David Cameron leads tributes to Baroness Thatcher


David Cameron paid tribute to Baroness Thatcher during a special recall of parliament, describing her as someone who "made Britain great again".

Opening the session on 10 April 2013, he said his predecessor, who died following a stroke earlier in the week, "defined and overcame the great challenges of her age".

Lady Thatcher, who served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990 died on Monday, after many years of ill-health.

Labour leader Ed Miliband followed Mr Cameron in paying tribute, describing her as a "unique and towering figure", but also said he disagreed with much of what she did.

The leader of the Westminster group of SNP MPs, Angus Robertson, said he had "profound disagreements" with her "divisive" social and economic policies such as the imposition of the poll tax.

However the leader of the SDLP, Alasdair MacDonnell praised her decision to sign the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985, describing it as a "pivotal" moment that changed the direction of the relationship between the UK and Ireland.

Labour backbencher David Winnick used his speech to criticise many of the policies of Lady Thatcher's government, accusing her of having a "brutal contempt" towards the unemployed.

But Conservative MP Conor Burns, a close friend of the former prime minister, praised her as "a mentor, a protectoress, someone I cared for and loved very deeply".

"We thought she'd go on forever," he added.

Part two of the debate can be viewed here and part three can be viewed here.

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