Reaction to death of Margaret Thatcher

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Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher © Trinity Mirror

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher © Trinity Mirror

Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s only ever female Prime Minister and one of the world’s most recognisable politicians, has died aged 87 after suffering a stroke.

Thatcher, an extremely controversial and to some extent hated figure among many on Merseyside, was said to have died peacefully in London.

She rose to global prominence after becoming Conservative party leader in 1975 and the ‘Iron Lady’ later won the 1979, ’83 and ’87 General Elections before she stepped down in 1990.

Overseeing events such as the Falklands War as well as the long-running miners’ strike, her career polarised opinion – most especially in Liverpool after the city’s rapid economic decline in the 1980s.

Fury rose amid high local unemployment levels, the Toxteth riots and her government’s response to the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, Margaret Aspinall, said today: “I have no feelings towards her either way. That’s not being vindictive but we know she had sly meetings the evening of the disaster and the morning after at the ground and that is when the cover-up started.”

Numerous political figures have expressed their sorrow, as well as sending condolences to Baroness Thatcher’s two surviving children, Mark and Carol.

Current Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “It was with great sadness that I learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We’ve lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton. Lady Thatcher didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country.”

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The Queen was sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.”

Reaction among some on Merseyside was much less sympathetic, however others urged restraint. Twitter trending topics in Liverpool in the hours following the announcement of her death included: ‘#dingdongthewitchisdead’ and ‘#gonebutneverforgotten’.

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher © Wikipedia/Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher © Wikipedia/Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Local musician Pete Wylie, whose hits include ‘Heart as Big as Liverpool’, was a high-profile critic on Twitter soon after the news broke, as he urged people to buy his previously-released song ‘The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies!’, also tweeting: “I want her to die again.”

Although not specifically referring to Lady Thatcher’s death, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson tweeted: “Tories believe in division and inequality. Thatcher defined that and Thatcherism continues today as bad or worse than her period in office.”

Wirral West Conservative MP, Esther McVey, paid tribute to her party’s former leader, writing: “Love or loathe her politics Margaret Thatcher was a truly unique lady,” adding she was a “tireless, fearless and courageous” figure who “showed a generation of women that anything was possible”.

Baroness Thatcher will not have a state funeral but will be buried with the same ceremonial status as Winston Churchill, Princess Diana and the Queen Mother. The funeral, with full military honours, will take place on Wednesday April 17th at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.

Additional reporting by Adam Davies, Emma Kemmery & Kate Molyneux

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