MPs and members of the House of Lords will cut short their Easter break to return to Parliament and pay tribute to Margaret Thatcher today.
David Cameron will lead a Commons debate about the accomplishments of the nation’s first female Prime Minister.
But while Labour leader Ed Miliband is likely also to praise the Iron Lady, the special session will provide a chance for critics of Mrs Thatcher to have their say too.
Her funeral will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral next week, followed by a private cremation. The coffin will rest overnight in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, an underground 14th-century chapel in the Palace of Westminster, beforehand.
Conservative Andrew Mitchell (Sutton Coldfield) said: “Lady Thatcher’s sad death marks the passing of a British political giant. She will be remembered in Sutton Coldfield as a strong, tough reformer who ended Britain’s position as the sick-man of Europe.”
And Caroline Spelman, (Con Meriden) said: “We will mourn the passing of a great statesman who led the way to end the Cold war which overshadowed my generation as well as casting off the bad reputation of Britain as the sick man of Europe. She made me proud to be British.”
But some Labour MPs who paid their respects also stressed that they did not agree with everything Mrs Thatcher did.
Ian Austin (Lab Dudley North) said: “Whether you agreed with her nor not, as Britain’s only female Prime Minister and with three election victories to her credit, she was clearly a great leader.
“But a lesson of Margaret Thatcher for the Labour Party is that if the British people think we won’t get to grips with the problems facing the country - the economy in the 1970s, the economy and the deficit in 2010 - then they’ll elect a Conservative Government, which in both cases went too far.”