Hyndburn’s Labour leader has lauded Baroness Margaret Thatcher as ‘one of the greatest’ Prime Ministers of the last century, following her death from a stroke aged 87.
The controversial former Conservative prime minister was known as the ‘Iron Lady’ for her uncompromising policy reforms and leadership style.
She had suffered bouts of illness for many years, and was said to have died peacefully on Monday, April 8 while staying at the Ritz hotel in central London.
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said she would be remembered as a leader of belief and character.
He added: “Her legacy will be shaping and changing the UK and people will have strong views either way but her determination and belief are a rare quality in politicians.
“She was a strong-willed and remarkable individual and her legacy of the 20th century will be talked about for decades to come. She will go down along with Winston Churchill as the greatest Prime Minister of the last century.”
During her career Mrs Thatcher visited Hyndburn several times including an appearance at the Accrington Conservative Club in 1973 and Great Harwood in 1979.
Tory group leader Peter Britcliffe described her as a ‘giant of a politician’.
He said: “People loved her or they hated her. Nobody was indifferent to her but what everyone respected was if she did say something she actually meant it, unlike many politicians today who are very bland and insipid and don’t motivate feelings either way.
“She visited Hyndburn and when she came to meet people they actually found her a very friendly person, unlike the very tough ‘Iron Lady’ image.”
MP Graham Jones MP said he struggled to talk positively about the legacy of Thatcherism. He said: “For her supporters Mrs Thatcher was a great Prime Minister. For the majority of people who suffered under her administration they would take a different view.
“Obviously she did a lot of damage to the country economically. She wasted North Sea oil, she de-industrialised Britain and growth was no better than the 1970s.
“Thousands of people were made unemployed during her time as Prime Minister.”
Daughter of a shopkeeper, Lady Thatcher earned a place in the history books as the first woman prime minister when she entered Downing Street in 1979.
She won three general elections before resigning in 1990.
Her funeral service with full military honours will take place at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday, April 17 following a procession from Westminster.