27 constituencies elected 9 Tory MPs in 2019.
The last time the Conservative Party had more than 9 MPs in Greater Manchester was in 1987 when 10 Tory Mancunians followed Mrs Thatcher into the House of Commons.
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