East: Tributes To Lady Thatcher

Local politicians have been paying tribute following the death of Baroness Thatcher.

The Former Conservative Prime Minister has died at the age of 87. 

Her children, Mark and Carol, have released a statement saying she passed away peacefully this morning following a stroke.

Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst , who asked the first question during Lady Thatcher's final Prime Minister's Question Time in 1990, told Heart: "I think she deserves to be numbered as one of that small number of truly great leaders of the 20th century.

There is no doubt that her Premiership was a very, very important turning point in the fortunes of our country."

Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire , has tweeted: "Very sad news that #MargaretThatcher has passed away. 

A towering figure and a defining influence in British Politics."

Writing on his personal website, Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke said: "Today is a very sad day. 

An icon of strong leadership and of common sense, Mrs Thatcher led this country out of the dark days of the 1970′s.

She will forever be held up as one of the great leaders of all times.

Today at the age of 87, she died peacefully following a stroke. 

My thoughts are with Mark and Carol Thatcher.

She was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 and was an MP from 1959 until 1992.

A fantastic leader who will never be forgotten."

Andrew Lansley, Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire , said: "I think people of all political persuasions will recognise she had a dramatic influence.

She shifted Britain during the 1980s, when there was a sense of managed decline, and she basically said 'it doesn't have to be like this - we can make it different'.

In the space of ten years from 1979, that is exactly what happened.

That was an enormous effort on her part, sometimes against all the odds, to change the whole culture of this country from one of complacency and acceptance of decline, to one which was competitive, optimistic and ambitious."

The former MP for Huntingdon, Sir John Major , succeeded Lady Thatcher as Prime Minister.

Sir John said: "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."

Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire,  [pictured with Lady Thatcher] said: "Margaret Thatcher was a colossus on the world stage. 

She became Prime Minister at a time when Britain’s international standing was at a low ebb and by sheer force of personality she dragged Britain up from its knees and made it a world power again. 

She took on the might of the Unions, rescued the country’s economy and always put Britain first in all her dealings. 

Shailesh Vara with Margaret Thatcher

On a personal note, it was a privilege to have known her and I will never forget the day when she campaigned for me in Northampton, in the 2001 General Election. 

The world’s media were in attendance on that day and she brought the town to a standstill. 

She had not lost her charm.

Not a bit of it. 

Margaret Thatcher has left a very firm imprint in the history books. She was a truly remarkable woman.”

A statement from the University of Cambridge , which houses the Thatcher Archives at Churchill College, reads: "Churchill Archives Centre, which works closely with the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust, offers our sincere condolences to the family of Baroness Thatcher, who was a most generous and supportive friend and supporter. 

Baroness Thatcher lodged her extensive collection of personal and political papers with the Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, in 1997. 

The collection, now consisting of nearly 3000 boxes of material, is one of the largest and most important collections of modern political papers in the world."

Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright , served in Lady Thatcher's government while an MP in the 1980s.

Sir Graham told Heart: "She made her mark, certainly on the country, and also on the party.

She was an incredible inspiration to everybody.

She had the reputation of the handbag, but underneath she was a very nice person as well."

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