For the first time ever in the known history of Portcullis House
..there came before us, unsuspecting Westminster villagers, something of a mirage: the figure of the Rt Hon Baroness Thatcher looking heavenly in a sharp-cut royal (Tory) blue suit.
She sat under the glazed roof of the central courtyard of Portcullis House – the building completed about five years ago and housing 210 Members of Parliament and their staff at a cost of about £1 million per MP. Her guests were held in thrall and she was lost in concentrated discussion. To her observers, however, she beamed something altogether different: her filigree hairstyle and immaculate chic suit looked more wonderful than anything most of us had ever seen. As a distraction to those in the coffee area, she would occasionally emphasise a point by tapping on her ivory knees peeping out from her outfit and stretch out her slender calves as an afterthought.
Most of us were sitting in her shadow at a discreet distance along the row of fig trees (installed at a cost of £150,000 as an energy-efficient device for keeping the building cool in the summer). We were mesmerised by this moment of living history in Parliament.
A waiter, also hovering around an invisible ring around her gasped: “What a great lady. I have a book two inches thick about her at home, she hasn’t changed a bit”.
Panning over to the neighbouring cafe table – none other than
Clare Short…..plucky with the prospect of Question Time this evening.
(Access to Margaret Thatcher Foundation *here*)