Thatcher was a great model for achieving women - Baroness Shephard

Baroness Gillian Shephard at here home in Swaffham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Baroness Gillian Shephard at here home in Swaffham. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Former secretary of state and colleague of Margaret Thatcher last night described her as a great model for achieving women.

Baroness Shephard of Northwold, who has recently published a new book about Margaret Thatcher, said the ex-Conservative leader had left an 'enormous legacy'. The former South-West Norfolk MP said: 'She was our first woman prime minister and is still to date the only one that we have had. Before her it was unthinkable that a woman could become prime minister. She was a great model for achieving women.'

She added: 'I think we shouldn't forget what she had to take on when she first became prime minister, she took on a country with an ailing economy, wrecked with unions and strife. It was a time when people couldn't bury their dead, when all the public services were on strike – just after the period when we had a three day week and the country's finances were in the clutches of the international monetary fund.'

She said Baroness Thatcher had restored the unions to their 'rightful place', restored the finances and 'restored the respect of the world in Britain.'

She added: 'What I remember about her and what I admired and valued was her addiction to hard work. She believed that hard work and application could get you almost anywhere and, certainly in her case, it was part of her success. I had great empathy with someone who admired hard work and never liked to waste a moment.'

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