Delegates applauded after former Prime Mininster’s death
The news of Margaret Thatcher’s death was greeted with cheers and applause at the National Union of Students’ (NUS) national conference this afternoon.
According to reports from the hall in Sheffield, in an introductory greeting to the conference, a woman on stage said: “This is a day I’ll never forget. For those of you who’ve seen the news, you’ll know what I mean.”
Cheering and applause reportedly followed from “around 30 or 40 people.”
Loughborough student Jago Pearson, who is at the conference, told The Tab: “There was a significant reaction to it [the news of Thatcher's death] I’d say it was around 30 or 40 people doing it.
“This didn’t come from the NUS leadership, it was the delegates.”
An NUS spokesman denied Thatcher’s death had been mentioned on the conference floor.
Students reacted on Twitter:
I'm pretty sure that I just watched NUS Conference applauding the death of Thatcher? Absolutely unbelievable.
— Helen Crossley (@helencrossley) April 8, 2013
— Aimee 'Archie' Lyons (@ArchieLyons) April 8, 2013
— Joanna Barrow (@JoBarrow) April 8, 2013
Speaking at the conference later in the day, NUS President Liam Burns moved to distance the Union from the cheering. He said:
“Following misrepresentations on Twitter, I feel that I have to respond to Margaret Thatcher’s death.
“Now, let me be clear, I’m the last person to agree with Margaret Thatcher’s politics or her policy record as prime minister. But we must not forget that an elderly woman has just died. She had family, friends, colleagues and supporters who will want to pay their respects at this time, and the media and public debate will now be dominated by this unexpected news.
“It’s not just that this would reflect extremely badly upon us if we were to show disrespect at this time. We are better than that. We believe there is such thing as humanity. There is such a thing as sensitivity. And there is such a thing as respect. I ask you all to think very carefully indeed about how you respond to this news as conference continues.”