‘Thatcher inspired me’, says Ripon MP

Ripon MP Julian Smith with Baroness Thatcher in 2008.

Ripon MP Julian Smith with Baroness Thatcher in 2008.

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Ripon MP Julian Smith told the Gazette today that Baroness Margaret Thatcher – who died yesterday at the age of 87 – inspired him and a “generation” to “make the best of themselves, whatever their background”.

In a statement released today, Mr Smith said: “Margaret Thatcher changed life in Britain and gave our country new confidence at a time when our nation’s fortunes and future were extremely rocky and unclear. She was not only our first and only female Prime Minister, but she was a leader who inspired a generation, including me, to take a risk in business and encouraged everyone to make the best of themselves, whatever their background.

“I enjoyed meeting Lady Thatcher in recent years, who maintained her intellect, humour and charm.”

Baroness Thatcher died peacefully at the Ritz after suffering a severe stroke.

She was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, and leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990 – the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the twentieth-century and the only woman ever to have held office.

Her funeral will take place on Wednesday, April 17 at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, following a procession from Westminster.