Tributes paid to former PM Margaret Thatcher

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Tributes have been paid locally to the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died today (Monday, April 8) after suffering a stroke.

The former prime minister, whose father was originally from Northamptonshire, was said to have died peacefully.

Margaret Thatcher during a visit to Weetabix in Burton Latimer

Margaret Thatcher during a visit to Weetabix in Burton Latimer

Kettering MP Philip Hollobone paid tribute to Baroness Thatcher for standing up to communism and militant trade unionism.

“She was Britain’s most successful post-war Prime Minister,” he said. “She changed this country hugely for the better and improved its standing worldwide.
“She played a pivotal role in bringing the Cold War to an end and in ending the dominance of militant trade unionism, which was bringing this country to its knees in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

“When she became Prime Minister, Britain was widely known as ‘the sick man of Europe’, and when she left Britain had one of the strongest economies in the western world.”

Northamptonshire County Council leader Jim Harker said: “I am very sorry to hear of the death of Baroness Thatcher. She was one of the truly great British Prime Ministers of the twentieth century.

“In many ways controversial, she was nonetheless courageous, determined and a real icon for women. The country owes her a real debt of gratitude and she will long be remembered for her fight for Britain’s freedom and prosperity, both at home and overseas.”

Conservative councillor Russell Roberts, who represents Barton on Kettering council, said: “She was a great Prime Minister. She took over a country that needed leadership and direction and she gave it leadership and direction.

“In the depths of a war in the Falklands she led the country to victory.”

Former Wellingborough MP Sir Peter Fry said Mrs Thatcher had, as Prime Minister, been instrumental in establishing an enterprise zone in the town, despite rules which stated only one such zone could be set up in each county – with Corby already having one in place. It came at a time when 600 people were threatened with losing their jobs with British Leyland.

“She did take notice of Wellingborough,” he said. “There must be thousands of people who got jobs on that enterprise zone because of her. She did listen to people and help them.”

UKIP’s MEP for the East Midlands, Derek Clark, said: “I think we are all the poorer for the loss of Lady Thatcher. I think everyone, regardless of which side they are on the political divide, will agree that she was a great patriot.

“She believed passionately in Britain and in the British people. Even her political opponents would admire her outstanding qualities of leadership and determination, it will be difficult to fill the gap she leaves. Ours thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

Margot Parker, who stood for UKIP in the Corby and East Northamptonshire by election last year, said: “I was saddened to hear this morning of the death of Lady Thatcher.

“Lady Thatcher was a remarkable leader and deeply proud of her country. Although I could not always agree with all of her policies, on Europe she, UKIP and I are in accord. I am saddened by the erosion of her principles by subsequent governments.”

Baroness Thatcher’s father Alfred Roberts was born in Ringstead, near Raunds. Members of the Roberts family took opposite sides in a march to Parliament in May 1905 over wages paid to army bootmakers.

The then-Prime Minister visited the Weetabix factory in Burton Latimer in 1983, telling workers she enjoyed the cereal with butter and honey rather than with milk.