Page last updated at 08:57 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 09:57 UK

Thatcher to return to Chequers

Lady Thatcher, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown at a commemoration service at St Paul's Cathedral
Lady Thatcher's visit to Downing Street last year was controversial

Lady Thatcher is to visit Chequers, the prime minister's official country residence, on Saturday at the invitation of Gordon Brown.

The former premier will have lunch and is expected to take a tour of the grounds, which she became fond of during her 11 years in No 10.

Gordon Brown controversially invited Lady Thatcher to Downing Street soon after he took office last year.

Downing Street said Saturday's lunch was a "private" event.

Nostalgic return

It will mark Lady Thatcher's first visit to Chequers since 1995, when she was present for the unveiling of a stained glass window bearing her coat of arms.

The invitation is bound to cause political ripples given the strength of feeling towards the former PM in Conservative and Labour ranks.

Some Labour MPs were uneasy at the sight of Lady Thatcher, who defeated Labour in three general elections, being invited to No 10.

Many Tories, on the other hand, were angry that the former premier appeared to be being courted for political reasons.

The Chequers invitation is believed to have arisen from a conversation between Lady Thatcher and Gordon Brown in which she remarked on how much she loved the gardens there and wondered how they had changed over the years.

Lady Thatcher's daughter Carol recently spoke publicly for the first time about her mother's fight against the effects of dementia.

Thatcher dementia fight revealed
24 Aug 08 |  UK Politics
Brown welcomes Thatcher to No 10
13 Sep 07 |  UK Politics
PM denies 'exploiting' Thatcher
14 Sep 07 |  UK Politics
Brown greets Thatcher at No 10
13 Sep 07 |  UK Politics

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