Tributes pour in after death of UK’s ‘greatest peace time PM’

Horsham District Councillor Christian Mitchell and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - submitted
Horsham District Councillor Christian Mitchell and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - submitted

Politicians across the Horsham district have been paying tribute to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died early today (Monday April 8).

Lady Thatcher, the UK’s first female PM serving from 1979 to 1990, suffered a stroke which led to her death.

She met up with the Horsham Conservative group in 1996 and serving Tory councillors and MPs have expressed their sadness at the news this afternoon.

Shortly after the news broke Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert Tweeted: “Britain was on its knees in the 1970s. Mrs Thatcher saved the country. She was incomparable.”

Horsham District Councillor Laurence Deakins (Con, Denne) also paid tribute on Twitter. He said: “Very sad news about Great Britain’s Greatest peace time Prime Minister. R.I.P Lady Thatcher.”

Vice president of the Horsham Conservative Association Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) said: “I had the honour of meeting Lady Thatcher in 2004 and I was immediately struck by her strength of character and what she had to say; she was a truly impressive person.

“Lady Thatcher tamed the Unions; gave respect back for our country having been the ‘sick man of Europe’ in the 1970s and she played her part with our US ally President Ronald Reagan in defeating Communism.

“She was without doubt the greatest post war Prime Minister we have had.

“When Lady Thatcher believed in something that was for the good of the country she did not take any notice of opinion polls or focus groups - she did what she knew was right and that often involved taking tough and sometimes unpopular decisions.

“Doing the right thing and not being swayed by the vocal minority is sadly an increasingly rare thing in our political leaders. As a nation we all owe her a great deal of gratitude.”

Liz Kitchen (Con, Rusper and Colgate), who has been a district councillor for 25 years and met Lady Thatcher in London and at events with the Horsham Conservative Association, said: “I was here on the two occasions she came down and it’s the end of an era. It was a very exciting time for the Tories when she was around.

“She was everything that Conservatism stood for. It’s very, very sad. She did a huge amount for this country.”

President of the Horsham Conservative Association Brad Watson OBE, West Sussex County Councillor for Southwater and Nuthurst, said: “We have lost a very important towering figure of politics. She was the sort of person who came to her job at exactly the right time to pull us out of the unbelievable mess it was in in the 1970s.

“She changed the face of many things: people became homeowners and shareholders as there was the privatisation of many high bound state organisations.

“She did a tremendous amount. I think people giving fair judgment will say she has had an enormous effect on what Britain is today.

“She changed the politics of the world, let alone this country.”

Leader of West Sussex County Council Louise Goldsmith highlighted the compassion Lady Thatcher showed to others when meeting them.

She said: “Mrs Thatcher was a most exceptional woman and Leader. She took over running the country when it was in a terrible shape and seen by other states around the world as a failing country.

“She had strong convictions, beliefs and courage which together held in good stead to drive through the many much needed reforms at the time and her legacy continues.

“I met her once at an event for Business Women in London, she talked to every woman and was very well briefed about all the attendees, took a real interest and related to each and every person in the room whether they were Lawyers, Accountants, Doctors or a small business owners/entrepreneurs it was very impressive that she had taken time to do her homework bearing in mind that was but one meeting in a very busy schedule and it was that attention to detail her dedication and commitment to her role as Prime Minister and her country that was second to none.

“Naturally my condolences are to her family at this very sad time.”

If you would like to add a tribute leave a comment below or email anna.coe@sussexnewspapers.co.uk