Lord Bell, who had received the news from her son and daughter Mark and Carol Thatcher, released a statement to the press. He said: ‘It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning. A further statement will be made later.’
Predictably, a media storm ensued and very quickly the news was trending worldwide on Twitter, as both her supporters and her critics sought to weigh in.
When Thatcher came to power in 1979, many claimed that the country felt in a state of inexorable decline, something which – albeit divisively and dramatically – Thatcher sought to reverse.
She is famed for, amongst many things, de-nationalising several state-owned industries including railways, electricity and gas companies, water companies and even British Airways. Other defining features of her premiership were deregulation of the financial sector, an attempted contraction of government, the lowering of taxes (the top rate of income tax was 98% when she first got into power) and, of course, negotiating the UK’s EU rebate.
Nowadays, more than two decades after the end of her tenure, many of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs would probably describe themselves as ‘Thatcher’s children’, and her legacy still defines the way we do politics in the UK.
She had been in frail health for the last 10 years of her life, having suffered a series of small strokes in the early 2000s and then developed dementia later on. A film depicting an elderly Thatcher reminiscing on the life and times of her own career, The Iron Lady was a box office success in 2011.