British Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the country’s longest-serving prime minister who died this morning.
Thatcher suffered a stroke – she was 87.
Cameron cut short a European tour, flying back from Madrid where he had been meeting with Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy.
Speaking from outside 10 Downing Street, Cameron said: “Margaret Thatcher took a country that was on its knees and made Britain stand tall again.
“We can’t deny that Margaret Thatcher divided opinion. For many of us, she was and is an inspiration. For others, she was a force to be defined against. But if there is one thing that cuts through all of this, one thing that runs through everything she did, it was her lion-hearted love of this country. She was the patriot prime minister.”
UK parliament will reconvene for a special session on Wednesday, for politicians to pay their tributes.
Thatcher influenced all three of the leaders of Britain’s main political parties, according to leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband.
“She was controversial, we disagreed with much of what she did as a Labour Party but we can disagree and also hugely respect her extraordinary achievements and her extraordinary personal strength,” said Miliband.
“And when I think about it, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and myself, were all shaped in a way by the politics of Lady Thatcher,” he added.
Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours, a step short of the full state funeral given to monarchs and World War II leader Winston Churchill.