Margaret Thatcher was a huge figure in British politics and British history for much of the twentieth century and for all of my political career. She was the reason I joined the Conservative Party and became a Conservative Party activist 37 years ago.
She came on the scene at a time when Britain was caricatured as ‘the sick man of Europe’ and was determined to reverse the malaise which had afflicted Britain for too many years. Whether you agreed with her policies or not, she was a hugely transformational figure in the history of Britain and, arguably, the greatest peacetime Prime Minister we ever had. She struck a blow not just for women achieving access to high office but showed what was possible for anyone, whatever his or her background or upbringing. Above all, she was a great patriot and a great Briton and always stood up for the little man or woman in British society. She had strong political beliefs based on principle and always stuck to those principles – something which contemporary politicians are often criticised for failing to follow.
She has been an extraordinary inspiration to so many of us who came into politics under her and will be hugely missed. However, her legacy is enduring and she leaves behind her a much better Britain than she inherited, and many Britons have a lot to thank her for.