City demonstration stops speech by Minister
Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, the Minister of Education, to-day cut short her speech at a ceremony to present the Document of Designation to the Liverpool Polytechnic, when about a dozen long-haired demonstrators interrupted her by chanting slogans and hurling leaflets from the balcony in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.
During the incident, the Lady Mayoress of Liverpool (Mrs. Ian Levin) was hit by an egg.
Mrs. Thatcher had started to give her speech before presenting the Document when about a dozen of the demonstrators threw a banner over the front of the balcony and began hurling leaflets issued by the Educational Democracy Group (Left Federation) of the Liverpool Polytechnic Guild of Students.
The demonstrators chanted “School milk, school meals,” and sang “If you all hate the Tories clap your hands” as Mrs. Thatcher spoke.
She broke off to tell them: “I have come here to hear about the work of the Polytechnic. I have come to see how the extra £75,000,000 I have made available has been spent.”
Mrs. Thatcher added: “There are people in this hall who are dedicated to doing their best for students. I hope that by your demonstrations you are not reducing the tremendous faith in the student community and in the contribution that it can make.”
While the students threw paper dares and continued to drop leaflets into the body of the hall, the chairman of the governors, Alderman H. Macdonald Steward, got up and said: “I would ask you to remember that in the Liverpool Polytechnic there are at this moment in time 5,000 students and the few hoodlums to whom you have been listening are only a minority.”
After about half an hour, two police officers went to the front row of the balcony and sat with the demonstrators, while a number of other officers waited at the rear.
After handing over the Document of Designation, Mrs. Thatcher received a vote of thanks from the Rector of the Polytechnic, Dr. Gerald Bulmer.
At a Press conference at the Town Hall, later, Mrs. Thatcher said she had been told by the students' president, Mr. Ian Adshead, that the protesters were not Polytechnic students.
Mrs. Thatcher, who was also in Liverpool to officially open the £1,000,000 Netherley Comprehensive School, was 17 minutes late arriving at Lime Street station after the engine pulling her train had failed at Crewe and a new one had to be brought on.