Meet Tim Bell, the man who said Mantel should be investigated by police

Don’t speak ill of the dead?

Timothy Bell, a friend and PR adviser to Margaret Thatcher, has condemned the author Hilary Mantel, describing a short story she has written in which the late Prime Minister is assassinated as “sick and deranged”.

What about freedom of expression?

The chairman of the multinational PR firm Bell Pottinger has claimed that the author ought to be investigated by the police. He told The Sunday Times: “If somebody admits they want to assassinate somebody, surely the police should investigate.”

Is it really that bad?

“The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher” tells the story of a woman who allows an assassin into her flat opposite the hospital where Baroness Thatcher is recuperating from an operation. It was published in The Guardian on Friday and was accompanied by an interview with Dame Hilary in which she described her “boiling detestation” of the former Prime Minister.

Not the Baroness’s biggest fan, then?

The Booker prize-winning writer revealed that she fantasised about killing Baroness Thatcher in 1983 when she spotted the Conservative leader, unguarded, from the window of her Windsor flat. But given that Baroness Thatcher died in April last year, it’s not clear what the police would investigate.

More: People are freaking out over Hilary Mantel's Thatcher story

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