Redbridge politicians pay tribute to ‘historical’ former prime minister Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher in Romford in 2005

Margaret Thatcher in Romford in 2005 - Credit: Archant

Redbridge politicians have paid tribute to “historical” former prime minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher following news of her death.

Lady Thatcher died this morning aged 87 following a stroke.

MPs said her sometimes controversial time as Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990 will go down in history.

Chingford and Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith said she was the reason he went into politics.

The Conservative work and pensions secretary added: “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.

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“She bestrode the political world like a colossus.

“This is dreadfully sad news and my thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

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Ilford North MP Lee Scott said it is “a sad day”.

The Conservative MP added: “If you turn the clock forward by 200 years, how many people will be able to name a British prime minister?

“But she will be up there with Winston Churchill.

“Whether people agreed or disagreed with her policies, she was a figure in British politics and you have to admire her as the first female prime minister.”

The Conservative MP said he met Lady Thatcher on several occasions and described her “imposing” presence.

Ilford South’s Labour MP Mike Gapes described her as a “controversial” figure.

He said: “She did achieve something no one else will be able to as the first and so far only female prime minister.

“I think history will record that as her most important achievement.

“There are many people who will remember those days under her leadership but we should show respect.”

Redbridge Council leader Cllr Keith Prince hailed Lady Thatcher as “inspirational”.

He said: “She has definitely left her mark on the country and she leaves a great legacy.

“It’s a great loss to British politics.”

Cllr Prince said her working class background in Grantham “changed working class aspirations” along with policies including Right to Buy for home ownership.

He added: “I think many people who criticised her are people who didn’t want to understand what she was trying to achieve.”

Cllr Prince hailed the Falklands War and economic improvements as among her greatest achievements.

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