Tributes this afternoon flooded in to Margaret Thatcher as politicians said she would be remembered as one of the great Prime Ministers.
Lord Tim Bell, who worked as an adviser on her three election campaigns and today released the news of her death, said she would probably be remembered as the Conservative party’s greatest leader, with perhaps the exception of Winston Churchill. He added: “She was just a fantastic person, she had extraordinary charisma, she was very focused and loved her country. I think history will remember her very kindly.”
Former Conservative party leader Michael Howard said: “It is terribly sad news. She was a titan in British politics, I believe she saved our country when she took over we were in a period of real economic decline.
“I think she will go down in history as one of our very greatest Prime Ministers. She was immensely considerate, always charming, she certainly expected you to be on top of your job. She was a great Prime Minister. She never lost the essence of her femininity and she was prepared to use the fact she was a woman when necessary.”
MP for South Staffordshire Gavin Williamson said he was “devastated” and described Baroness Thatcher as “iconic”. He said: “She had been very poorly for some a long time but she was someone who had such an impact on British politics. She was iconic and whether you agreed with her politics or not people will be in no doubt she impacted not only Britain but politics around the world. Her name will be up there with great politicians such as Winston Churchill.
“I had the privilege to meet Margaret Thatcher just after I got elected in a private meeting. While she didn’t have the famed quick wit that she was renowned for there were glimpses of it during our meeting.
“At one point she stopped and pointed to another MP sat beside me and asked him ‘are you an MP?’ he said ‘yes’, she replied ‘Good God, It’s amazing what haircuts MPs get away with nowadays it needs cutting.’
“I saw that MP the next day and it was cut shorter – Margaret Thatcher had that motherly figure to her and she will be missed.”
The mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Christine Mills, said she had the pleasure of meeting Baroness Thatcher on several occasions. Councillor Mills said: “She was the Iron Lady in every possible sense of the meaning.
“I found her to be very charming – a really charming woman. She was smaller than you might have thought but a very interested in everyone she spoke to.
“She was small in stature but not in personality – I found her to be genuine and a very warm person.
“To all women in politics she was an icon – she paved the way for a lot of women in politics.”
Stafford’s Conservative MP Jeremy Lefroy said: “She was a tremendous Prime Minister who got our country back on track in very difficult times and steered us through the Falklands crisis.
“She also helped Britain become respected economically after the days of the three-day week in the 1970s.”
Lord Douglas Hurd said: “My reaction is one of sadness rather than shock. She was a person who archived something for this country that probably no one else could have done. I got know her reasonably well and the more I knew her the more my admiration grew. Her voice was heard across the world.
Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said: “She was the finest leader this country has ever seen. I met her on a couple of occasions.”
Conservative Councillor for Tettenhall Regis in Wolverhampton Jonathan Yardley said: “I’m really shocked. She is one of the greatest Prime Ministers since the war.
“I’m very sad. She turned the country around at a time of great need. I remember the country was in real decline when she took over and through the force of her single-mindedness she turned the country around.”
Stafford Borough Council leader Mike Heenan said: “I’m very sad to hear this news. She was a great leader of our country. She led us through difficult times.”
Michael Fabricant, Tory MP for Lichfield, said: “There can be no doubt that she transformed the shape of Britain, and all though many may argue otherwise, for the better. One of her greatest triumphs was the battle of ideas. The Labour Party as it stands today is a direct consequence of her actions and ideals of the 1980; no more talk of nationalisation, disarmament, or empowering the trade unions.”
Former Wednesbury councillor Bill Archer, who was leader of the borough’s Conservative group for a number of years and served the area for more than 35 years said: “The one thing about Margaret Thatcher was what she said, went. She was very honest. I think she will be missed by the old members of the party.”
Lord Robert Armstrong, who served as secretary of the cabinet under Baroness Thatcher, said: “I am very sad to hear that she has died, looking back on my friendship and working with her with great happiness. She wanted the best, it wasn’t an easy go but her best qualities were courage and determination. It was exciting to work with her. I had a good relationship with her throughout my eight years or so as cabinet secretary.”