Saffron Walden MP pays tribute to Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher - Credit: Archant

SAFFRON Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst has spoken of his sadness at the death of Margaret Thatcher – describing her as a “remarkable and highly driven lady”.

The former prime minister died this morning (Monday April 8) at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke, her spokesman confirmed.

Speaking to the Reporter, Sir Alan, a long-standing Conservative colleague of Baroness Thatcher, said: “Today marks the passing of a very great lady who has to be regarded as one of the most significant prime ministers of the 20th century. She was a beacon for woman politicians to get to the top.

“Her policies may not have been entirely popular but they changed the course of British history and her legacy lives on. She was a remarkable and highly driven lady who held determined views, it has to be said, but she did listen to others – you just had to make sure your views were well backed up!”

Baroness Thatcher was the first woman prime minister when she entered Downing Street in 1979. She spent 11 years at 10 Downing Street, having been first elected as a MP for Finchley in 1959, and led the country through the Falklands War, before resigning in 1990. In recent years her health deteriorated, and she stopped making public appearances.

But it was the war in the Falklands which Sir Alan said gave an example of how her view occasionally traversed the political spectrum. He added: “At the time of the Falklands War there were members of the Labour party singing her praises, in the same way they were fiercely opposed to her economic policies, but it was a turning point for the country.

“It would be a little trite to compare the first three years of her Government to the Coalition currently in power, but things weren’t good for the Government in 1982 and the Falklands War did change people’s perceptions. It gave her the breathing space needed to get her policies through.”

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Tributes have also been paid by The Queen and Prime Minister David Cameron. Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The Queen was sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It was with great sadness that I learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We’ve lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton.”