Margaret Thatcher died this morning following a stroke. Downing Street said this afternoon that the former Conservative Prime Minister’s funeral will have the same status as the Queen Mother and Princess Diana, with full military honours, a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, followed by a private cremation. She will not lie in state, in accordance with her wishes. The flag over No.10 is flying at half mast and the tributes are flowing in. David Cameron’s tribute is posted below. Here are some others:-
‘With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. As a grocer’s daughter who rose to become Britain’s first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom’s promise.
‘Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will. Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life—free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny.’
Sir John Major:
‘In government, the UK was turned around under – and in large measure because of – her leadership. Her reforms of the economy, trades union law, and her recovery of the Falkland Islands elevated her above normal politics, and may not have been achieved under any other leader. Her outstanding characteristics will always be remembered by those who worked closely with her: courage and determination in politics, and humanity and generosity of spirit in private.’
‘Everyone wants to be immortal. Few are. Mrs Thatcher is. Why? Because her values are timeless, eternal. Tap anyone on the shoulder anywhere in the world, and ask what Mrs Thatcher “believed in”, and they will tell you. They can give a clear answer to what she “stood for”.
She developed all the winning arguments of our time – free markets, low tax, a small state, independence, individuality, self-determination. The result was a revolution in economic policy and three election victories in a row.’
‘Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of their country but of the world. Margaret was such a leader. Her global impact was vast. And some of the changes she made in Britain were, in certain respects at least, retained by the 1997 Labour government, and came to be implemented by governments around the world.’
‘Thatcher was a politician whose word carried great weight. Our first meeting in 1984 set in train relations that were sometimes complicated, not always smooth, but which were serious and responsible on both sides. Human relations also gradually took shape, becoming more and more friendly. In the end we managed to achieve a mutual understanding, and that contributed to a change in the atmosphere between our country [the Soviet Union] and the West and the end of the Cold War.
‘Margaret Thatcher was a heavyweight politician and a striking person. She will remain in our memories, and in history’
‘She was a tremendous prime minister, she was a great lady, she had very strong opinions. And to those of us who knew her over the decades she was a very warm person, which is not the public image that is often given.’
‘She was an extraordinary leader in the global politics of her time. I will never forget her part in surmounting the division of Europe and at the end of the Cold War. As she took the highest democratic offices as a woman before that was common, she set an example for many. The liberty of the individual stood at the heart of her convictions – Margaret Thatcher recognised the power of the freedom movements of Eastern Europe early on and lent them her support.’
Iain Duncan Smith:
‘Watching her set out to change Britain for the better in 1979 made me believe there was, at last, real purpose and real leadership in politics once again. She bestrode the political world like a colossus.’
‘She ended the defeatism and pessimism of the post-war period and unleashed a spirit of enterprise. She fought against the clubby, cosy, male-dominated consensus of both main parties – and she won. Her beliefs – in thrift, hard work, and proper reward for merit – were not always popular. But her legacy is colossal. This country is deeply in her debt. Her memory will live long after the world has forgotten the grey suits of today’s politics.’
‘Sad news. Margaret Thatcher’s belief in freedom & optimism about the future overcame all. Her determination is our generation’s inspiration.’
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister:
‘She was truly a great leader, a woman of principle, of determination, of conviction, of strength; a woman of greatness.’
‘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. My thoughts are with her family and friends.’
‘I send my deep condolences to Lady Thatcher’s family, in particular Mark and Carol Thatcher. 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. The Labour Party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly respect her political achievements and her personal strength. She also defined the politics of the 1980s. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and I all grew up in a politics shaped by Lady Thatcher. We took different paths but with her as the crucial figure of that era. She coped with her final, difficult years with dignity and courage. Critics and supporters will remember her in her prime.’
Dr Liam Fox:
‘Today represents a huge loss for our country. Margaret Thatcher was the greatest British Prime Minister of the post-war era and a towering figure in global affairs.
‘Courageous, intelligent and patriotic, she symbolised the triumph of principle over short term expediency. Her willingness to take on the conventional wisdom of her time and to confront failed and dangerous ideologies led to a freer and better world.
It was a privilege and honour to have known her.’
Lord Kinnock, former leader of the Labour party:
‘I recognise and admire the great distinction of Baroness Thatcher as the first woman to become leader of a major UK political party and prime minister. I am sorry to hear of her death and offer my sympathy to her family.’
George W. Bush:
‘Laura and I are saddened by the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. She was an inspirational leader who stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity. Prime Minister Thatcher is a great example of strength and character, and a great ally who strengthened the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States. Laura and I join the people of Great Britain in remembering the life and leadership of this strong woman and friend.’
‘I am sorry to learn of Lady Thatcher’s death. The illness of her last years has been cruel and very difficult. I send my deepest condolences to Mark and Carol.’
Guido Fawkes has also closed his blog as a mark of respect.
And some Twitter reaction:
RIP Margaret Thatcher. She saved Britain. An extraordinary national and international figure
— Richard Benyon (@RichardBenyonMP) April 8, 2013
Really sad to hear of Lady Thatcher’s death. A fantastic PM and a true inspiration. My prayers and thoughts are with her loved ones
Britain was on its knees in the 1970s. Mrs Thatcher saved the country. She was incomparable.
— Nick Herbert (@nickherbertmp) April 8, 2013
My condolence to Thatcher family. First woman pm, a towering figure in British politics.
— Harriet Harman (@HarrietHarman) April 8, 2013
— Sayeeda Warsi (@SayeedaWarsi) April 8, 2013
Margaret Thatcher was the greatest Briton of the post-war era.Her contribution to our national life is immeasurable. RIP
— David Jones (@DavidJonesMP) April 8, 2013
Very sad to learn of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Inspirational Prime Minister who did great things for this nation.
— Andrew Bridgen MP (@AndrewBridgenMP) April 8, 2013
Sad to hear about Thatcher.She was a pioneer for women in politics and changed the face of Britain.
The end of an era Baroness Thatcher was a leader in every sense and an inspiration to me and many other women. I am proud to have known her.
— Cheryl Gillan MP (@CherylGillanMP) April 8, 2013
— Tim Farron (@timfarron) April 8, 2013
Immense sadness at loss of Margaret Thatcher,end of era, changed face of Britain,completed single market, saved the Falklands.
— Anne McIntosh (@AnneMcIntoshMP) April 8, 2013
RIP #MargaretThatcher inspired ageneration of Conservatives, myself included, up there with Churchill in Pantheon of 20 century achieves.
— Greg Barker (@GregBarkerMP) April 8, 2013
Baroness Thatcher in the 80’s kicked started the entrepreneurial revolution that allowed chirpy chappies to succeed and not just the elite
— Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) April 8, 2013
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.