Politicians react to Thatcher death

Politicians and union leaders have responded to the news of Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s death.

The former Conservative Prime Minister, who was first elected in 1979, died today at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke.

The “dominant” political leader led the Conservative party until standing down following a coup within her own party in 1990.

As well as being Britain’s first female Prime Minister, she was also the only PM to visit Shetland.

Commercial Street in Lerwick rapidly filled with large crowds of people during a walk-about by Mrs Thatcher in September 1980.

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But even then banners were raised in protest over the deeply divisive leader who challenged the trade union movement head on and privatised industries.

Today the MP for Orkney and Shetland, Alistair Carmichael, said Baroness Thatcher’s remarkable achievement deserved recognition.

“Margaret Thatcher was the dominant force in my formative political years in the 1980s. There was little that I found to be attractive about her politics, but there is no denying that she made an enormous impact on our nation.

“To win three successive general elections, and to serve as our country’s first and still only ever female Prime Minister, is a remarkable achievement for which recognition is deserved.”

The former PM – dubbed “the Iron Lady” – was, of course, not widely held as a popular figure within British politics during her Premiership, particularly north of the border.

Local Unison representative, Brian Smith, was more complimenatary than he may have been, given Baroness Thatcher’s strained relationship with the trade union movement – but only because he believed the current incumbent at Number 10 was even worse.

“In the 1980s Thatcher, and those who followed her, made life miserable for large numbers of people because of her attacks on the public sector,” he said.

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“I have thought recently however that, by contrast with the modern party and their Lib Dem hangers on, that Thatcher in hindsight looks like a bit of a moderate.”

Council convener Malcolm Bell tweeted today: “Whether adored or loathed Thatcher could never be ignored. Regardless of your politics she was a remarkable woman.”


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