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Ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dies

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died after suffering a stroke.

Margaret Thatcher photo
Margaret Thatcher at Carlisle covered market

Her spokesman Lord Bell announced the news at lunchtime.

He said: “It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning. A further statement will be made later.”

Baroness Thatcher was 87. Her health had deteriorated in recent years.

Leading Conservatives in Cumbria said they were saddened by the formidable politician’s death.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson described her as one of the “titans” of British politics.

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “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.”

Buckingham Palace said the Queen was sad to hear the news of the former prime minister’s death and would be sending a private message of sympathy to her family.

Baroness Thatcher, the so-called Iron Lady, was Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990.

During her 11 years in power, even her critics admitted that she changed the face of the country.

In recent years her health deteriorated, and she stopped making public appearances.

Baroness Thatcher was the United Kingdom’s first – and so far only – woman prime minister, renowned for her head-on approach to tackling major issues.

She came to power at the end of the infamous Winter of Discontent and spent the next decade curbing the power of trade unions – bringing out strong views from both the pro and anti-union movements.

Her year-long battle with striking miners in 1984/85 typified her confrontational attitude to the union movement and her victory paved the way for a radical shift in the balance of power in industrial relations.

She was also in power when the UK went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982.

Tributes have been paid to her in Cumbria.

Mr Stevenson said: “This is obviously very sad news for her family. I think we have seen the death of one of the most significant personalities of 20th century politics. She will go down as one of the great personalities of the 20th century.

“We must not forget what state the country was in when she came to power in the 1970s. It was an economic basket case. She changed that, to a certain extent, by the sheer force of her personality. She had a clear vision and direction.”

And Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, tweeted: “Sad to hear about Thatcher. She was a pioneer for women in politics and changed the face of Britain.”

Downing Street has said that Baroness Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul's Cathedral.

Mr Cameron has also often tried to associate himself with her policies and leadership style. He will today return early from Spain, where he had been for talks with EU leaders.

Baroness Thatcher counted a Cumbrian MP among her closest political allies during her time in power, with former Penrith and the Border MP Willie Whitelaw serving as her deputy prime minister.

Whitelaw was regarded in political circles as a good counter-balance to her with Baroness Thatcher famously saying every prime minister “needed a Willie”.

In September 1989, she spoke at the Cumbrian Newspapers Export Awards, held in Wetheral.

Have your say

Charlie from the north mosstrooper is nearer the mark than you. it was a time of strikes, mass dole queues,sell off of council houses,(no houses for young now.selling off utilities especially the post office telephones,they went on strike as well,and they were making a £1,000,000 a day.greed on the governments part.also war in the falklandsneed I go on ,

Posted by baz90 on 19 April 2013 at 22:31

I don't think many people want any of the past/present prime ministers to be given a similar send off and don’t want a precedence set for extravagant 10m funerals at the taxpayers expense. One of the reasons so many people are reacting the way they are is because of the sycophantic comments from fellow MP's trying to rewrite history. The comparison to Churchill is upsetting a lot of people,including some supporters of the Conservative party, he brought the country together when facing a world war. Margaret Thatcher did her best to divide the country and may well deserve respect for being the first woman prime minister, but that is all she should be afforded.

Posted by John on 14 April 2013 at 16:55

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