Lord Heseltine, the malcontent minister who brought down Margaret Thatcher, hosted a Labour MP along with a 15ft statue of Communist dictator Lenin this weekend.
The 15ft statue forms part of the collection at his grade one listed mansion Thenford House.
Labour MP Brian Donohoe and Conservative Glyn Davies made a private visit to the house and stopped to pose for a photo with Lenin aka Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. The dictator became infamous after he killed 12,000 cassacks during the ‘Red Terror’ of 1919.
Heseltine was Conservative MP for Tavistock from 1966 to 1974 and then Henley from 1974 to 2001. He remains a leading light in the left-wing Tory Reform Group that reveres the legacy of Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, and are known to be firm opponents of Thatcherism.
In 1990 he challenged Thatcher for the leadership of the Conservative Party, although he did not win his move led to her resignation. Thatcher later described the incident as “treachery with a smile on its face” and the manner of her removal is often cited as the reason for divisions in the modern Conservative Party.
Thatcher remained popular in most of the party until her death, and despite his disloyalty Heseltine went on to be Deputy Prime Minister. He helped Thatcher’s replacement John Major lead the Conservatives to the 1997 general election, widely accepted to be the most disastrous election in living memory.
The Thenford House arboretum is rarely open to the public but the MPs were treated to a private tour. Mr Davies bragged on twitter about his visit:
What I wouldn’t expect to see in this garden. Brian Donahoe MP and me in Lenin’s shadow at The Heseltine Arboretum. pic.twitter.com/wfgOlVmVbD
— Glyn Davies (@GlynDaviesMP) October 14, 2014
It is not known why Heseltine was so keen to commemorate a Communist leader, but it is known that the statue has been there for sometime. Few photos exist of it because it is so rarely seen by members of the public.