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British reaction to the death of Margaret Thatcher

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 8 Apr 2013 16:10 GMT
Author: Reuters
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LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) - Here are some of the British reactions to the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher on Monday:

DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER, CONSERVATIVE LEADER

"Today is a truly sad day for our country. We've lost a great prime minister, a great leader, a great Briton.

"As our first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn't just lead our country, she saved our country. And I believe she'll go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister."

NICK CLEGG, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER

"Whatever side of the political debate you stand on, no one can deny that as prime minister she left a unique and lasting imprint on the country she served.

"She may have divided opinion during her time in politics but everyone will be united today in acknowledging the strength of her personality and the radicalism of her politics."

ED MILIBAND, LEADER OF OPPOSITION LABOUR PARTY

"The Labour Party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly respect her political achievements and her personal strength.

"She also defined the politics of the 1980s. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and I all grew up in a politics shaped by Lady Thatcher. We took different paths but with her as the crucial figure of that era."

TONY BENN, LABOUR MINISTER IN THE 1970S, POLITICAL OPPONENT

"She did make war on a lot of people in Britain and I don't think it helped our society."

TONY BLAIR, FORMER LABOUR PRIME MINISTER

"Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of their country but of the world. Margaret was such a leader.

"Her global impact was vast. And some of the changes she made in Britain were, in certain respects at least, retained by the 1997 Labour Government, and came to be implemented by governments around the world."

JOHN MAJOR, THATCHER'S IMMEDIATE SUCCESSOR AS CONSERVATIVE PRIME MINISTER

"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."

PETER TATCHELL, CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGNER

"Margaret Thatcher: extraordinary but heartless."

"Thatcher initiated policies that paved the way for the current economic crisis: the decimation of Britain's manufacturing base, the get-rich-quick business mentality, the promotion of the free market and the poorly regulated banking sector."

KEN LIVINGSTONE, FORMER LABOUR MAYOR OF LONDON, THATCHER FOE

"She created today's housing crisis, she produced the banking crisis, she created the benefits crisis.

"She decided when she wrote off our manufacturing industry that she could live with two or three million unemployed and the legacy of that (is) the benefits bill that we are still struggling with today."

"In actual fact, every real problem we face today is the legacy of the fact she was fundamentally wrong."

PAUL KENNY, GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE GMB LABOUR UNION

"Mrs Thatcher was a powerful politician who will be remembered by many for the destructive and divisive policies she reigned over which in the end, even in the Tory (Conservative) party, proved to be her downfall.

"Her legacy involves the destruction of communities, the elevation of personal greed over social values and legitimising the exploitation of the weak by the strong."

BORIS JOHNSON, CONSERVATIVE MAYOR OF LONDON

"Her memory will live long after the world has forgotten the grey suits of today's politics." (Reporting By Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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