London: Britain's first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher may have divided opinion during her lifetime but her death here on Monday has attracted a unanimous outpouring of tributes across party and political lines. Prime Minister David Cameron led the tributes to his former Conservative party leader on what he described as a "sad day for our country" as news of the 87-year-old's death from a stroke broke.
"It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Lady Thatcher. We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton. She was the greatest British peacetime prime minister," said Cameron, who received the news while in Madrid for a meeting with Spanish Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy and has now cut short his visit to return to Downing Street.
Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader, added, "Margaret Thatcher was one of the defining figures in modern British politics. Whatever side of the political debate you stand on, no one can deny that as prime minister she left a unique and lasting imprint on the country she served. "She may have divided opinion during her time in politics but everyone will be united today in acknowledging the strength of her personality and the radicalism of her politics".
Across the other end of the political spectrum, Labour leader Ed Miliband described her as a "unique figure". "She reshaped the politics of a whole generation. She was Britain's first woman prime minister. She moved the centre ground of British politics and was a huge figure on the world stage. 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," he said.