Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first and only woman Prime Minister, died this morning after suffering a stroke, it was announced today.
Baroness Thatcher, who was 87, won three general elections for the Conservatives and shaped UK politics for a generation. At home, she implemented sweeping reforms to trade unions, defeated the miners in a bitter strike and forced the Labour Party to modernise itself. Abroad, she was dubbed “the Iron Lady”, winning an unlikely war in the Falklands and helping to secure the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Lord Bell, her spokesman and former adviser, said: "It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning."
In a statement Downing Street said she will be given a special ceremonial funeral, similar to those accorded to the Queen Mother and Diana, the Princess of Wales. She had been in poor health for some months and was living at the Ritz Hotel in London so that she could be cared for more easily.
The service will be held at St Paul's Cathedral with a “wide and diverse range of people and groups with connections to Lady Thatcher” being invited. The service will be followed by a private cremation.
The tributes were led by David Cameron, who returned early from a tour of European capitals . He said: "It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Lady Thatcher. We have lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton."