LONDON — British lawmakers remembered former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday as a towering political figure who restored her country's confidence and pride — but who alienated many voters, from coal miners to gay people, with her uncompromising policies.
Prime Minister David Cameron led praise for Thatcher during a special session of the House of Commons, recalled from its Easter break after the ex-leader's death Monday at the age of 87.
"Let this be her epitaph: That she made our country great again," Cameron told a packed room of lawmakers.
"She defined and she overcame the great challenges of her age and it is right that Parliament has been recalled to mark our respect," said Cameron, who heads the Conservative party that Thatcher once led.
The special sessions at the House of Commons are usual for former premiers, but are generally brief. More than seven hours was set aside for Thatcher, a reflection of her status as one of Britain's most iconic political figures — and one whose legacy still sparks furious debate.
Legislators hailed a string of Thatcher's achievements, from privatization of cumbersome state-run industries to reclaiming the Falkland Islands after Argentina's 1982 invasion. They are once-controversial measures on which both government and opposition parties now broadly agree — perhaps Thatcher's greatest accomplishment of all.
Amid the tributes, some lawmakers brought up the negative effects of her free-market economic policies — unemployment, shuttered industries, frayed social bonds.
Ed Miliband, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said Thatcher was "a unique and towering figure ... the prime minister who defined her age."
- 31 things you might not know about the Harry...
- Which U.S. cities are the best for upward...
- Alleged sexual abuser on the run for 17 years...
- The one thing you may be giving your children...
- Back to Beijing for 2nd Olympics in 14 years
- Man describes find that could solve MH370...
- Sex and violence harm rather than help...
- LDS Church 're-evaluating' Scouting program...
- LDS Church 're-evaluating' Scouting... 109
- Religious groups react to Boy... 79
- Boy Scout board approves end to blanket... 71
- Are lawsuits ahead for church-based Boy... 31
- Oklahoma Supreme Court: Ten... 27
- 2016 Republicans use Trump, TV to make... 26
- Obama: Republican criticism of Iran... 25
- Covered California: Cost of health care... 17