‘We should all be grateful to Margaret Thatcher’ - Local reaction to former Prime Minister’s death

Former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher
Former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher

Local political figures have paid tribute to former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher who died today aged 87 following a stroke.

The former PM, who had suffered bouts of illness for many years, was said to have died peacefully.

Prime Minister David Cameron is returning early from an official trip to Spain after the news of Baroness Thatcher’s death was announced by her spokesman, Lord Bell. She is understood to have been recuperating at the Ritz Hotel in London after a minor operation.

The former PM hailed from Grantham in Lincolnshire and her husband Denis was portrayed in the 2011 film The Iron Lady by Jim Broadbent, who lived near Louth for many years.

She visited the area in 1988 when she officially opened the ‘V field project’ at Theddlethorpe’s ConocoPhillips gas terminal.

Conservative leader of the East Lindsey District Council, Councillor Doreen Stephenson, said: “It is very sad to hear of the death of Margaret Thatcher.

“Margaret Thatcher’s time in office saw real change and challenge and we should all be grateful for her dedication and commitment.”

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Coun Martin Hill (Con), added: “She was the dominant politician of the late 20th century. Whether you agreed with her views or not she showed tremendous courage and determination.

“People say that you always knew where you stood with her. She set a course, which I think was the right course at the time, and she stuck to it.

“That is an admirable quality and she needed courage to break through the glass ceilings of being a lady and being from humble origins.

“She was also able to talk to people in a language they understood. She always talked to people in terms they could relate to.”

Lord Norton of Louth, the Conservative Peer and leading authority on British politics, said Mrs Thatcher was ‘a world figure’

“She transformed the nature of Brirish politics and how we view the role of the state,” he said.

Born Margaret Roberts, Baroness Thatcher attended Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School and became the first female prime minster in 1979, staying in the position till 1990.

She first became a Conservative MP for Finchley in 1959 and retired from the House of Commons in 1992.

She was Education Secretary before challenging Edward Heath for the Conservative Party leadership in 1975.

She went on to win general elections in 1979, 1983 and 1987.

The Queen said she was ‘sad’ at news of her death and Prime Minister David Cameron praised her as a ‘great leader’ and a ‘great Briton’. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said Mrs Thatcher had been one of the “defining figures in modern British politics”.

Lady Thatcher earned a place in the history books as the first woman prime minister when she entered Downing Street in 1979.

Over the next 11 years even her critics admitted that she changed the face of the country.

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

As tributes poured in to the former premier, it was announced that she will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul’s Cathedral.

What are you memories of Mrs Thatcher? Did you ever meet her?