Thatcher legacy 'was acute misery'

Thatcher legacy Photo:

Margaret Thatcher, who died on Monday after a stroke, won few friends in Liverpool where her policies remain deeply unpopular.

The city's voters have not elected a Conservative Party candidate in any election for around 20 years.

The former Conservative prime minister is widely held responsible for the decline of traditional industries, in the docks and manufacturing, which led to wide-spread unemployment in Merseyside from the early-1980s to the the mid-1990s.

Liverpool Walton MP Labour Steve Rotheram said: "The Iron Lady was one of the most divisive figures in British political history, celebrated by big business and the rich and powerful, but reviled by huge sections of a 'society' she didn't actually believe in.

"Far from being the saviour of Britain, the people of Liverpool have long recognised that it was that warped view of society that compounded many of our city's greatest problems.

"Her legacy for Liverpool and virtually every other city and town outside of the traditional shires and rural England, was one of acute misery."

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, long-serving Bootle Labour MP Joe Benton added: "I send my condolences to Lady Thatcher's family.

"I also send them to the thousands of families who suffered from the policies she put in place when she was prime minister.

"Generations are still suffering from the damage she did to our industrial and manufacturing base, and her legacy of hitting the poor to give tax breaks to the rich."

Royle Family and Brookside actor Ricky Tomlinson said: "She was the epitome of the capitalist belief that you should take what you can and it doesn't matter who you tread on to get it.

"What she did to the miners was a disgrace. She was prepared to use the army against ordinary, British, working class people.

"The legacy she left is still apparent whenever you drive past any former coal town and see the desolation she left.

"She promised them all sorts when she wanted to close the mines, she said she would give them this industry, that industry to help people find work but it never happened.

"She gave them nothing, she left them with no jobs and no hope."

Tomlinson, who was jailed for two years in 1973 for picketing offences, is currently campaigning to have his conviction overturned.

Another Liverpool funnyman, Ken Dodd, 85, who campaigned for Mrs Thatcher in the late 1970s, said: "It's very sad news."

Mrs Thatcher's administration is held in low regard in Liverpool for its response to the Hillsborough disaster.

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: "I have no feelings towards her either way.

"That's not be being vindictive but we know she had sly meetings the evening of the disaster and the morning after at the ground and that is when the cover-up started."