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Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Dies of Stroke

Kiran Moodley, special to
Former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher
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Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister between 1979 and 1990, died this morning following a stroke, according to Lord Bell, her spokesman.

As Britain's first female premier and leader of the Conservative party, she was renowned for her political dominance in the 1980s, which saw a rolling back of the state and an emphasis on the free market. This broke the post-war pro-state consensus that dominated Britain for nearly three decades.

"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning," Lord Bell said.

Current Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader David Cameron said, ""It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher's death. We've lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton."

London Mayor Boris Johnson echoed Cameron's statement: "Very sad to hear of death of Baroness Thatcher. Her memory will live long after the world has forgotten the grey suits of today's politics."

Thatcher's impact had a significant effect on British politics: many credit her electoral success with pushing Tony Blair into creating "New Labour," and just recently, the current British Finance Minister George Osborne's budget was labelled by some as a "Thatcherite" piece of work.

Ed Miliband, current leader of the Labour party, said: "The Labour Party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly respect her political achievements and her personal strength.

"She also defined the politics of the 1980s. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and I all grew up in a politics shaped by Lady Thatcher. We took different paths but with her as the crucial figure of that era.

"She coped with her final, difficult years with dignity and courage. Critics and supporters will remember her in her prime."

Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, who almost matched Thatcher in terms of tenure at the top, said, "Even if you disagreed with her as I did on certain issues and occasionally strongly, you could not disrespect her character or her contribution to Britain's national life. She will be sadly missed."

Buckingham Palace said the Queen was sad to hear the news of Baroness Thatcher's death and that she would send a private message of sympathy to the family.

In respect of Baroness Thatcher's wishes - who did not want a full state funeral - the former prime minister will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honors at St Paul's Cathedral and will not lie in state.