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8 April 2013, 13:51
Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher has died at the age of 87.
Her children - Mark and Carol - released a statement saying she passed away peacefully on the morning of Monday 8 April 2013 following a stroke.
David Cameron says we have lost "...a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton."
Buckingham Palace says the Queen is sad to hear of her death and Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.
Downing Street has confirmed that Lady Thatcher will receive a Ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul's Cathedral.
Locally MP's have been reacting to the news.
House of Commons Speaker and Buckingham MP John Bercow said, "I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Baroness Thatcher. She was a distinguished Parliamentarian and a formidable Prime Minister. My thoughts are with her family during this difficult time.”
North-East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt has issued a statement. "Our first woman party leader and Prime Minister leaves an indelible impression on the country and on British politics. Being fortunate to have seen her at work, I have memories of both public and private time, of her kindness and her toughness. It is a measure of her achievement that her name alone is a reference point for a British era, but we should not forget that with her part in the ending of the Cold War, she also made the world a safer place. Genuinely no one quite like her ever again.”
South-West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous has said on Twitter, "Very sorry to learn of Lady Thatcher's death."
Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries has Tweeted, "Margaret Thatcher enabled my single Mum to buy her council house. The best thing any politician could ever have done for our family." She also recalled a time she went into a social function attended by Baroness Thatcher who spotted her and said "You, young lady are late." Ms Dorries says at the time she was 52 but felt five.
Hemel Hempstead MP and Northern Ireland Minister Mike Penning told Heart: "Margaret Thatcher enabled me as a working class lad to get onto the housing ladder along with tens of thousands of other Council house tenants, one of the best things any politician could have done for us.
"Lady Thatcher changed Britain for the better, she had great strength, she was a great politician, a great women and a great Prime Minister.
"To be honest she is why I am a Conservative today."
Earlier Heart spoke to Hitchen & Harpenden MP Peter Lilley was Secretary of State for Trade & Industry in Mrs Thatcher's Government. He was very upset by today's news and says "It feels like the end of an era".
Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South issued a statement saying, "I am immensely saddened to learn of the death of Baroness Thatcher, who was a very great lady, a very great Prime Minister and a very great Conservative. I was very fortunate to get to know Baroness Thatcher just a little following my election as a Member of Parliament. My ancestors – the Underwoods – came from Addington in Northamptonshire. On learning that one of her ancestors had come from Denford in Northamptonshire, and discovering that one of the Underwoods had married someone called Roberts from Denford, I suggested to her that it was possible that we might be related. For some time afterwards, whenever our paths crossed at Westminster, she would welcome me with the words ‘hello cousin’ as a joke. I take great pride in this potential connection. Throughout her life, Margaret Thatcher succeeded in delivering her vision of a Britain confident and respected – especially with regard to the spirit of entrepreneurialism and as a champion of free enterprise. She lessened the grip of government on commercial activity; privatised many failing service organisations; and eventually changed the face of the world through her partnership with Ronald Reagan. I had the good fortune to visit Washington to attend a briefing session on Iran, and had dinner with, amongst others, Bruce McColm who had been an adviser at the State Department at the time that President Reagan met with President Gorbachev of the Soviet Union at Reykjavik. Mr Reagan had gone well beyond his brief in obtaining an agreement on that occasion, which had been instrumental in securing an end to the Cold War. When questioned as to why he had reached out in that way, he responded that ‘Margaret had said that this was a man he could do business with’. On such personal relationships does the course of the world depend, and we have much to thank Margaret Thatcher for, not least in having played such an important and inspiring role in driving that change.
May she rest in peace."
South Northamptonshire MP Andrew Leadsom said, "Margaret Thatcher - inspired me to think you CAN change the world for the better! RIP"
Milton Keynes MP Mark Lancaster said, "Sad day for Britain, Mrs T was an inspiration for a generation and a true leader who delivered for a nation when it needed her most."
Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry said, "RIP Baroness Thatcher. Few politicians get to win a battle of ideas, let alone inject hope & belief into a nation."
St Albans MP Anne Main has spoken to Heart this afternoon. She said, "I am deeply saddened, I think it's a terrible shame we won't see the likes of (Baroness) Thatcher again. I really am saddened. I was privileged to have met her on several occasions. She was very much a political inspiration to me. I would certainly not have got involved in politics at university before she came along. I found her politics of common sense, speaking what she thought, hard-work and inspiration from a working class background, very much had a resonance with me. I think history will judge her favourably. I was in south Wales at time, and I remember the strikes, I remember the dead not being buried and the rubbish not being collected - I believe she was exactly the politician we needed at the time, exactly. I think she was an inspiration to women of my generation and she certainly was an intuitive politician - I'll always remember her dropping her handkerchief over the tail-fin over a model of the new British Airways design at the time - she thought it wasn't appropriate for Britain. She was always promoting Britain and backing those who backed Britain."
Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said, "This will be a very sad day for her family and my thoughts are with them at this difficult time. Margaret Thatcher will always be remembered as the first female Prime Minister and Iron Lady that stood up to the Argentinians over the Falklands."
Leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor David Mackintosh said, "Margaret Thatcher was one of this country's greatest Prime Ministers whose legacy will never be forgotten. She will be remembered for her iron determination and political will; whether taking on the Unions, facing down the IRA by carrying on with the Party Conference after the Brighton bomb or by taking back The Falklands. I was born less than a month before Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister and grew up watching her in power and her legacy, and I became an adult before the Conservatives lost power. I was lucky enough to meet her on a number of occasions whilst working for the Conservative Party and her legacy has strongly influenced my own political views. I am sure many people across Northampton will join me in wanting to pay tribute to a political giant whose legacy will continue in future generations of politicians. My thoughts are with her family."
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has told Heart it will be lowering it's flag to half-mast.
St Albans City & District Council say they'll be flying the Union Jack flag at half-mast on the day of Baroness Thatcher's funeral.
Huntingdonshire District Council have confirmed they're flying their flag at half-mast.
Kettering Borough Council are flying the Union Flag at half-mast.
Stevenage Borough Council have said that "Following the death of Baroness Thatcher, and in accordance with guidance from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Union Flag on Stevenage Borough Council’s offices at Daneshill House, Stevenage is now flying at half mast."
Bedford Borough Council and Milton Keynes Council have also decided to fly their flag at half mast