The UK parliament has held a special session to pay tribute to the life and political legacy of Margaret Thatcher.
The former British prime minister, was the first and only female to hold the post, died on Monday aged 84 after suffering from a stroke.
The conservative leader and Prime Minister David Cameron opened the proceedings with a glowing tribute to the woman he said broke through the glass ceiling.
“At a time when it was difficult for a woman to become a member of parliament, almost inconceivable that one could lead the Conservative Party, and by her own reckoning, virtually impossible that a woman could become prime minister; she did all three,” said Cameron.
His speech was also full of lighter moments as he described her character, sentiments the whole house seemed to agree with.
“Of course her career could have taken an entirely different path. In the late 1940s before she entered politics, the then Margaret Roberts went for a job at ICI. The personnel department rejected her application and then wrote this: “This woman is headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated,” added Cameron.
There was lots of space on the House of Commons benches, indicating how Thatcher still divides opinion in her death.
The opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband spoke warmly of Britain’s longest serving prime minister, calling Thatcher a “unique and towering figure who broke the mould throughout her personal life and political career.”
“The prime minister, the deputy prime minister and I all came of age in the 1980s, when you defined your politics by being for or against what she was doing. It’s fair to say, we all took different paths. 30 years on, the people of Britain still argue about her legacy,” said Miliband.
Margaret Thatcher’s funeral will take place next Wednesday. It will be a military ceremony, one rung down from a state funeral, with a procession leading to London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.
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