Prime Minister David Cameron led a tribute paying session to the former prime minister Baroness Thatcher on Wednesday painting her image in glowing accolade in a specially convened session of the British House of Parliament.
The Prime Minister said the departed former PM had earned her place alongside many greatest of British leaders, among them David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee.
“Not only had she won three elections and served longer than any other prime minister for more than 150 years, she had also become our first and, so far, our only female prime minister”, claimed Mr Cameron.
The Prime Minister was full of encomiums as he paid a glowing tribute while addressing the House of Common on Weddnesday.
The PM reminded that people sometimes failed to appreciate the “thickness of the glass ceiling she broke through” as the daughter of a Lincolnshire grocer, and forgot that she had spent her whole premiership under direct, personal threat from the IRA, losing two of her closest friends, Airey Neave and Ian Gow, to terrorism.
Despite being “only inches away from death” when the IRA bombed the Grand hotel in Brighton in 1984, said Cameron, it was entirely characteristic of Thatcher that she “shook off the dust” and gave a great speech about the need for democracy to stand up to terrorism.
She was, he added, a woman of “great contrasts”; formidable in public and yet “faultlessly kind” to her staff and devoted to her family.
“She was a remarkable type of leader,” he said, “who said very clearly, ‘I’m not a consensus politician but a conviction politician.'”
At her funeral next week, said the prime minister, Thatcher’s coffin would be “draped with the flag that she loved … in a fitting salute to a great prime minister”.
ED Miliband: Responding, the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said that at every stage in her life, Thatcher “broke the mould”.
He said: “Having broken so many conventions as a woman, it can’t be a coincidence that she was someone who in so many other areas of life was willing to take on the established orthodoxies.
“Margaret Thatcher’s ability to overcome every obstacle in her path is just one measure of her personal strength. And that takes me to her style of politics.
“You can disagree with Margaret Thatcher. But it is important to understand the kind of political leader she was. What was unusual was that she sought to be rooted in people’s daily lives but she also believed that ideology mattered.
“Not for her the contempt sometimes heaped on ideas and new thinking in political life.
“And while she never would have claimed to be, or wanted to be seen as, an intellectual, she believed, and she showed, that ideas matter in politics.”
Miliband set out areas where he agreed with Thatcher – in recognising the nation’s aspiration, in economic reform, in foreign policy and particularly the Falklands and in her understanding about climate change.
“But it would be dishonest and not in keeping with the principles that Margaret Thatcher stood for, even on this day, not to be open with this house about the strong opinions and the deep divisions there were, and are, over what she did,” he went on.
“Whatever your view of her, Margaret Thatcher was a unique and towering figure. I disagree with much of what she did. But I respect what her death means to the many, many people who admired her. And I honour her personal achievements”, the Labour Party Leader concluded.
Lord Heseltine, the former Conservative Cabinet Minister who launched the leadership contest that ended Baroness Thatcher’s rule in a public statement said: “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.”
Source: The Telegraph