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Baroness Thatcher dies aged 87

Margaret Thatcher has died aged 87 following a stroke on Monday. She will receive a ceremonial funeral and Parliament is to be recalled from the Easter recess on Wednesday for MPs and peers to pay tribute.

Thatcher became the first female prime minister in 1979 and stayed in power until 1990. She remains the subject of huge controversy, and is widely recognised to have changed the face of British politics.

She privatised much of Britain’s state-owned industry and a crackdown on union power made her intensely unpopular with many. The introduction of the poll tax in 1990 led to large-scale protests across the country. On Monday night there were gatherings around various parts of the country, particularly Brixton and Glasgow, with attendees stating they were there to celebrate.

Prime minister David Cameron flew back early from Europe upon the news and said: “We can't deny that Lady Thatcher divided opinion. For many of us, she was and is an inspiration. For others she was a force to be defined against.

“But if there is one thing that cuts through all of this – one thing that runs through everything she did – it was her lion-hearted love for this country. She was the patriot prime minister and she fought for Britain's interests every single step of the way.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “David Cameron, Nick Clegg and myself were all shaped by the politics of Lady Thatcher and the way she defined the politics particularly of the 1980s.

“She will be remembered as a unique figure. She reshaped the politics of a whole generation. She was Britain's first woman prime minister. She moved the centre ground of British politics and was a huge figure on the world stage.”

And Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Margaret Thatcher was one of the defining figures in modern British politics. Whatever side of the political debate you stand on, no one can deny that as prime minister she left a unique and lasting imprint on the country she served. She may have divided opinion during her time in politics but everyone will be united today in acknowledging the strength of her personality and the radicalism of her politics.”

The Queen expressed her sadness and has sent a private message of condolence to the family.

President of the United States, Barack Obama, said: “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. She stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can't be shattered.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

Image c. Chris Collins of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence.


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